Okay, so you understand the first sentence of this verse: Jesus is inviting you to come to Him for rest if you labor and are weighed down by your work. But what is this "yoke" Jesus is talking about in the next two sentences? The term "yoke" describes a device mainly used for working oxen. Instead of one oxen pulling something heavy behind them, the yoke brings two oxen together. If the oxen were simply tied to the object they were pulling without a yoke, the oxen might try to pull in opposite directions, causing moving of the object to be unsuccessful, or very difficult. By attaching a yoke to the oxen, the two animals are not only joined together, but also their direction of movement becomes the same, therefore making pulling the object a much easier task. When Jesus offers us His yoke, He is saying to us, "Be attached to me, and I will steer you in the right direction. Not only will you be brought together, but He will also help pull the load of your life. When conforming to Christ, the burden of life is no longer heavy, but light. It's not just any person inviting to be your yoke- but God! He is strong! His mighty strength will make a difference! It's not like you were offered a yoke from a scrawny 100 lb boy. This is God we are talking about, and He has offered to help with your load! He wants to give you rest and take some of the weight off your shoulders! Jesus not only says, "Take my yoke upon you," but also "Learn from me". How can we learn from Jesus in this context? The two words, "gentle" and "lowly" can also mean humble. So if humble ourselves, as Jesus is humble, and realize the burden is too heavy for us alone to carry, we will be blessed with His rest. We will get exhausted if in our pride we think we can carry it all on our own. We weren't created to do it that way. When we experience His guidance and rest, I hope we would understand that Jesus wants to be our yoke all the time- not just some of the time.
I think this is where a believer can really find joy in the Lord! When we go about our day in our own thoughts, in our own strength, facing the challenges and trials of life on our own, we become weighed down- feeling inadequate, worrying about the circumstances we are facing and wondering how we will ever get through life. When we accept Jesus' invitation to let Him be the Lord of our life, it means we let Him be the yoke too. We allow Him to be the driving force of our life, steering us in His direction. When we join Him in His work, the load of life becomes lighter, because He is carrying the weight of it with us, we aren't required to carry it on our own. When we go in His direction, it is for His purposes and not our endless efforts to please ourselves. If Jesus is your Lord but you still feel weighed down by the load you are carrying, it's because you are trying to steer yourself, and Jesus in your direction! Submit, and let Jesus have full reign. Stop trying to go in a different direction than the one Jesus is guiding you. If you are trying to carry the load by yourself with the other portion of the yoke empty, ask Jesus to come and take over. Often times, when I ask Jesus to come, I don't feel any weight, it's as if Jesus is carrying the whole burden! With every situation we face, we have to make sure we surrender our will and let Jesus reign in it. Allowing Jesus to have complete dominion in our lives gives us rest. Rest, because He is God, and He will get us through each challenge and trial of life with His strength. We don't have to waste energy stressing, planning or wondering. We can rest that Jesus knows, and will direct each step we take. This rest is a gift to all who acknowledge Him as their Savior and Yoke of their life.