What exactly is a Yoke?


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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:29-30

Confession time.

There is no telling how many times I have heard this verse in my Christian walk. I have heard it, referred to it and even prayed it over people. But who other than my six-year-old to make an honest person out of me. We were writing sentences with his new spelling words one week. One of the eight words…YOKE. “Mom, what does yoke mean?” Pause. “Well. Grant. It is…uh. You know a…. It’s like in the Bible when …. Let’s look it up!” I knew what it meant but couldn’t tell you what it was. Kinda. “Merriam-Webster says, a Yoke is a frame fitted to a person’s shoulders to carry a load in two equal portions. A balance or scale.” There ya go. A Yoke. Who knew!? (Probably everyone but me).

So, Jesus, you are telling me to take your yoke and learn from you. You are humble and gentle. I will find rest there. Your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Let’s apply.

In this passage, the word YOKE is used metaphorically (you know I love a good metaphor). It refers to any burden or bondage. As that of slavery. The commands of Christ as to the commands of the Pharisees (the law).

Bondage. I hate the thing.

So, I’m just going to say it.

People don’t want be Christians because they think it is just a bunch of rules they have to follow. They feel the “weight” of the law on their shoulders, it is hard to balance and it is just something they do not want to bear. It seems burdensome. Can I suggest to you this morning that you are thinking about the yoke of the law. Very different. Christianity is not about being good or being nice. It’s not about how many times you’ve gone to church (although I am a huge fan of the place), or how many scriptures you know. This is the stuff that keeps people turned off. And it is a lie. The lie that “good things” can earn God’s favor. We could never do enough.

Christ is saying I AM ENOUGH! COME TO ME! MY LAW IS DIFFERENT! I AM GENTLE! THE LAW IS SLAVERY! I AM FREEDOM! THROW OFF YOUR CHAINS! LEARN FROM ME! I AM NOT A BURDEN! YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS HERE!

Oh I just want to shout! This is it! Do you see!? COME TO HIM! There is freedom here.

I have no idea where you are. You may have followed Christ for years. You get this. If so, I challenge you today to examine your heart for areas of bondage. What metaphoric weight are you carrying on your shoulders. How are you going to receive the rest for your soul today? Trade it in. His yoke is much lighter.

If you have been burned by the law and have carried a “burdensome” view of Christianity for years, I challenge you to throw it out. Throw off your chains. Start over today. Learn from Christ.

Be blessed.

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