January 25, 2012


Matthew 11:25-30

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest …”
Matthew 11:29


The yoke Jesus refers to in this Scripture reading has a lot to teach us about how the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of gentleness within us.

A yoke was a heavy wooden bar that a farmer would place across the necks of two oxen so that they were forced to work together. The purpose was not just to get twice as much work done; more than anything, the yoke was a training device.

When an ox reached the point when it could begin plowing, a farmer would team it up with an older, more experienced animal. In this way the younger, more stubborn ox would be forced to walk in step with the stronger animal who led the way.

This is not a very flattering description of a disciple. But it is a wonderful picture of our Lord. The sinless Son of God wants to be yoked with rebellious people so that they can learn from him.

Jesus doesn’t force his yoke on us; he humbly offers it.

Have you taken it? If you have, you know how easy a burden it really is.

We don’t need to worry about producing the fruit of gentleness ourselves. All we need to do is keep in step with the Savior. And his gentleness will soon become ours.

Lord Jesus, there is so much I need to learn from you. Help me to walk beside you, to listen to your teaching, and to enjoy the rest that only you can give. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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