Everything changed. It went from “about” to “in.” It went from burdensome to easy. It went from heavy to light. The whole deal got better and to this day we flirt with the way that it used to be. The heavy and burdensome is predictable and controllable while the resting and being requires trust and faith.
Nobody wants your burden. Nobody is interested in your rules. Nobody is buying your failures. If we want to wear the old, we’ll operate from failure as the old can’t be maintained. If we won’t walk in the new, we’ll be stuck in our hopes to share it with others.
“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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)
Just prior to that passage, Jesus is saying that He knows the Father and the Father knows Him. They are in close relationship. They love each other. They rest in the knowing. From that proximity and posture, Jesus walked out a perfect life on earth. He didn’t sin because He knew who He was and in Whom He rested.
A “yoke” is an indicator of burden or bondage. It signifies slavery in either the most practical sense of being indebted to another for their service or to a burdensome set of rules. Without the relational resting, it is an impossible and life consuming distraction from the place where we are intended to hang out.
The “yoke” of a teacher, such as Jesus, was their teachings. Either their teaching was difficult and burdensome or, in this case, light and easy. Jesus taught but He did so from the rest of relationship. He taught from acceptance and encounter not judgment and performance.
It’s good to know the Word. It’s good to study and learn. Don’t miss the foundational position of the students of Jesus, however, in all that you put into your head. Jesus was and is, first and foremost, a heart guy. He was calling our hearts to connect and to rest. From that place of invitation and acceptance He can show and tell you all about Him. From that place of knowing Him, the knowing about Him had its proper context.
The world is desperate for rest, more so than knowledge. Rest is an invitation while knowledge is material for a pop quiz. We’ll know we’ve passed the quiz when others want the rest that we share the material from.