The Yoke of Freedom
Generally speaking, we don’t associate freedom with a yoke. The two concepts strike us as opposites. And yet the very One who said He came to set us free also invited us to share His yoke. Hmmm. To complicate matters even further, He promised rest for those who take Him up on His offer. Once again, we’re confronted with what seems to be a contradiction in terms. How can one possibly find rest by putting on a yoke?
When Jesus spoke of a yoke, He was referring to a relationship—a relationship in which two would walk side by side in the same direction, covering the same ground, encountering the same obstacles, and traveling at the same speed. By inviting His audience to submit to His yoke, He was asking them to come alongside Him. In essence, He was offering three things. First, He was offering to help shoulder their burdens. Second, He was offering to guide them, for whenever two oxen were yoked together, one was always considered the lead animal. And third, Jesus was offering to instruct them in the ways of freedom.
The Savior knows how to keep your marriage free from the destructive forces prevalent in our society. He knows how to free your mind from jealousy, greed, and lust. He knows how to help you avoid becoming enslaved to destructive habits and attitudes. And so He invites you to come alongside Him and learn the ways of freedom. He offers you an opportunity to walk beside Him through the maze of attitudes, opportunities, and relationships that would threaten your liberty.
Many view the yoke of Christ as a threat to freedom. From their perspective, a yoke is a yoke regardless of who it belongs to. It was for this very reason that Christ made His offer to the “weary and burdened” (Matt. 11:28)—those who had tried to find freedom on their own and had found only bondage instead. To those He said, “Come to me … and I will give you rest.”
Has your quest for freedom led you to despair? Are you ready to come alongside the only One who can truly set you free? Christ came that we might experience freedom, not just wish for it. Yet it’s only when we humble ourselves and team up with Him that personal freedom becomes a reality.