I have a question about Jesus' statement, “ Take My yoke . . . for it is easy.” What does it mean?
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had established a long list of spiritual duties for others to perform. Scripture reveals that the religious leaders did not keep all of their own rules even though they imposed them on the people. The list of duties was designed to prevent the Jewish people, the laymen, from violating God’s laws. As a result, their leaders imposed hundreds of religious rules that cannot be found in the Bible. The rules were a burden. This helps us understand Jesus’ statement, “Take my yoke and learn of me,” to some of the religious leaders.
But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers. (NASB) Luke 11:46
God’s laws are not a burden. This is why Jesus said this,
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NASB) Matt. 11:28-30
Jesus used two very important Greek words in this passage. They are translated as “weary” and “heavy-laden.” They are both present participle verbs. This means Jesus was describing someone who is constantly weary and constantly heavily burdened. It is clear that Jesus was speaking in a spiritual sense because He adds, “You will find rest for your souls.” The Jewish leaders taught that those who kept their list of rules would go to heaven some day. God only asks that we believe Him and are willing to let Him change our life and help us to avoid sin. That is, Jesus asks us to believe in Him as our Savior and Lord.
Jesus’ burden is light. He asks us to believe in Him – trust Him.
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Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me . . . Jeremiah 9:23-24
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