One of the most beautiful and famous things Yahshua said was, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matt. 11: 28-30 NIV emphasis mine] I imagine that most of us have, at some time, drawn comfort and strength from this familiar invitation and promise, and it’s fascinating to imagine that Yahshua understood what He was offering from His own professional experience.
Naturally, as a carpenter, Yahshua would have made the ox-yokes from wood. Oxen would actually have been taken to His workshop, where they would have been carefully measured. After the yoke had been blocked out the animal would be returned for a fitting! The curve of the yoke would be deepened and the rough places smoothed until the yoke fitted so precisely that it would never irritate or rub sore the backs of those patient beasts.
Yahshua said, “My yoke is easy…” and the word translated ‘easy’ is the Greek word ‘chrestos’ which really means ‘well-fitting’. Can you imagine anything more amazing than being joined to Yahshua by a specially crafted yoke, custom-made to fit? He walked this earthly way before we did and He is completely aware of how often life gets exhausting and of how troubled we feel. He humbly offers us His gentle companionship along the journey and invites us to ‘learn of Me,’ not from a vast, indifferent distance, but from the relationship of the same yoke.
Every burden must be lighter when we know He is helping us to bear it. He invites us, weary and burdened, to go to Him for rest, offering to walk with us in tandem, facing life together.