Rejoice In The Yoke Of Jesus

Photo by Paul Jai on Unsplash

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

This morning we studied this text in a sermon called “Rest In The Heart Of Jesus”. We focused on the words “for I am MEEK and LOWLY in heart”.Jesus is πρᾷος prâios, {pronounced prah’-os}, “gentle, mild as opposed to arrogant”. As God His heart dictated that He lower Himself for us, to walk with us. Jesus also described His heart as ταπεινός tapeinós, {pronounced tap-i-nos’}, “of low degree, base, not of high stature”. Though Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16), He lowered Himself to be accessible to the least and lesser of all. There are none so low, nor so vile, that Jesus will not save them if they whosoever will.

Tonight we will look at this text from the perspective of the yoke. Most people today – and certainly none of the Millennials – have no idea what a yoke is. Jesus said:

Matthew 11:29 … Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me

What is a yoke”, Greek ζυγός zygós, {pronounced dzoo-gos’}? Smith’s Bible Dictionary tells us that yoke means:

A well-known implement of husbandry, frequently used metaphorically for subjection , e.g. (1 Kings 12:4, 9-11; Isaiah 9:4; Jeremiah 5:5) hence an “iron yoke” represents an unusually galling bondage. (Jeremiah 28:13)

A yoke is a curved piece of wood that was placed around an animal’s neck, so that you could bind the animal to a wagon or a plow. Without the yoke, it was impossible to plow a field or draw a wagon without hurting the creature. It is a harness that binds one or two creatures to one another, so they could work together to accomplish a common goal.

A “Yoke” When Applied To Humans Is Symbolic Of Submitting Yourself To Someone Or Something Else.

Everyone Is Yoked To Something

Jesus did not tell us, “Come to Me, and I will remove ALL YOKES from you so you can have rest”. Jesus said,

Matthew 11:28-29 … Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you

It is the devil’s lie that it is possible to live without a yoke. We all will be under some type of yoke.
That is the nature of life.

In America today it is a favorite saying of Satan, “Just You do You”. In my day we called this “Do Your Own Thing”. But the real truth is, whether you are animal or human, everyone and everything has a yoke.

  • For many young people, peer pressure and pride arethings you can yoke yourself to. Young people want to fit in with the group, not to be shunned, not to be considered lesser than the others. Popularity is sought on the social networks, whether it be Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, or something else. Peer pressure was in the crowd that cried out “Crucify Jesus, and release Barabbas” (Mark 15:1-5), though Jesus was clearly an innocent man. It was peer pressure that led Aaron to create a golden calf for Israel to worship while Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Law (Exodus 32:1-6). It was peer pressure that caused Daniel to be cast in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:1-16), and caused Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to be cast in a fiery furnace (Daniel 3:13-26). Peer pressure leads young people into premarital sex, drugs and alcohol, and dangerous behavior that may take their lives. Jesus said:

Luke 12:4-6 … Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

  • Relationships like marriage and business are things you can yoke yourself to. When you enter into a marriage, you yoke yourself to another human. You make a promise before God that you will care for this person. When you bind yourself to someone else in a business venture, you are yoking your future to this other person’s future. The Bible warns us to be careful about who we relationally yoke ourselves to. As a Pastor, I will not officiate wedding ceremonies between a believer and an unbeliever. To do so will be to eventually destroy two lives! The Bible says:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

  • You can yoke yourself to SIN. The Bible tells us that “the WAGES of SIN is DEATH” (Romans 6:23). Sin brings with it physical death as well as spiritual death. When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, “the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths” (Genesis 3:7, ESV). Sin blinds us to righteousness, and separates us from God. Brian Hedges of notes:

As scary as infectious diseases are, there’s a more deadly virus that you and I already have – the sin virus. As the 16th Century Reformer John Calvin wrote in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, “all of us, who have descended from impure seed, are born infected with the contagion of sin.” The disease is hereditary, of course, passed down to us from our earthly father, Adam. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12, ESV). To put it simply, we aren’t sinners because we sin, we sin because we’re sinners – fallen from our created perfection in our earthly father, Adam.”

To yoke yourself to sin is to invite death. The stepbrother of Christ said:

James 1:14-15 (ESV) … each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

  • You can yoke yourself to the Law of God. The Pharisees did this in Jesus’ day, and Pharisees do it today. God did not give the Law to Israel when He saved Israel from Egypt. No, God gave the Law after Israel repeatedly refused to follow God by faith. Israel refused to yoke themselves to God, but yoked themselves to sin, to self, and to satanic idols. God was faithful with Israel. He led Israel through the Red Sea. The Bible says in Exodus 13:21 that “the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night (ESV)”. Israel was safe while yoked to God by faith. God gave Israel water out of the rock, bread from Heaven, meat from the skies around them, and caused their clothing and shoes to NOT wear out as they traveled. Yet Israel resisted faith in God.

