"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.”
Of all beings in existence, God has every right to be harsh and boastful. His yoke or plan for the lives of all under Him have every right to be hard and their burdens heavy. God does have a harsh side to Him, look at the judgments to come upon the world in the last days. God is boastful, read the Bible and you will see Him boasting of His Name - I Am - and His Son, Jesus, "This is my son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:7). God's harshness and boasting are Justified, He is Holy and Perfect in all His ways. However, Matthew paints another side of God for us - a gentle, humble farmer.
Just like oxen who have a collar or yoke around their neck for a farmer's guidance in the field, so too Jesus applies this thought to His followers or disciples. "Take my yoke" does not mean take my cross. Christ's mission, the Salvation of us all, was His alone. With Christ's mission completed and our cross or calling already taken up, what more do we need to take up? What is His "yoke"? Benson Commentary answers it like this - "Believe in and obey me: hearken to me as a teacher, rely on me as a Savior, and be subject to me as a governor." (https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/11-29.htm) His "yoke" is His plan and lifestyle that He has for us. The way we yield to that plan and lifestyle is found in the second half of that beginning phrase - "and learn from me".
Notice Jesus quiets our minds about our decision to take His yoke as He describes Himself in the next section of the verse - "for I am gentle and humble in heart,". Christ calms our fears of what kind of farmer or taskmaster will be at the helm directing us. In addition to taking His yoke or plan for our lives and experiencing His gentleness and humility, Jesus adds as a benefit - we "will find rest for our souls".
That is all nice and good, but what about the yoke? What about the lifestyle or plan we accept? Jesus continued, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The yoke we take on, the lifestyle/plan we accept is an overcoming lifestyle or plan. Jesus told us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He overcame everything so that we might find help in overcoming daily.
The "yoke" and "burden" lastly mentioned in this passage are owned by Jesus. Jesus says if you accept my way of life, my teachings and be obedient to me then you will find my lifestyle or yoke to be "easy" and my challenges/requirements or burden to be "light". Notice the burdens we have are not non-existent and they may seem difficult at times, but compared to eternity they are light and momentary afflictions. Paul says it like that, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor. 4:17-18)
Christ has acquired all victories for us. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin." (Hebrews 4:15) Walking in His victories, learning of His ways, and finding rest in Him now becomes our journey of faith with Jesus - should we choose His Yoke.
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