‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.’ Matthew 11:29 (a)
You may recall in part 1 of this blog that Jesus has given us an invitation to relationship. ‘Come to me..’
This relationship is explained in the preceding few verses. ‘You have entrusted me with all that you are and all that you have. No one fully and intimately knows the Son except the Father. And no one fully and intimately knows the Father except the Son. But the Son is able to unveil the Father to anyone who he chooses.’ (Matthew 11:27)…
This intimate knowing that Jesus shares with the Father, and vice versa, is the kind of relationship Jesus invites us into with the words ‘take my yoke upon you.’
A yoke joined two animals together – usually oxen or horses – to pull farm machinery. The two, yoked together, are able to work as one to pull the load expected of them. The Moravians mentioned in part 1, worked with a fellow slave to pull their load as one. (They took Jesus’ words quite literally!).
So, we can begin to unpack a bit more what Jesus is saying to us here. ‘Yoke yourself to me and we become one.’ This is the language of covenant.
A covenant in the ancient world united two parties – not always of equal proportions – to become one. This relationship offered protection, provision and friendship between tribes and clans. The two parties became ONE. A union of lives. (For an example read the covenant development between Abraham and God in Genesis starting at chapter 12).
So when Jesus says ‘take my yoke upon you,’ or, ‘yoke yourself to me and we become one,’ it is an invitation to covenant relationship. My life becomes Jesus’ life and His life becomes mine. As it says in the Passion Translation … ‘Simply join your life to mine…’ (v.29).
Simply put, Jesus offers to come alongside us, be one with us, and allows His life to refresh and transform our weary, burn out shells, to become a co-labourers and Ambassadors with Christ, sharing His life.
It’s less about doing and more about being. As we learn our new way of being with Jesus, we bear fruit. And quite often we don’t realise we are doing it because it’s not the focus of our attention. Jesus is.
Remember Jesus’ words at the beginning… The Son intimately knows the Father and the Father intimately knows the Son. But the Son can unveil the Father. This way of being with Jesus allows Him to unveil the Father to us and to know Him intimately too.
That’s why Jesus came… To show us the Father. To show us that God is not a religious tyrant demanding heavy and unbearable traditions and rules of us but a Father, who calls us by name, into a covenant of love, perfected ultimately by the blood of His Son.
It’s a covenant of grace… A wide open field of knowing and growing, in the ways of the Father, revealed to us by the Son.
Part 3 coming soon…
God bless you Oliver