So God gave Israel the Law. Israel promised to obey the Law of God, though they never did. The Law of God did not bring a release, but a harsh bondage on those who received it. The …

Pharisees codified the Mosaic Law into some
365 prohibitions and 250 commandments,
and required those who followed them to
submit to the Pharisees’ interpretations”.
(Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, Design for Discipleship)

The intent of the Law of God was never to save anyone. The Apostle Paul said:

Romans 3:20 (ESV) For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

The Law of God is a mirror that we hold up to our souls. In that mirror is reflected our sinfulness, our inability to reach the perfection necessary to be with God or to enter Heaven. The Apostle Peter called the Law:

Acts 15:10 … a yoke upon the neck … which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

The Pharisees taught that it was sinful do do any internal healing on the Sabbath day. If you broke your arm, you could put an external splint on it. But if you took any internal medicine, you were bearing a burden. If you had a toothache, you could take a sip of wine if you spit it out, then rinsed your mouth out. But if you swallowed the wine, you were taking internal medication, and were a Sabbath violator. Jesus said of those Pharisees:

Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

The Law of God – if followed with a sense of pride and self righteousness – does not make believers ion God, but children of hell. The Quest Study Bible notes:

To be a child of hell is to be deserving of hell, that is, to be awfully wicked. In Matthew 23, Jesus explains that the Pharisees and Sadducees displayed their wickedness in many ways. They did not practice what they preached (verse 3). They burdened the people with religious rituals and ceremonies of their own invention and made no effort to help them to bear them (verse 4). All their religious rituals were done in a public manner in order to receive the praise and glory from others (verses 5–7).”

The Bible says in Galatians 3:24-28 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Jesus Calls Us To Yoke Ourselves To Himself

I have often heard it said, “You can be saved, and not be a disciple of Christ”. I do not believe this, and can prove this in our text of today. Jesus offers to save us – whosoever will:

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

But Jesus ties the salvation He gives to His Lordship of His people. He continues:

Matthew 11:29-30 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The Bible says that Jesus “shall SAVE HIS PEOPLE from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus said:

Matthew 11:27-28 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. {28} Come unto me .…

The Father has given All things – the Heaven, the Heaven of Heavens, and the earth to Jesus. All things belong to the Son. You cannot enter God’s family apart from faith in the Son. You cannot enter God’s Heaven apart from faith in God’s only begotten Son. Jesus is Lord! The Scripture says:

Romans 14:10-11 … we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

As a sheep willingly yokes itself to the Shepherd, we willingly yoke ourselves to Jesus. Without the Shepherd we are in danger. With the Shepherd, we are protected. Jesus said:

John 10:11, 14 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. … 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

When we willingly yoke ourselves to Jesus Christ, we yoke ourselves to the same Creator Who made all things. Are we not in a blessed position when we repent, and turn away from yoking ourselves to other things, and instead yoke ourselves to Christ?

Colossians 1:16-17 For by {Jesus Christ} were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: {17} And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Salvation demands we love Jesus. Salvation demands we obey Jesus, that we willingly yoke ourselves to Him. Jesus said:

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

And again, John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Jesus says to those He has saved, “take My yoke upon you”. This “yoke” is not an instrument of torture. Jesus said, My yoke is easy, my burden light. The yoke is in place to protect and guide the believer. Jesus’ yoke on my life insures that I will go through the terrors of this life, for Jesus is by my side, guiding me, protecting me. The Christian is a work in progress. Saved by faith in Christ, every believer lives under the easy yoke and the light burden of Christ Jesus. Only the believer fully submitted to Christ is unafraid of death and unafraid of life. While in His yoke, He is with me, and I am with Him. What a blessed life it is, this life in Christ! Pastor John MacArthur said:

“The yoke of the law, the yoke of human effort, the yoke of works, and the yoke of sin are all heavy, chafing, galling yokes. They represent large, unbearable burdens carried in the flesh. They lead to despair, frustration, and anxiety. Jesus offers a yoke we can carry, and He also gives the strength to carry it (Philippians 4:13). Therein is true rest. … Unlike the Pharisees and scribes, He does not desire to oppress us. He does not want to pile burdens on us that we cannot bear. … Obedience under His yoke is a joy. It is when we disobey that the yoke chafes our neck.”

