When traveling, our goal is always to pack light. No one enjoys dragging around 100-pound suitcases, awkwardly struggling to put their carry-on in the overhead bin, or paying hefty fees for overweight luggage. In the same way, Jesus makes sure that our baggage is light when we travel with him through life. In fact, in Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus promises us an “easy yoke” and “light burden.” Here’s the “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” meaning and how it applies to our life here on Earth.
“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, New International Version).
Even if you’re already familiar with this verse, I think you could gain some new insight in this article, so I encourage you to keep reading!
What does a yoke symbolize?
First, to understand this verse, it’s important to understand what a yoke is. As many of you may already know, literally speaking, a yoke is “a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (such as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together” (Merriam-Webster, 2023).
Taking this literal definition into mind, in Matthew 11, a yoke symbolizes the support and liberation that Jesus promises us. He is offering to take the weight of our life — our burdens, our sins, our worries, our futures and every other aspect of life — onto his own back in support of us.
In other words, Jesus — God in the flesh — offers to take weight off our backs in exchange for our humility and submission to him.
What is Jesus yoke and burden?
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says that his “yoke is easy” and his “burden is light.”
We discussed what the yoke symbolizes, so let’s chat about what the burden refers to.
While most of us use the term “burden” in the emotional, figurative sense (which applies here too), it’s important to look at the traditional definition of the word as well. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a burden is actually “something that is carried” or a physical “load” (Merriam-Webster, 2023).
Knowing what the yoke symbolizes, these two terms fit together a lot more seamlessly than with our modern language. Simply, Jesus is talking about his light load (burden) and his easy way to carry the load (yoke).
But, what does this mean for us?
What does Jesus mean by ‘yoke is easy’?
When Jesus says his “yoke is easy,” he is telling us that his gift of joining us — better yet, uniting with us — to support us and our own loads is easy for us to accept.
All we have to do is take his offer; rid ourselves of our old, rusty, difficult yoke; join him under his easy-to-use, easy-to-maneuver, top-of-the line yoke; and allow him to take our heavy weight.
Now, I think it’s important to recognize that Jesus is referring to his own yoke. He doesn’t say, “I’ll teach you how to make your yoke easy to use.” No. Instead, he wants to completely replace your yoke with his. He’ll take the lead. He’ll show you how it’s done.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…” (Matthew 11:29, New International Version).
Remember, he has the highest quality, iPhone 15 version of the yoke. No matter how much we try to repair our frames or change out our ropes, our iPhone 4 yoke will never compete with his. So, this is a huge gift.
Why did Jesus say, ‘My burden is light’?
When Jesus said, “My burden is light,” he was describing how his own burden, which we can take instead of our heavy burdens, is light in stark contrast to ours.
He is telling us that our life no longer has to be occupied by our worries, heavy burdens and restlessness. We can be free of our oppressive anxieties. We can finally feel rested.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
Once again, all we have to do is accept his yoke.
‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light’ meaning:
Obviously, the “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” meaning can be applied to accepting Jesus’s gift and allowing him to lead your life. However, it can also be applied to those of us who are already believers.
Whether you’re carrying a sack full of grief, a duffle bag of hurt, a suitcase of sin or a bucket of worry for what the future holds, know that Jesus’s load will always feel light.
When you agree to take his light load, you will feel it in your chest, gut and spirit. “…You will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29, New International Version).
The truth is, we all come with baggage. Some of us come with a carry-on. Some of us come with three checked bags, a carry-on, a backpack that barely passes as a personal item, and a plane-side-checked foldable stroller. This doesn’t matter to Jesus.
He wants to roll your suitcase for you. He wants to take the backpack off your back. Let him.
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