It’s one of my favorite verses. It even appears at the end of everything you read here. Sometimes it seems a little funny to quote the whole verse though because its context is colored with an unfamiliar agricultural metaphor.
What on earth is a yoke?
In modern terms, it was a farm implement. The apparatus that bound two animals together in their work of pulling the plow. While the stronger animal bore the bulk of the weight, a smaller, younger animal learned from him. He learned the foreign language of their driver’s commands, and he learned it was easier to stagger forward together than to rebel against being held so close.
I like how Dr. John Koessler explains the metaphor Jesus uses.
“The yoke of rest that Jesus offers can be taken, but it cannot be seized by force. We do not manage ourselves into it, acquire it by bargain or even attain it by discipline. Rest as Jesus describes it must be done for us. … What Jesus says might be translated something like “I will rest you” or “I will refresh you.” This rest is as relational as it is experiential. We come to Christ and he refreshes us. We do not come to Christ, receive our rest and then go our way. By offering us rest, Christ offers himself.”
(The Radical Pursuit of Rest, p.32)
I will rest you.
I will teach you.
It’s good news, isn’t it?
We don’t have to muster up enthusiasm to prove to him we’re ready and willing to work. We don’t need to manufacture some spiritual strength. We don’t even have to know how to do it.
He is the initiator, the teacher, the burden bearer.
There’s just one thing that’s up to us.
Our job is to come to him. Weary, burdened, uninstructed, but eager to be fastened to the one who teaches and rests us.
And that is easy and light and particularly good news.