IN HARNESS WITH JESUS
‘You will find rest for your souls.’
Matthew 11:29 NIV
One of the greatest promises Jesus ever gave us was, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’ (Matthew 11:28-29 NIV).
How could Jesus talk about being yoked in a harness, which suggests hard work and about rest in the same breath? To most of us, rest means kicking back in the recliner. That’s not the kind of rest Jesus was thinking about.
A yoke is a harness that goes around the necks of two oxen so they can pull a load. Accepting Jesus’ yoke is a picture of submission. It’s also a picture of help because you’re not pulling the load alone. In each team of oxen one is the leader and the other follows. Jesus will take the lead but you must be yoked to Him to get the benefit. So to enjoy intimacy with Christ, you have to bow before Him and accept His will.
Jesus promises that His yoke won’t choke you, it won’t be wearisome or confining; you won’t chafe under it. In fact, the irony is, if you want to be truly free you must allow yourself to be yoked to Jesus by submitting your will to His.
Now it’s possible to accept Christ’s yoke, then start pulling against it when life doesn’t go the way you want it to. Peace and rest come only when you relax in the yoke, and let Christ lead the way.
Isaiah 32-33, Ephesians 5:1-16
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