“When Jesus spoke of his ‘yoke,’ his listeners in that day and culture would understand it a bit differently than we might. A rabbi like Jesus would tell his followers how he interpreted the Torah … and the Prophets. His interpretation of how to apply God’s law, how to live it out, was called his yoke. For example, a rabbi’s yoke was simply his teaching on what it means, practically speaking, to ‘love your neighbor’ or ‘honor your parents.’ What specific things did you need to do to comply with those rules? And which rules were the most important? That’s what a rabbi’s yoke addressed. A rabbi’s disciples would take on his yoke, that is, try to emulate their master, try to live out God’s law by using the rabbi as a role model. That’s why, in the gospel stories, you often find people asking Jesus questions such as ‘Which is the most important commandment?’ or ‘Who is my neighbor?’ They are asking, okay, Jesus, what’s your yoke? Learning this (thanks to Pastor Rob Bell) was revolutionary for me. I had always thought of a yoke as a heavy burden, and I was confused about how a yoke could be easy or light. If a yoke is simply a way of life, a lifestyle that Jesus modeled, a way of life that says simply love God and love each other, then it is entirely possible. It could be something light. …The metaphor also reminds us that we are not working by ourselves. Instead, we are yoked to Jesus, and he shares equally in the burden of our transformation. He is at our side and is for us. We’re not carrying the burden of living the Christian life alone. Jesus is not the farmer driving the ox; he’s the other ox pulling with us. We need to slow down enough to notice that he’s there and work with him, not against him.” Keri Wyatt Kent
“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you … and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jesus in Matthew 11:29
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Before we can “do what Jesus did” we need to live as Jesus lived. Jesus practiced simplicity, slowness and sabbath. Are you “emulating Jesus” in any of these ways?
- Jesus loved God and others. Can you do that?
- Do you ever feel like Jesus is “the farmer driving the ox” – and that you’re the ox? Where does that come from?
Abba, help me remember you’re right beside me. Help me work with you, not against you.
For More: Breathe by Keri Wyatt Kent
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. If this was helpful, please share! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)