A Light Cross to Bear?

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

And what kind of yoke is this? And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’

Easy? Light? Only if the Lord makes it so; only if all that has been laid already upon the Christ who bore our sins and griefs, qui tollit peccatum mundi.

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4 responses to “A Light Cross to Bear?

  1. I’ve recently heard this passage in a new light: Jesus says his yoke is easy because he is your partner in carrying your burden. The whole idea of a ‘yoke’ – e.g. being “equally yoked” – is to have two beasts of burden carrying the load on their shoulders as a pair. I had never realized what an amazing phrase Jesus has encouraged us with until this word picture was explained to me two weeks ago. Jesus completes our pair, and he is strong!

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    • It seems that God’s at once both yokemaster (‘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’) and yokebearer. Christ, who became man, is under the yoke with us, just as he took upon himself the human estate and the cross of Adam’s sin.

      At the same time, I’m not keen on letting this image turn into a Semipelagian idea of ‘I put in effort, and Christ puts in his own effort, and together we conquer by our combined efforts.’ So I don’t really know how we should put things together here.

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  2. i’m not too fond of the picture of the shared yoke.

    i think this verse is one of the most compassionate sayings of jesus. here is a man who understands our loads and knows the cumulative weight of the sin of man. instead of condemnation, right before this verse, he says it is rest that he desires for us.

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    • When Scripture says yokefellow, it does refer instead to another who’s laboured with us in Christ rather than to Christ himself. The one who does appear to share a ‘yoke’ with Christ, ironically, is Simon of Cyrene, whom soldiers forced to help Jesus carry the cross to Golgotha.

      The proclamation of rest, though, is pretty amazing. We may hype ourselves into emotional fervour, but how can we hype ourselves into rest? On the eighth day, Christ creates a Sabbath-rest for the people of God in the midst of this present evil age.

      Still, I think it’s hard for many of us to imagine yokes and burdens as anything but unpleasant, and so to some of us this saying seems anticlimactic after we’ve heard, ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’

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