December 13 - Messiah - Matthew 11:28-30

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13 - Messiah - Matthew 11:28-30

Come unto Him, all ye that labour, come unto Him that are heavy laden, and He will give you rest. Take his yoke upon you, and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

Handel was born in Germany, became inspired by Italian opera while in Berlin and moved to Hamburg at the age of 18 to pursue it.  He realized that for him to be successful, it would be necessary to have a greater international reputation, so traveled to Italy at the age of twenty-one, becoming famous for his skill at the organ and as a composer.  In 1710, he returned to Germany as Kapellmeister to the court in Hanover, and in that year made the first trip to London to ensure the performance of one of his operas went well.  He would soon move to England.

I remember the first time I saw and understood what a yoke looked like.  I was young and in the 1960s, we weren't that many decades from the period of time when farmers still used horses and oxen to plow their fields. In fact, I had an uncle who continued to use them long past the advent of tractors, because he wasn't ready to move to modernity quite yet.

Yokes were generally made from wood and were heavy things. No man (or woman) would want to take on the weight of that, but Jesus says that many of us still do so.  We take on worries and burdens that we shouldn't because we don’t know any better.  I have several friends who worry about every little thing in their life as well as the lives of everyone around them.  They worry and fret when others won’t change their lives in order to live well.  It makes absolutely no sense to them why others can’t see the truth of the world … so they worry.  They worry over their job and worry about others careers. They worry over money and everything that comes with that.  Everything is a burden to this person and sometimes the weight of it all seems to overwhelm them.

This is a yoke that is heavy, especially when one person carries it for the entire world.

It seems ridiculous on the face of it, but Jesus offers another yoke and says it is easy and the burden he lays on each of us is light.  He brings rest and peace, not stress and strain.  Whatever He asks of us, He promises to carry it with us, so we never have to face a heavy burden alone again.

Throw off the yoke that you have shouldered, release your worry.  Jesus says in Matthew 6:25 “… do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”

Do not worry, do not yoke yourself to stress over things you cannot control.  He will provide rest for the soul.