In Jeremiah 27, the LORD has Jeremiah use an object lesson for the nation of Judah and their neighbors. He has Jeremiah build a yoke and place it upon his neck as he prophesies. The lesson is this: any nation who does not accept the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, the LORD will punish. Yet, if they do accept the yoke, then he will bless them while they are under Babylonian rule. As I read this story and understood the lesson, I could not help but remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 11.28-30.
“ 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
A yoke is a symbol of submission and being under the control of the person who oversees the yoke. Although the yoke that Jeremiah is referring to is one that would be difficult to carry, it was still better than the alternative. In the account of Matthew, Jesus describes His yoke as one that is easy and light. The reason why it would be easier than the alternative is because of the one that we are yoked to, Jesus. As we place our lives under His yoke we are submitting to His will and allowing Him to direct our actions, our thoughts and motives. Having been yoked with Him, He also makes this easier knowing there is no way we would be able to carry it on our own. After all, Jesus isn’t asking us to do anything that He himself hasn’t already done.