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"I will give you rest." | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

"I will give you rest."

Don’t you love this simple verse in Matthew 11? “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

After a busy week, I could use some rest. I bet you could too- it is Friday after all! How do we find this rest?

Jesus continues, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Hmm…my yoke? Though most of us don’t use horses or oxen to get our work done- we do understand that ‘yoke’ is a term pertaining to work. I thought Jesus was talking about rest. How exactly did we get from rest to work?

A yoke increases the power of one animal by binding them to another animal. When the two animals are joined together they can get more done compared to working alone. Think about that for a moment.

I think Jesus is giving us a pretty plain example. Jesus is saying, “When you are joined to what I am joined to, your strength will increase.”

Before we finish this thought, Jesus makes one more point, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The question I have is- What exactly is Jesus’ yoke? Most theologians would tell you that the Law of Jesus as compared to the Law of Moses is His yoke. Biblically, there are some great arguments that support this idea.

This week, I was challenged to rethink this idea. You see, if you go back a few verses, the context brings new light to the passage. Jesus is speaking of His relationship to His Father.

Take a moment and read Matthew 11:25-27. It is all about Jesus and the Father. Jesus is telling us something very important. We are all yoked to something. Good or bad. You might be joined to a sinful behavior. You might be joined to addiction. You might be joined to your job. You might be joined to your family.

I believe Jesus is telling us- You must be joined to my Father. Verse 30 gives us a clue to this point. “For my yoke is easy.” Let’s rewrite this for a moment. “For my relationship with my Father is easy.”

Some of you are thinking, “Now you have lost me, pastor. I know my relationship with God is not always easy. As a matter of fact, I don’t think Jesus would say dying for our sins was easy.” To that, I would say- I totally agree.

The problem is our translation. The word we translate as ‘easy’ is better translated ‘proper fit’. Think of this in the terms of a tailor made suit. It is to your specifications- it fits you perfectly. Why is this? Because this suit was made just for you.

You see, you were made for a relationship with your Father. When we live our lives in this relationship, we realize we were made for Him. When we are yoked to Him, God can give us more strength and rest than we could ever find on our own.

My question for you is this, “What are you yoked to?” You were made for an intimate relationship with the One who created you- and in that relationship is true rest.

May God bless you as you seek Him,

Pastor John