Matthew 11:25-30, verses 28-30 text.

“Come unto me” simply means believe in Christ and become His follower or His disciple.

“All ye that labour and are heavy laden” applies to someone who has a great load laid upon him which he must carry to a designated place, but every step he takes reduces his strength, and thereby his load appears to become heavier. He realizes that the load must reach its destination, so he moves on. A good Samaritan sees his struggle and takes the load off his shoulder so that he may rest a few moments.

The repentant sinner who comes to Christ for forgiveness, realizing it was Christ Who paid the sacrifice for the burdened and guilty, will find instant pardon for his or her sin. All are invited to come and are promised rest, but if they refuse, they will continue to carry their own burdens. I believe Jesus is referring to the Jews that complained about their burdens under the weight of Moses’ law according to Acts 15:10, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” Sinners who are tired of man’s oppression and weary of their sin and empty religion or self-will are also invited to come to Christ to find relief.

Jesus tells those who are burdened, that by coming to Him for salvation they will be freed from these burdensome ceremonies. Notice several truths about this invitation:

  • It is the Lord Himself Who gives it.
  • He invites the burdened to come to Him.
  • The invitation is given to those who labour and are heavy laden.
  • He promises rest to the weary if they will come.
  • The offer is not made by keeping of the law or sacraments, but by the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is no excuse for being miserable because by submitting ourselves to Christ, trusting in Him, and obeying His commands, we will have happiness in this life as well as throughout eternity. This is the reason He gives: 

Verse 29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Notice in verse 29 that as we submit to Him He will give us His load in exchange for ours. If we fail to accept His invitation, the fault is not in the yoke of Christ, but in us for not taking it upon us. The load we carry will become lighter as we take on His load in addition to our own.  He said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. He first asks us to come, and then He will show us how to come, and that is by taking His yoke upon us because it is a symbol of our submission. He gives two simple steps in order to find “rest unto our souls”: by submission to Christ and by becoming His disciples.

The yoke of which Jesus is speaking is one that fits to the shoulders of two oxen, enabling them to pull a plow. This yoke is only easy when two bear it together. So it is with the yoke of Sonship. It was not easy for Christ to bear alone, so He said to His disciples, “Take my yoke upon you.”

He is saying, “Let us work together and share the load, thereby making it lighter for both of us.” Can we truly bear His yoke with Him? Absolutely yes, if we understand what His yoke is.

  • Christ will take the yoke of our sins, our cares, and our sorrows; but never think for a moment that this yoke is light. Jesus will take our load cheerfully, wholeheartedly, and lovingly if—
  • We will take His yoke through our Christian service, Christian living, and in doing our duty.

In this message, we will give attention to the first yoke and focus on rest for the weary.

THE BURDEN

Weary is used in three different ways in the New Testament. In this case, the word is Kopiao, which means “to work hard, toil and be wearied.”

The burden of sin: depravity, vanity, pride, self-will, and selfishness will result in the weariness of the soul (guilt).

The burden of sorrow: distress in life, poverty, sickness, temptation, persecution is often given to make us more like Christ.

The burden of service will often get self out of the way so that we will be able to make the exchange for the yoke of Christ.

THE RELIEF

Christ offers pardon to the guilty. He gives rest to the conscience, removing the sense of guilt and giving peace to the heart.

Christ offers to remove the penalty of sin by giving grace to the needy. It is a blessing to know that He will remove the deserved penalty of sin by paying for it Himself. He will enable us, though we are in affliction and pain.

Christ offers purity to the ungodly because He purchased them with His own precious blood.

Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient for every sinner, and His promises give us reassurance of this fact in Ezekiel 36:25-27, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

THE REMEDY

We must personally come to Christ in repentance.

  • We can go to church without going to Christ.
  • We can join the church and be baptized without going to Christ.
  • We can even take the Lord’s Supper without going to Christ.

We must have a personal relationship with Christ.

We must make progress with Him in obedience.

  • By ceasing to do evil.
  • By learning to do well.
  • By destroying all our idols.
  • By doing acts of justice and mercy in truth and goodness.

We must proceed by faith.

We must accept Him as Saviour, realizing that He is with us the very moment we receive Him; and He will take our burden as we take His. Soon we will realize the truth of His words that “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Have you taken up this yoke for two and made Him your Saviour?


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Hans Nikoley, GSBC Professor

Bro. Nikoley emigrated from Germany to the United States with his family at age 13. He served full time in the Nevada Air National Guard for six years. At age 32, He was saved, and in 1977, he graduated from Bible College. He pastored for over 31 years, 27 of them at Pomerado Road Baptist Church in Poway, California. Bro. Nikoley has served at Golden State Baptist College in the Bible Department and also as the Student Employment Director since 2007. He and his wife Mary have two children and have been married for 58 years.