The eagle has learned that it can fight the wind and fly, or it can surrender to the wind and soar.

Jesus Christ Is The Stronger Ox

When I read the words of Christ,

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me …

my first thought is of the old time farmer on the plow. I see Jesus as the Farmer, and myself as the ox pulling the plow. But Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost pointed out to me that this is too narrow a definition. Jesus said Take my yoke upon you. He is not necessarily speaking from the superior position of the Farmer, but insinuating that He, Jesus, is in the yoke WITH ME. Dr. Pentecost wrote:

Back in my college days, I observed an incident that made this Scripture clear to me. On Sunday afternoons I used to go out to a little rural Sunday School to teach. One such day the superintendent, a farmer, and I were visiting in the community. We saw an old farmer plowing with a team of oxen. As I saw this team, I was somewhat amazed, for one was a huge ox and the other a tiny bullock. That ox towered over the little bullock that was sharing the work with him. I was amazed and perplexed to see a farmer trying to plow with two such unequal animals in the yoke and commented on the inequality.

The man with whom I was riding stopped his car and said, “I want you to notice something. The large ox is pulling all the weight. That little bullock is being broken in to the yoke, but he is not actually pulling any weight.”

In the normal yoke, the load is equally distributed between the two that are yoked together, but when we are yoked with Jesus Christ, He bears the load, and we who are yoked with Him share in the joy and the accomplishment of the labor but without the burden of the yoke.”

Our Lord Jesus is the larger Ox. He bids us to get in the yoke with Him. This is what salvation is all about. Because I am in the yoke with Jesus, I will one day be with Jesus.

I am a son of God because I am yoked to THE Son of God.
I am indwelt with the Spirit of God because I am yoked to Jesus.
I am a
lesser priest before God because I am yoked
to the GREATER Priest, Jesus.
I am fit for Heaven because Jesus, to Whom I am yoked,
is the
Lamb of God, acceptable, and fit.

The Bible says:

Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV) Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Because I am yoked to Jesus, and Jesus is yoked to me, I will be able to go through the roughest parts of this life. In Acts chapter 27 the Bible tells us that the Apostle Paul is in chains, and headed toward Rome, Italy to be judged by Caesar. Paul was yoked to Jesus, though he was chained to a Centurion. Paul told the Centurion:

Acts 27:10-11 (ESV) “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.

Of course, what Jesus told Paul came to pass. For three days the ship was buffeted by the winds and the waves. But Paul was yoked to Jesus! Paul encouraged his shipmates, and told them:

Acts 27:23-26 (ESV) … this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on some island.”

On the fourteenth night of this terrible voyage, all were frightened by Paul. Why? Because Paul is yoked to Jesus. Paul tells his shipmates:

Acts 27:33-37 (ESV) “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. 36 Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.)

Was this amazing courage on Paul’s part? No. He just remembered that he was yoked to Jesus, and Jesus was yoked to him. They safely landed on the Island of Malta, and set about to make a fire. The Bible says:

Acts 28:3-6 (ESV) When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

Paul was not “a god”, but he was yoked to God the Son, and God the Son was yoked to him.

Jesus said “take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me”. Rest in Jesus. Willingly yoke yourselves to Him. As you go through the trials and tribulations of this life, remember that you are yoked to Jesus.

In recent years, many Millennials and Generation Z-ers have “fallen away from the faith”. John Stonestreet of Breakpoint Ministries notes:

What if we are seeing the fruit of a generation that was sold endless attempts to make Christ cool and likable, worship relevant and hyper-emotional, and Christian morality more about politics and cultural influence than obedience to God? And what if this generation has now found those experiences elsewhere? What if all the trendy marketing, political capital, and massive concert experiences inadvertently taught a generation to love the glamour and the feelings, but not Christ?

God doesn’t want our success; He wants us. He doesn’t demand our achievements; He demands our obedience. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of paradox, where through the ugly defeat of a Cross, a holy God is utterly glorified. Victory comes through defeat; healing through brokenness; finding self through losing self.”

You must be yoked to Jesus Christ to be saved. But if you are yoked to Christ, He is always with you, and you with Him. We are victors, because He is THE Victor. Death has no hold on us, because death has no hold on Him.

Oh, that all here today would discover the joy found in the yoke of Jesus! May God the Holy Spirit lead you to surrender to the yoke of Jesus! May God the Holy Spirit through His Word draw you closer to Jesus Christ is day. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Matthew, Sermons Preached and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.