Sunday, January 09, 2005

What is the yoke for?

From today's Our Daily Bread: A Daily Devotional:
A Sunday school teacher read Matthew 11:30 to the children in her class, and then asked: "Jesus said, 'My yoke is easy.' Who can tell me what a yoke is?" A boy raised his hand and replied, "A yoke is something they put on the necks of animals so they can help each other."

Then the teacher asked, "What is the yoke Jesus puts on us?" A quiet little girl raised her hand and said, "It is God putting His arm around us."

When Jesus came, He offered an "easy" and "lighter" yoke compared to the yoke of the religious leaders (Matthew 11:30). They had placed "heavy burdens" of laws on the people (Matthew 23:4; Acts 15:10), which no one could possibly keep.

God knew we would never be able to measure up to His standards (Romans 3:23), so He sent Jesus to this earth. Jesus obeyed His Father's commands perfectly and bore the punishment of death for our sins. As we humble ourselves and recognize our need for forgiveness, Jesus comes alongside us. He places His yoke on us, freeing us from guilt and giving us His power to live a life that's pleasing to God.

Are you in need of Jesus' help? He says, "Come to Me . . . . Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me" (Matthew 11:28-29). He longs to put His arm around you. —Anne Cetas

I had never really thought about the yoke Jesus speaks of that way before, but it really makes sense. A parallel could also be drawn to the idea of Christians helping each other out; bearing the burden together.

Out of the mouths of babes...