When Jesus’ Yoke Does NOT Feel Light

Didn’t Jesus promise us that His yoke would be easy, and the burden would be light?  We read the Bible, go to Church, Pray…..  So, why isn’t it easy? Instead, life is a constant up hill struggle. The burdens are so deep, so heavy, so unbearable at times we feel like we could just break under the pressure…..

When we think of Jesus being a carpenter, we might not always think of the functional items He must have made, such as yokes. Can you picture Him whittling away at the wood…

Imagine the Master of the Universe, first making the wood, later to Masterfully carve it … lifting His handiwork -made literally from scratch, showing them an object lesson they could never forget.

 “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)

Learn From Me

We don’t see these contraptions much today. Generally we think they are used to distribute the weight evenly between two oxen, but actually that was the opposite of what Jesus was communicating here!

This wooden crosspiece bound to the necks of a pair of oxen was also used as a way to train a younger oxen. Thus the “learn from me” has connotations of the younger ox yoked to an older stronger ox to teach it to walk in pace, with every step in obedience, listening to the farmer’s command.

The size of the hole for each ox was different. The older ox had a very tight constricting loop, snugly positioned to its neck to allow it to carry the brunt of the weight. While the the novice ox enjoyed less constriction, had room to move, but not escape. And by design not actually able to bear much of the burden at all.  The purpose of this training was simply for the younger ox learn to walk.

When tempted to stray off the path, the yoke would gently lead it back on track. Run ahead and the yoke would slow it down. Fall behind and the yoke would help it keep up.

What Is Our Part?

This should cause us to consider, what responsibilities should we own in our day to day struggles? Could it be that when we feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and life is a burden we simply can’t bear, it’s because we are trying to pull the weight of the older, stronger seasoned ox?

That weight was only ever intended for Jesus. HE is the stronger ox. There is NO weight He can’t pull.

Yet we catch ourselves just like the young ox trying to do life our own way only to find life strangling the life out of us… When we are tempted to veer off to the paths that look more inviting, more safe, more tolerable… the yoke will only let us go so far before it guides us back, possibly through uncomfortable circumstances.

Abiding in Christ, is to stay close to Him, Learn obedience from Him. Depend on Him. Walk with Him. Listening to the Father’s commands.

His pace is perfect, His path is True… we must surrender to it or we will never cease striving. When we surrender to this, we experience His peace.

What Yoke Are You Tied To?

We tend to tie ourselves to a yoke of performance, unforgiveness, bitterness, codependent relationships, idols, money, sin and shame -you name it, if it isn’t Jesus – your taking on the brunt of the weight.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Gal. 5:1

We have a tendency to yoke ourselves to unhealthy thoughts, beliefs, people and things. Also, we tend to gravitate toward the yoke of law keeping. We can check off our good behavior, boast that we’ve pulled our weight. Give ourselves a pat on the back.  As we pride ourselves in our own strength, God allows our lives to bear more and more of the weight that we claim we can handle.

.. it is good for people to submit at an early age

to the yoke of his discipline:(Lamentations 3:27)

It never impresses God to hear His children boast in how strong they are, how they are able to pull up their boot straps and move along. As His children He want’s us completely dependent on His strength, so we can have His peace.

Resist His yoke and you end up feeling defeated, deflated, depressed, discouraged and eventually disabled… not able to pull anything, maybe not even yourself out of bed each morning.


Lordship is not just about having Jesus as your Lord, it’s about letting Him lead, letting Him bear the burdens and weight we were never able or created to carry. It’s about trusting where He’s leading and guiding, and following in His ways.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33)

Notice He doesn’t promise life will be weight-less but you can be certain if you’re weary -His yoke will weigh less than the one your currently bearing.

Songs To PRAY

Strong Enough… Matthew West

Near To Me.. I Am They

Lay This Burden Down..


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7 Replies to “When Jesus’ Yoke Does NOT Feel Light”

    1. Thanks Anna! I started to think after I wrote this about how when another person is leaning on you to be their strength and pull their weight.How stressful that can be. We were never intended to be someone else’s strength either! We need to point them to Jesus.

  1. I need this kind of encouragement! I feel so frustrated thinking that I can’t even bear my own weight when my heart yearns to be of greater service to our Lord! It’s hard to be in the position of the younger ox!

  2. This was beautifully written, Jennifer. I did not know all this about yokes. The descriptive information brings much more clarity to the scripture verses. Thank you.

  3. This was beautifully written, Jennifer. Thank you. I did not know all this about a yoke and it’s purpose. Your descriptive information brought much more clarity to the scripture verses.

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