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What is: A Yoke?

Hey hey hey! Let's start a new series called What is. In This series of posts and videos I'd like to discuss themes, words, and even topics that are thrown around in church and other faith organizations, but often times go unexplained. I am someone who needs to know what someone is talking about to be engaged, so I hope over the next couple of weeks I will be able to share some insight.

Today I'd like to start with yoke. As a new believer I would hear verses and people talk about taking up Jesus' yoke and not to be yoked unequally. Honestly, I had no idea what they were talking about- egg yolk? How does that make any sense? How do you ask someone what they are talking about mid-sermon and then by the time it was over, I forgot. The cycle went on. Until one day a pastor finally explained what the yoke meant. Light bulb- well sort of because I still needed a more thorough explanation.

Here goes- a yoke is a device used for farming, for example, in which two oxen are hooked up together around the neck. Now I've never held a yoke, but based on the pictures I have seen it looks pretty heavy- made of wood and sometimes iron. The yoke is meant to keep the oxen working at even speed and distributing weight evenly. In many cases, the farmer would pair a more experienced oxen with a younger oxen to teach him the way until he matures.

Think about the imagery God is using when He refers to the yoke throughout His teachings.

Matthew 11:28-30 says,

28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden in light."

First of all, Jesus is inviting us to come to Him so He can give us rest, which is in opposition to what the imagery of the oxen and the yoke give us. For the oxen, this is heavy and a

long day of work. Remember how I have said before that Jesus turned everything upside down or is showing us the opposite? In the next verse, He invites us again to take His yoke upon us- this is important. Imagine yourself being hooked up in this contraption next to Jesus as you walk throughout your day. Jesus has the answers- He's done this before, while you and I- we are still learning. Our steps will be steady, even, and firmly planted. What better teacher than a gentle and humble teacher. Have you ever had a harsh egotistical teacher? I have and it was horrible. So, as we wake each morning before we put on our clothes, makeup, or jewelry, what if we put on the most important piece of material we have, Jesus' yoke?

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