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But what does he really mean that his yoke is easy and his burden is light? First let us look at what a yoke is. So, what is it? Merriam-Webster defines it as:. In Bible times this was a wooden frame added to single or multiple oxen, horses or mules to get them to pull a cart or plow. It was a very heavy piece of equipment that was burdensome. The yoke upon an animal meant, work was coming.

It meant there was a load to be moved, whether it was a cart of people or goods, or pulling a plow through the dirt. It was heavy and burdensome on the animal. Jesus utilized this analogy because he lived in an agricultural society. When he was speaking this it immediately pulled up images in the minds of His followers. He continually utilized analogies of familiar things to speak to the people, because it was easier for them to understand and relate to what he was saying.

On top of these laws that were so numerous hardly anyone could keep them straight, the Pharisees and Sadducees added extra little tid-bits that made it even harder to follow. The ironic thing was that not even the Pharisees and Sadducees could keep up with all of them. They were the religious professionals of the day. When a person could not meet the criteria for something, the Pharisees came down on them. One example is the Passover, families would travel many miles and even days to come to the temple for Passover.

Depending on the distance of travel some would bring their sacrifice with them, while others would look for a sacrificial animal once they arrived in Jerusalem. Or if a person was getting one from there once they arrived, they had to pay the high prices. This ticked Jesus off obviously, since he proceeded to flip over tables, and drive them out with whips.

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But, this is another story for another time. Now Jesus proceeds to defy the Pharisees yet again, by saying that His yoke is easy and His burden is light? The burden was no longer to maintain plus laws and all the extras, but to love God with all your heart, your souls and your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. For if he did not govern us for our own good, it would not be glorious for him to govern us. If the service which he requires of us were not for our own highest good, it would be disgraceful to him, and not for his glory.

But because his government is entirely unselfish, because his heart is set upon doing us good, because he has been willing to deny himself for the purpose of promoting our good, because he brings us into a state of voluntary subjection that he may restrain us from doing ourselves and those around us any harm, and requires of us just that course of life which shall conduce most to our peace, our comfort, our highest good in time and in eternity, therefore the yoke is easy and the service redounds to his glory.

The things which he requires of us are most in accordance with our whole nature. This state of servitude is in entire accordance with our own highest reason, with the most enlightened dictates of our conscience, with the truest, most healthy, and most rational gratification of our every susceptibility of our being.

He lays no appetite or passion under any restraint but for our own highest good. So it is with every restraint, every cross, every trial--every thing in his whole treatment of us is demanded by our nature and relations as the condition of our highest well-being. In short, Christ's yoke is easy because it is really more of a divine charm or enchantment, than a yoke of bondage.

The soul enters into a state of servitude, and takes this yoke, because constrained by a view of his love. It continues in this service, and clings to this state of servitude, because bound fast by the cords of this love of Christ. In short, this servitude consists in just this, it is the soul's continual offering of itself as a living sacrifice to Christ, a mere yielding of itself to the divine charm of Christ's all-prevailing love.

The soul is drawn in this servitude, and not driven. It is called with an effectual calling; it is persuaded by an effectual persuasion; it is overcome and conquered, and subdued, and held by the charm of Christ's love. Not to the hypocrite who only professes to take it, but does not in fact love the Savior. There are many who profess to be religious, and to be the servants of Christ, who are continually complaining of the severity of the servitude. To them his commandments are grievous, his yoke is heavy, unendurable. They will sing,. This class of persons are living in the seventh of Romans.

My Yoke is Easy, My Burden is Light ~Jesus

They make their resolutions, and as often break them. They cry out, "O wretched man that I am. But there are many professors of religion who regard religion as a thorny way. With them it is not as "the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

They do not find their religion a peace-giving religion. They do not know the kingdom of God in their experience to be "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. They have taken the yoke of the law upon stiff necks, and therefore they find their religion a perfect bondage. Let no such one suppose himself to be really in the accepted service of Christ. Christ's yoke is not easy to the selfish, who only take it outwardly, from fear or hope of reward. There are many who profess to be Christians, who have no true love to Christ himself, no true sympathy with him, so consequently they have no joy in his service, no pleasure in it for its own sake.

