Matthew 11:30
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
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My yoke is easy ... - That is, the services that I shall require are easily rendered. They are not burdensome, like all other systems of religion. So the Christian always finds them. In coming to him there is "a peace which passeth all understanding;" in believing in him, "joy;" in following him "through evil and good report," a comfort "which the world giveth not;" in bearing trials and in persecution, "the hope of glory;" and in keeping his commandments, great reward.

Remarks On Matthew 11

1. A spirit of inquiry about the person and works of Christ is especially proper, Matthew 11:2-3. John was solicitous to ascertain his true character, and nothing is of more importance for all than to understand his true character. Upon him depends all the hope that man has of happiness beyond the grave. He saves, or man must perish. "He" will save, or we must die forever. With what earnestness, therefore, should the old and the young inquire into his character. Our eternal all demands it; and while this is delayed, we are endangering our everlasting felicity.

2. Clear proof has been furnished that Jesus is the Christ and can save us, Matthew 11:4-5. If his miracles did not prove that he came from God, nothing can prove it. If he could open the eyes of the blind, then he can enlighten the sinner; if he could unstop the ears of the deaf, then he can cause us to hear and live; if he could heal the sick, and make the lame walk, then he can heal our spiritual maladies, and make us walk in the way of life; if he could raise the dead, then he can raise those dead in sin, and breathe into us the breath of eternal life. If he was willing to do all this for the body which is soon to perish, then he will be much more willing to do it for the soul, that never dies. Then the poor, lost sinner may come and live.

3. We see in this chapter Christ's manner of praising or complimenting men, Matthew 11:7-15. He gave, in no measured terms, his exalted opinion of John - gave him praise which had been bestowed on no other mortal ranked him far above the purest and sublimest of the prophets. But this was not done in the presence of John, "nor was it done in the presence of those who would inform John of it." It was when the disciples of John had "departed," and his commendation of John was spoken to "the multitude," Matthew 11:7. He waited until his disciples were gone, apprehending, doubtless, that they would be likely to report what he said in praise of their master, and then expressed his high opinion of his character. The practice of the world is to praise others to their faces, or in the presence of those who will be sure to inform them of it, and to speak evil of them when absent. Jesus delivered his unfavorable opinions of others to the people themselves; their excellences he took pains to commend where they would not be likely to hear of them. He did good to both, and in both prevented the existence of pride.

4. The wicked take much pains, and are often fickle and inconsistent, for the sake of abusing and calumniating religious people, Matthew 11:18-19. They found much fault with the Saviour for doing the very same thing which they blamed John for not doing. So it is commonly with people who slander professors of religion. They risk their own characters, to prove that others are hypocrites or sinners. The object is not truth, but calumny and opposition to religion; and hitherto no means have been too base or too wicked to pour contempt on the followers of Christ.

5. The purest characters may expect the shaft of calumny and malice, and often in proportion to their purity, Matthew 11:19. Even the Saviour of the world was accused of being intemperate and a glutton. If the only perfectly pure being that ever trod the earth was thus accused, let not his followers think that any strange thing has happened to them if they are falsely accused.

6. Judgments will overtake guilty people, and cities, and nations, Matthew 11:21-22. They fell on Sodom, Tyre, Sidon, and Capernaum. They may long linger; but in due time the hand of God will fall on the wicked, and they will die - forever die.

7. The wicked will suffer in proportion to their privileges, Matthew 11:23-24. So it was with Capernaum. And if they of ancient days suffered thus; if more tremendous judgments fell on them than even on guilty Sodom, what shall be the doom of those who go down to hell from this day of light? The Saviour was indeed there a few days; he worked a few miracles; but they had not, as we have, all his instructions; they had not Sunday schools, and Bible classes, and the stated preaching of the gospel, nor was the world blessed then, as now, with extensive and powerful revivals of religion. How awful must be the doom of those who are educated in the ways of religion - who are instructed from Sabbath to Sabbath - who grow up amid the means of grace - and then are lost!

8. The poor and needy; the weary and heavy-ladened; the soul sick of sin and of the world; the sinner conscious of guilt and afraid to die, may come to Jesus Christ and live, Matthew 11:28-30. The invitation is wide as the world. The child and the old man may seek and find salvation at the feet of the same Saviour. No child is too young; no man is too old: no one is too great a sinner. Christ is "full" of mercy, and all who come shall find peace. O how should we, in this sinful and miserable world, borne down with sin, and exposed each moment to death - how should we come and find the peace which he has promised to all, and take the yoke which all have found to be light!

