The Yoke of Jesus
In Matthew 11:29-30 we find the Words of Jesus following His invitation for all to come unto Him that labor and are heavy laden to receive rest. They are: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. A yoke by definition is: an animal harness, a frame for carrying loads or a restrictive burden. A fitted part of a garment is also identified as a yoke, but the majority of the definitions indicate some sort of burden. The Bible speaks of a "yoke upon the neck of the disciples" in Acts 15:10, "the yoke of bondage" in Galatians 5:1 and "servants as are under the yoke" in 1 Timothy 6:1, all of which give the definite impression of a burden. In 1 Kings 12:4 the people of Israel, speaking to Rehoboam the son of Solomon said: "Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee." In this context it is easy to see that this "yoke" is speaking of a burden.
The "yoke" of which Christ speaks in Matthew 11:29-30 to some is indeed a "burden" in that they cannot see themselves bearing it. They refuse to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24) What they are afraid of is the effort they have to put forth to receive what Christ is offering. Note that Christ promised if one would take His yoke upon them they could expect rest. Additionally, He said that His yoke was easy.
These words of Christ cannot be denied. Those that refuse the yoke of Jesus choose to walk the "broad way" of Matthew 7:13 which leads to destruction. The yoke they have chosen is a very real burden that has eternal consequences. Which yoke will you choose? Will you choose that of Christ which leads to life, or that of Satan which leads to death?
-- Dennis Strickland