Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living ©
“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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))
Just a few short days ago, I learned something about the traditions of the Rabbis in Jesus’ time that shed a whole new light upon this passage. I think that it will also make you look at this passage in a different manner.
It is my understanding that from the ages of 6 to 10, young boys would memorize the first five books of the Torah. It is my understanding that the best of these young boys would go on to study and completely memorize what we call the Old Testament. The best of these students would go on to study under a Rabbi and to be his disciple. Only the best of the best could become a Rabbi.
Jesus changed this when He called common men to follow Him. He was telling them that He considered them to be the best of the best. Perhaps that is why many simply dropped everything and followed Him.
The interesting part of this is that each Rabbi had a slightly different interpretation of the Torah. His interpretation was known as his “yoke.” We think of a yoke as the part of the equipment used to hitch an animal to a plow, but in the days of Jesus, it also meant the interpretation of the scriptures. Perhaps it was referred to in this manner because the very act of obeying each command became very burdensome as if you were wearing a yoke.
Carefully consider the words that Jesus spoke. He was telling the Jews of His day that His yoke was easy and that it did not burden them down with the interpretations that others had added. His yoke was true. The burden that His true interpretation of the scriptures placed upon the individual was not a burden of rules and regulations, but an enlightening and empowering one of joy.
It is no wonder why people chose to follow Him. He offered the same thing that He offers today – truth and freedom.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
(John 8:32 (NIV))
Do you know the truth and the freedom of Jesus’ yoke?
His burden is light!