Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Yoked with Christ

Chuckle:  A man entered a restaurant in a strange town and was feeling lonely. He told the waiter he would like some meatloaf and a kind word. The waiter returned with the meatloaf and the man asked, "where is the kind word?" The waiter leaned down and whispered, "Don't eat the meatloaf."
Quote: “ No soul can have rest until it finds created things are empty. When the soul gives up all for love, so then it can have Him that is all, then it finds true rest.” –John Keble

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT).
When I became old enough to understand, my mother told me about my grandfather who owned a yoke of oxen at the time I was born. The two oxen were named Jim and Jerry. He objected to my mother naming me Jerry because he saw it as an animal’s name. By now, you know who won that argument.
At the time Jesus was here on earth, I’m sure everyone in that agrarian Jewish society was familiar with the term “yoke.” The word described a heavy piece of wood carved to fit across the oxen’s shoulders against which they pushed to move a wagon, plow, or other piece of equipment. It was held in place by a harness. However, in Jesus’ time, the word “yoke” also was understood to refer to the burdensome nature of the Old Testament Law. Here, Jesus invites his followers to come to Him and His teachings instead of bearing the heavy burden of the Law.
We must remember that Jesus’ call to come to Him for rest is not a call to a life of passiveness and idleness, but to a life of restful action. The “rest” which Jesus offers is not an escape from work or other demands of this life. “I will refresh you” is another way of translating Jesus’ promise. Jesus was offering the same rest which He received from His Father that enabled Him to live abundantly, joyfully, and triumphantly. He offers this same rest/refreshment to all those who come to Him. The lightening of our burdens comes from our having Jesus to depend upon as our “yokefellow.” Jesus was introducing His followers to a new way of living in their relationship with Him.
Jesus is offering you and me a yoke as well as rest. He expects us, as Christians, to accept His yoke even with its heavy demand and responsibility. When Jesus says His yoke is easy, He means it is kind and good. It is well-fitted and comfortable. When He says His burden is light, He means His burden, although real, is not burdensome because He is humble and gentle. It should be pointed out that a yoke is made for two; two oxen, or two persons – you and Jesus. Jesus never imposes a yoke upon his followers that He does not also bear.
Right now, God offers you, and every other believer, His promise and assurance that you can experience rest for your soul as you learn from Him and accept His comfortable yoke that is made and fitted especially for you.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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