Thursday, January 16, 2014

Come, Take, Learn

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. (Mathew 11:28-30 NIV)
Jesus invites us to Himself, to come and take and learn.

Come. This invitation is for those who are “weary and burdened.” The One to whom we are invited to come is the One who bears our burdens. “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22). “Praise be to the LORD, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (Psalm 68:18 NIV). Come, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Take. We very often think of “give” and “take” as belonging together. When someone gives us something, we receive it by taking it. Here, Jesus promises to give us rest, but then He calls us to take His yoke upon ourselves. This seems a paradox, for a yoke is made for bearing a burden, and we normally think of bearing a burden as the opposite of rest. But here, it is in taking Jesus’ yoke that we find the rest He offers.

Learn. What is the yoke Jesus invites us to take? Read the words again: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” Notice that taking up Jesus’ yoke is not a separate thing but is paired with learning from Him. Back in those days, rabbis spoke of taking the “yoke of the Torah,” that is, of being devoted to learning the law God gave to Moses. However, Jesus’ call to take up His yoke is the invitation to come and learn from Him. The Greek word for “learn” in this passage is mathete (the word for “disciple” is mathetes).

For all who are weary and burdened — and who of us hasn’t been? — Jesus calls us to be His disciples, to come and take and learn Him. Learning Jesus is walking with Him, for a yoke is made for two. But Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light for us because He is the one who carries it. And it is in this way that we discover and experience what is truly rest for the soul.