“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30)”
Nowhere in scripture is it found that there is a place of neutrality in this world; therefore, you will either be yoked to the Kingdom of God or you’ll be yoked to the kingdom of darkness. It’s not a matter of whether you will be yoked or not, but rather to which one will you be yoked.
Unfortunately, many thinks that they are independent and can stand alone or there are those who can’t fully decide which yoke to be yoked to, so they try to play both sides. However, God will not yoke himself to the kingdom of darkness or yoke himself to this present evil world system.
Which means, for these people, whether they believe it or not, they are yoked to the kingdom of darkness; and the weight and burden of it, will eventually be more than they will be able to bear.
Here we see Christ is calling out to those who are already laboring and carrying a heavy load from the yoke of religion or the yoke of this world system. His call isn’t to cast off all yokes, but rather to take on a “New Yoke”; that is, to take his yoke and in doing so they will be given rest.
What a paradox! Trading one yoke for another yoke and it will cause you to find rest! His yoke is “easy”; the Greek word here doesn’t mean “easy” in the sense of effortless. Rather the word means something that is: Good, better, kindly, or serviceable; some translations even use the word “wholesome”. (Which means, it’s bearable in a good sense.)
The word “light” also doesn’t mean something of little significance or lack of weight or responsibility. Paul uses this same word metaphorically in 2Cor. 4:17 when speaking of our “light afflictions” in this present world. What are these light afflictions and light compared to what?
As a result of his conversion from Judaism to Christianity and his preaching Christ; Paul suffered a great many afflictions: such as, being beaten, being stoned and left for dead, being cast overboard; yet he calls this light! Probably the word should be translated “lighter”, meaning lighter compared to the alternative afflictions. (The eventual casting into the Lake of Fire.)
Through Christ’s yoke we find eternal life; which when comparing eternal life and having to suffer physical death (or any other kind of earthly suffering), then even death becomes something short or lighter in experience and then becomes bearable when looking at “the big picture” in the light of eternal life compared to eternal destruction.
You have probably heard it said, “You can’t scare a true Christian with going to Heaven”! Through Christ, the fear of death loses its grip on us and we gain the joy of Heaven. Christ’s yoke isn’t meant to bog us down. No, it’s meant to lift us up and to make the impossible, possible! It brings us into the realm of God’s blessings and provisions, through a relationship with himself.
Bearing the Cross of Christ in your life isn’t always the easiest road to travel and in some cases not the safest road in this world either, but it is the most rewarding; especially once you finish your course in the life! (That is not to say that there are no benefits in this present life through Christ also, because there is.)
I’m just pointing out that the positives of Christ’s Yoke, outweighs any negatives. Especially when looking at the eternal rewards.
“Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. (Deu. 22:10)”
It doesn’t say that they couldn’t put a yoke on an ox or a yoke on an ass; they just were not supposed to yoke them together. Simple reasoning; two different sizes and two different natures or temperaments doesn’t work well together.
No matter how hard the donkey works, the ox will end up almost always dragging or pulling the donkey along, because of its shorter steps and shorter stature.
There is just no way the two are compatible for productive team work. There should be little doubt that Paul was thinking of this comparison, when he wrote this following verse.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2Cor. 6:14)”
Though this verse is often used when speaking of marriage, it shouldn’t be limited to only husband and wife relationships: because Paul uses the terms “fellowship” and “communion”, which points to other kinds of relationships besides marriage. Paul uses the word “heterozugeo”; which means “to be yoked with a different yoke”.
This word shows the idea of someone taking on a yoke that was not designed for that person to be yoked with. Paul is trying to show that by taking on an unequal yoke, it’s not the Christian having an effect on the unbeliever, but it’s the unbeliever having an effect on the believer; whereby, the Christian (believer) is always in the compromising position.
It’s interesting that one draft horse can pull 8,000 lbs. and two together can pull 24,000 lbs., that three times the amount that only one horse can do by itself. They don’t just double the load they can pull together, but they triple it; because they are equally yoked.
Believers can accomplish much more when they are linked together, than apart. But when a believer yokes him/herself to an unbeliever, then in most case little to nothing is accomplished for them or for the kingdom of God, because of all of the necessary compromising that has to take place in order to keep them yoked together.
I have seen believers fall out of Church; Preachers quitting their ministries; a lot of unhappy marriages, as well as, many other kinds of relationships fail, because people (believers) choose to unequally yoke themselves to unbelievers.
Dreams of doing great things through God are lost, because people ignore the scriptures and become unequally yoked with an unbeliever. Once the union or marriage has taken place, then the believer will have to get out of step with God, in order to be in step with their spouse; like the ox with the donkey, someone is about to drag the other along or slow down the other.
It’s not a matter whether you will yoke yourself or not, but to whom or what will you be yoked to. If you yoke yourself to Love; there will be a cost! If you yoke yourself to Christ; there will be a cost! And, if you yoke yourself to the world or the kingdom of darkness, there will be a cost also!
Sometimes, the yokes of the world will at first appear to be easier than that of the Kingdom of God, especially to the unbeliever; because they do not realize or understanding the eternal end and its consequences.
There will be times when one yoke may seem or appear hard, but the end is bearable; then there is the other yoke which may seem or appear easy, but the end will be unbearable!
It’s your choice to make, but scripture explains the choices and what are also the possible consequences. Jesus also said it this way, “No man can serve two masters.” Which means; you can only yoke yourself to one master and will have to leave the other.
So, which yoke do you choose?