Followers learn from Jesus
Though it requires dedication, intentionality and discipline, to be like Jesus is not
hard work. In fact, says Jesus, it is a place of rest!
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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).
A yoke is a wooden beam or a leather harness normally connecting a pair of animals
to enable them to pull together on a load when working in pairs, although some
yokes are fitted to individual animals. The term is sometimes used metaphorically in
• In ancient Judaism taking on the “yoke” of the Torah (the Jewish Law) denotes
submission to the authority of Torah and observance of its commands; thus,
people taking on the “yoke” of Torah pull together to study Torah and carry out
• In the passage from Matthew, taking on the “yoke” of Jesus means submitting to
his authority and learning to follow his way of life; in his yoke people pull
together with the risen Christ and one another in order to move easily in the
same direction – down the pathway of Christ.
• According to Jesus, learning this way of life from him is not burdensome
because, as our teacher, he is gentle and humble, not a strict taskmaster.
Jesus promises that by turning to him and learning his way of life, we will find rest
and relief from the heavy burdens of the world. He picks up some of our load,
sharing in our discernment, so that we don’t have to figure out everything for
ourselves. By following his teachings, we are able to make sense out of a complex
world and act in ways that lead to fullness of life.
Questions for reflection
• What were some of the characteristics or qualities of some of your best teachers
over the course of your life? Were any of them gentle and humble? If so, what
impact did they have on your education?
• In what ways does Jesus offer you rest and relief in your life from the weariness
and burdens of the world?
• In what ways do you experience Jesus as a gentle and humble teacher?
Gracious Lord, you give rest to those who turn to you for relief: enlighten us to
recognize and acknowledge our heavy burdens and the courage to yoke ourselves
with you, so that we might learn from your teaching and find rest in your way of