I will have the easiest, happiest, and the strongest life if I walk in the yoke with Christ. Only when I do this can I draw the strength and direction that straightens out everything that is going wrong. It does sometimes lead to a battle with my world around me, but that world needs me to stand steady in the easy yoke with Christ.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus makes a very gracious invitation to all who would want to experience the relief, joy, and the blessings of His life through a grace/faith relationship with Him. This is an invitation aimed at all, at the curious and at the convinced to bring them to a place of a deeper level of commitment in which they are to take His yoke and learn from Him as committed disciples.
Think of the world of discipleship before Jesus came. There were the disciples of Moses and the disciples of the Pharisees. They both offered terms that crushed individuals beneath the weight of the Law. Neither could provide relief from the burden and oppressive load that came with it. Jesus came and offered that rest and peace through Him. He came to invite people out of their old discipleship to a new one.
That means something for me as I follow Him and it might mean something different for you. As followers of Jesus we each have a calling that is probably different from one another. My task is to live out my calling by actively partnering with Jesus and following His teaching.
The word “yoke” is the same word that is translated “disciple” later on in Matthew in the Great Commission. When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples,” He is literally saying, learn what it means to be my disciple and you will find rest for you soul in Me. I will help you walk with God.
While discipleship brings relief from the burden of the Law, it is not lawlessness. His discipleship is easy because His teachings equips us to live out God’s will in the way life was designed to be lived. Jesus does not release His disciples from burdens, He promises to help us.
In fact, if you are like me, the challenge of following Jesus is more demanding than following the Law because I am called to fulfill the Law from the obedience of my heart and not through my actions alone. In fact, I am called to do that with perfection. His Spirit provides the same strength to me as He did for Jesus.
So here is my final lesson. I have to learn from Jesus how to live in God’s truth. I have seen others turn their yokes into an unbearable burden. My calling is not a religious obligation. Rather, my calling is an intimate relationship with the One who calls me. As complicated as my life may become, discipleship is at heart simply walking with Jesus in the real world and having Him teach me moment by moment how to live life His way.