For my yoke is easy - My Gospel imposes nothing that is difficult; on the contrary, it provides for the complete removal of all that which oppresses and renders man miserable, viz. sin. The commandments of Christ are not grievous. Hear the whole: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself. Can any thing be more congenial to the nature of man than love? - such a love as is inspired by God, and in which the soul rests supremely satisfied and infinitely happy? Taste, and know, by experience, how good the Lord is, and how worthy his yoke is to be taken, borne, and loved. This most tender invitation of the compassionate Jesus is sufficient to inspire the most diffident soul with confidence. See on Mark 8:34 (note).

Creeshna, the incarnate God of the Hindoos, is represented in the Geeta addressing one of his beloved disciples thus: "I am the creator of all things, and all things proceed from me. Those who are endued with spiritual wisdom, believe this, and worship me: their very hearts and minds are in me; they rejoice among themselves, and delight in speaking of my name, and teaching one another my doctrine. I gladly inspire those who are constantly employed in my service with that use of reason by which they come unto me; and, in compassion, I stand in my own nature, and dissipate the darkness of their ignorance with the light of the lamp of wisdom." Bhagvat Geeta, p. 84.

The word עול aval, among the Jews, which we properly enough translate yoke, signified not only that sort of neck-harness by which bullocks drew in wagons, carts, or in the plough; but also any kind of bond, or obligation, to do some particular thing, or to do some particular work. By them it is applied to the following things: -

1. The yoke of the Kingdom of heaven, עול מלכות השמים obedience to the revealed will of God.

2. The yoke of the Law, עול הורה the necessity of obeying all the rites, ceremonies, etc., of the Mosaic institution.

3. The yoke of the Precept, עול מצוה the necessity of performing that particular obligation by which any person had bound himself, such as that of the Nazarite, etc.

4. The yoke of Repentance, עול של השוכה without which, they knew, they could not enter into the kingdom of heaven. With the Jews, repentance not only implied forsaking sin, but fasting, mortification, etc.

5. The yoke of Faith, עול אמונה the necessity of believing in the promised Messiah.

6. The Divine yoke, עול רלעילא the obligation to live a spiritual life; a life of thanksgiving and gratitude unto God.

In Shemoth Rabba it is said: "Because the ten tribes did not take the yoke of the holy and blessed God upon them, therefore Sennacherib led them into captivity."

Christ's yoke means, the obligation to receive him as the Messiah, to believe his doctrine, and to be in all things conformed to his Word and to his Spirit.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Christ calls a profession of faith in him, and subjection to his ordinances, a yoke, in allusion to the law of Moses, and in distinction from it; and a "burden", with respect to the very heavy ones the Scribes and Pharisees laid upon the shoulders of the people, obliging them to a strict observance of them; though of a different nature from either of them; "for his commandments are not grievous", hard and heavy to be borne, as their's were, but "easy and light": not that they are so to unregenerate men, or are easily performed by the strength of nature, and power of men's free will: but they are good and amiable, and lovely in their own nature, and are cheerfully complied with, and abundance of spiritual pleasure and delight is enjoyed in them by believers, when they have the presence of God, the assistance of his Spirit, and the discoveries of his love. Moreover, the commands of Christ, and the ordinances of the Gospel, are so in comparison of the law of Moses; which required perfect obedience, but gave no strength to perform, and threatened with condemnation and death, in case of the least failure; and of the numerous, and some very severe rites and usages of the ceremonial law; and of the bulky and heavy traditions of the elders, and ordinances of men. For my yoke is {k} easy, and my burden is light.

(k) May easily be carried. For his commandments are not grievous, for all who are born of God overcome the world; 1Jo 5:4.

