‘You will find rest for your souls.’
Matthew 11:29 NIV
One of the greatest promises Jesus ever gave us was, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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’ (Matthew 11:28-29 NIV). A yoke is a harness that goes around the necks of two oxen so they can pull a load. How could Jesus talk about being yoked in a harness, which suggests hard work, and about rest in the same breath? To most of us, rest means sitting back with the TV on or maybe getting a few more hours of sleep or having to do nothing at all but just eat,sleep, eat more. That’s not the kind of rest Jesus was thinking about when He promised to give us rest. Accepting Jesus’ yoke is a picture of submission. It’s also a picture of help because it means we’re not pulling the load alone. In each team of oxen, one is the leader and the other follows. Jesus will take the lead but you must be yoked to Him to get the benefit. So to enjoy intimacy with Jesus, we have to surrender to Him and His will. Jesus promises that His yoke won’t choke us, In fact, the irony is, if we want to be truly free we have to allow ourselves to be yoked to Jesus. Once we’ve accepted Jesus’ yoke, we can find ourselves starting to pull against it when life doesn’t go the way we want it to. We try and take back control. But peace and rest only come when we relax in the yoke, and allow Jesus lead the way.
Take some time to surrender your life to God and ask Him to give you the rest that He promises in Matthew 11.