They have undertaken to be religious simply to secure something for themselves; and they work hard to make something out of it. But they do not find Christ's yoke easy because it is not a spontaneous love-service. It is not that course of life which above all others they choose because they love the Savior supremely, but it is something which they must comply with as a condition of being saved. It will not do to lose their souls, therefore they must be religious at any rate, though they find it exceedingly hard to be so. But this is not Christ's yoke, this is not a love-service; this band is not a band of love that binds them to the cross of Christ.

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Christ's yoke is not easy to the self-willed. There are those who profess to be religious whose wills have never been subdued to Christ. They are like unweaned children; and they are continually chafing in their bondage as if Christ's yoke were iron. Of course their state of servitude is not a love-service, is not the true yoke of Christ.

Religion as an Impossible Burden

But it is easy to every one who really understands what his yoke is, and truly takes it upon himself. It is easy to all who truly choose Christ as their sovereign Lord , their Head, their Savior, who enter into sympathy with him and have confidence in him, who make common cause with him and merge their will in his, who in all things trust him.

To all this class, who thus really take this yoke upon them, it is easy. And I might add, that the same is true of all the burdens which he really imposes upon us. Christ's yoke is easy and his burden is light to all truly loving, confiding, and submissive souls. Then let it be understood that Christ's real yoke, or the true service of Christ, is never hard.

His real yoke is never heavy. It is self-will and selfishness that at any time fault the yoke or the service of Christ. If what we call religion is burdensome, it is not Christ's yoke, it is not Christ's religion. If we make an uphill business of it, and if we find it "hard to obey, and harder still to love," Christ says to us, Who has required this at your hand?

What I require of you is a love-service, not this slavish service. If you love me not, if you do not serve me from love, I abhor your doings. Let no one think himself truly religious whose religion is a bondage, and not the highest liberty. Whatever is hard in religion is made so by our want of heart, our want of love, our want of confidence; and is therefore not Christ's yoke at all. It is not true religion, it is not Christian liberty, but legal bondage.

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All truly religious duties are easy. If we make them hard, they are not a love-service, and not what Christ requires.

Trusting in Jesus His Yoke Is Easy and His Burden Is Light

If we make them hard we spoil them. If we go complainingly about his service, grumbling about the difficulties and the hardness of his service, he loathes our bondage, he cannot accept it. Let it be understood, then, that they who make religion a hard, up hill matter, have no Gospel religion. They are wearing, not Christ's yoke, but the yoke of the law; and that, too, laid upon their stiff-neckedness and unbrokenness of heart. This subject will throw light upon the true nature of the Christian warfare. This is not hard, a something to which we are to be screwed up, and whipped up, by our conscience.

“My yoke is easy and my burden is light."

It is only love to Christ spontaneously resisting temptation to displease him. It is not hard work for the most affectionate husband or wife to resist infidelity to him or her whom each loves most. This resistance is not that to which we are whipped up by a mere sense of obligation, or fear of consequences. It is the spontaneous resistance of love to that which is entirely inconsistent with it. Such is the Christian warfare. Nothing that love cannot well afford to do is ever required of us in our Christian life. Of course if everything is for our highest good, as well as for the highest glory of Christ, love can well afford to do it, or abstain from it. Love cannot afford to have one of Christ's commandments abated, nor one of his prohibitions relaxed. His will is perfect; his true service is the perfection of liberty; his true yoke is as easy as possible. Let no one judge of Christ's religion by the common representations of it. Should we judge of Christ's religion, from the complaints of many of its professors, we should infer that Christ kept his children on short allowance, that he required "brick without straw," that he is a hard master and even a cruel slaveholder.

Their mouths are full of complaints. They do not hesitate to say in their prayers and in their conversation that which implies that Christ's commandments are most grievous, that his yoke is too heavy to be borne, that he supplies their spiritual wants so sparingly that he keeps them little short of absolute famine and starvation. Nay, they represent the commandments as beyond the possibility of obedience, and the service which he requires as so entirely above their reach, that by no grace received in this life are they ever able to obey him. Now this is surely as opposite to the teachings of Christ and this text, as possible.

Just compare this text and many similar ones, to the old confession of faith, that "no man, since the fall, is able, either in his own strength or by any grace received in this life, to obey the commandments of God.