“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Though the Mosaic Law served specific purposes for the Jews, its ultimate purpose was for them to recognize their sin and thus their need of Christ for salvation. The Pharisees, however, taught a sort of self salvation, the thought people had to do something in order to be saved. That’s not what Jesus taught.
A “yoke” is a wooden framework placed over the necks of animals to hold them together in order for them to pull objects. The idea of being under a “yoke” implies being under submission to another. Being bound by the demands of the law was an oppressive burden, a “yoke of slavery” for the Jewish people. In contrast, Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden light.
It is easy to fall into the false belief that we have to “do something” to earn or keep our salvation. It’s a heavy burden trying to do that. In fact, it’s impossible because salvation can’t be earned. The beauty of the gospel and the words spoken by Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 is that they make clear the only way of salvation—by grace, through faith, in Christ. Salvation isn’t based on our religious affiliations, a certain set of rituals or our good deeds. It’s based on death, burial and resurrection. Jesus did it all. Honor and glorify Him by resting in His redeeming work.