30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light—Matchless paradox, even among the paradoxically couched maxims in which our Lord delights! That rest which the soul experiences when once safe under Christ's wing makes all yokes easy, all burdens light. 11:25-30 It becomes children to be grateful. When we come to God as a Father, we must remember that he is Lord of heaven and earth, which obliges us to come to him with reverence as to the sovereign Lord of all; yet with confidence, as one able to defend us from evil, and to supply us with all good. Our blessed Lord added a remarkable declaration, that the Father had delivered into his hands all power, authority, and judgment. We are indebted to Christ for all the revelation we have of God the Father's will and love, ever since Adam sinned. Our Saviour has invited all that labour and are heavy-laden, to come unto him. In some senses all men are so. Worldly men burden themselves with fruitless cares for wealth and honours; the gay and the sensual labour in pursuit of pleasures; the slave of Satan and his own lusts, is the merest drudge on earth. Those who labour to establish their own righteousness also labour in vain. The convinced sinner is heavy-laden with guilt and terror; and the tempted and afflicted believer has labours and burdens. Christ invites all to come to him for rest to their souls. He alone gives this invitation; men come to him, when, feeling their guilt and misery, and believing his love and power to help, they seek him in fervent prayer. Thus it is the duty and interest of weary and heavy-laden sinners, to come to Jesus Christ. This is the gospel call; Whoever will, let him come. All who thus come will receive rest as Christ's gift, and obtain peace and comfort in their hearts. But in coming to him they must take his yoke, and submit to his authority. They must learn of him all things, as to their comfort and obedience. He accepts the willing servant, however imperfect the services. Here we may find rest for our souls, and here only. Nor need we fear his yoke. His commandments are holy, just, and good. It requires self-denial, and exposes to difficulties, but this is abundantly repaid, even in this world, by inward peace and joy. It is a yoke that is lined with love. So powerful are the assistances he gives us, so suitable the encouragements, and so strong the consolations to be found in the way of duty, that we may truly say, it is a yoke of pleasantness. The way of duty is the way of rest. The truths Christ teaches are such as we may venture our souls upon. Such is the Redeemer's mercy; and why should the labouring and burdened sinner seek for rest from any other quarter? Let us come to him daily, for deliverance from wrath and guilt, from sin and Satan, from all our cares, fears, and sorrows. But forced obedience, far from being easy and light, is a heavy burden. In vain do we draw near to Jesus with our lips, while the heart is far from him. Then come to Jesus to find rest for your souls. 11:30 For my yoke is easy. The yoke that sin imposes is heavy, and bearing it brings no rest. So, too, the yoke of false or corrupted religion is burdensome; but Christ's yoke is easy. It is not hard to bear it because it is borne in love.

My burden is light. His burden, even if it be the cross, is light, because he helps us to bear it. Note: That one rejecting Christ in the midst of light is worse than a heathen. Christ graciously invites all to come to him. He is the rest of the soul.

Verse 30. - For. The fact of my giving work will not prevent this rest, but the contrary. My yoke is easy (χρηστός); suave, Latin; "sore" (Wickliffe); "sweete" (Rheims). And so are God's judgments (Psalm 119:39, ' Psalms of Solomon,' 8:38). Contrast Ecclus. 28:19, 20. And my burden is light. For "his commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3). "Omnia levis suut caritati" (Augustine, in Meyer).

my yoke.

Proverbs 3:17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require …

Acts 15:10,28 Now therefore why tempt you God, to put a yoke on the neck of the …

Galatians 5:1,18 Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us …

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his …


John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. …

2 Corinthians 1:4,5 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort …

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us …

2 Corinthians 12:9,10 And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength …

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

Easy (χρηστὸς)

Not a satisfactory rendering. Christ's yoke is not easy in the ordinary sense of that word. The word means originally, good, serviceable. The kindred noun, χρηστότης, occurring only in Paul's writings, is rendered kindness in 2 Corinthians 6:6; Titus 3:4; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 2:7 (Rev.), and goodness, Romans 2:4 (Rev.). At Luke 5:39, it is used of old wine, where the true reading, instead of better, is good (χρηστός), mellowed with age. Plato ("Republic," 424) applies the word to education. "Good nurture and education (τροφὴ γὰρ καὶ παίδευσις χρηστὴ) implant good (ἀγαθὰς) constitutions; and these good (χρησταὶ) constitutions improve more and more;" thus evidently using χρηστός and ἀγαθός as synonymous. The three meanings combine in the word, though it is impossible to find an English word which combines them all. Christ's yoke is wholesome, serviceable, kindly. "Christ's yoke is like feathers to a bird; not loads, but helps to motion" (Jeremy Taylor).

11:30 For my yoke is easy - Or rather gracious, sweet, benign, delightful: and my burden - Contrary to those of men, is ease, liberty, and honour.
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