The Yoke’s On You Matthew 11:28-30 -- By: Jim Shaddix

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 06:2 (Fall 2009)
Article: The Yoke’s On You Matthew 11:28-30
Author: Jim Shaddix

The Yoke’s On You
Matthew 11:28-30

Jim Shaddix

Dr. Shaddix is pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Denver, CO. He formerly served as Dean of the Chapel at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.


Have you ever had someone play a practical joke on you? I have a pretty good sense of humor and I love a good joke, but I hate it when the joke’s on me! Wednesday, March 15, 1995, was one of the biggest days of my life. I was voted on to the faculty of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary by the Board of Trustees. Being a seminary professor has been a dream of mine for many years. Finally, the realization of that dream came about. You can imagine the pressure I felt when, on Monday night of that week, I answered the phone at my house and the distinguished voice on the other end identified itself as belonging to one of the trustees. He said he wanted to ask me a few questions. I lost it! I asked him to hold while I changed phones. I dropped my little girl whom I had been holding. I screamed at my wife. My mouth went dry. Horrifying thoughts raced through my mind. What if I messed up? What if I answered incorrectly? What if I made a fool of myself? What if I didn’t measure up to his standards? I really was feeling the pressure! You can imagine how relieved I was when I returned to the phone and heard one of my colleagues snickering on the other end. He was just having a little fun, and the joke was on me!

On a more serious note, the devil seems to be the cosmic comedian of our day and the joke is on many of us. He is telling people they have to meet a certain standard in order to be accepted by God. He is saying we have to keep a bunch of rules and regulations in order to get into heaven. And, we really feel the pressure. To the heavy hearts of people feeling that kind of pressure, Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 11:28-30:

28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (NKJV).

He’s making the same call today: he invites you to accept him as the only way to know God instead of being the object of Satan’s joke by trying to measure up.

The “yoke” was part of the harness used to pull a cart, plow, or mill beam. It was the means by which the animals’ master kept them under control and guide...

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