Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. About 2,000 years ago, Jesus came to earth, born of a virgin as the prophecies foretold. He came for a purpose, to save each and every one of us from the eternal death that was the penalty for our sins. He took our sins upon Himself and gave His life on a cross, providing the way for us to have eternal life. Jesus also came so that we can find rest from the burden of sin and its consequences.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said, “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.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)
These are words that provide comfort to all who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He came to earth and died for our sins, that when we turn from our sins and follow Him, we are no longer subject to the penalty for our sins. What stands out to me in these verses is that, for us to enjoy the rest from our burdens that Jesus promises, there is action required on our part.
“Come to me…”
First and foremost, we must come to Jesus. This means that we need to believe in Him, turn from our sins and accept Him as Lord and Savior of our lives. We need to give our lives to Him and have a relationship with Him. We cannot just stand on the sidelines and watch what He does in the lives of others. We must allow Him into our lives.
“Take my yoke upon you…”
A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that is placed over the necks of two animals and attached to the cart or plow they are to pull so that the animals work together. Jesus wants us to take His yoke upon us so that we can follow Him, we can walk side by side with Him as we go through life. But while the yoke placed on animals can be quite heavy, the yoke that we share with Jesus is light. When we share His yoke, He directs our paths and makes our burdens easier to carry than if we tried to carry them ourselves.
“Learn from me…”
The third action required of us is to learn from Jesus. We need to be His disciples, to learn from His words and from His example as we strive to become more like Him. By definition, a disciple is someone who follows and learns from a teacher or mentor, and there is no greater teacher or mentor that we can follow than Jesus.
Jesus promises to ease our burdens and give us rest. We must simply do our part by coming to Him, sharing His yoke as we follow Him, and learning from His words and His example.
Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The New International Version. (2011). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.