When Jesus stated that His yoke was and is easy what did He mean? Rob Bell the author of “Velvet Elvis” has something to say about this subject: “A rabbi’s set of rules and lists, which was really the rabbi’s interpretation of how to live the Torah, was called the rabbi’s yoke.” Jesus then is inviting His followers to take up His set of rules on how to live.
Jesus was much more than a rabbi, yet He was called one by His followers. The English equivalent of rabbi is teacher in the New Testament. We find the disciples and others, including Nicodemus, giving this title to Jesus. While Jesus was more than a human rabbi He related to the people on their own terms: in ways they could understand.
The people had been taught to observe a myriad of customs and rules in order to have the right “halak” or walk with God, but the other rabbis of Israel had made these rules difficult and they were often disconnected from the principles they were supposed to exemplify. Jesus’ yoke is easy. Not because we don’t have to do anything. The divine principles of God’s law require action on the part of any person, but the action is not aimless. In fact the actions that are anticipated by God’s law provide purposeful function. Resting on the Sabbath, was to be a blessing giving a person an opportunity to reflect on God’s creative and restorative power. God’s instructions regarding health were given to enoble the mind through the rejuvenation of the body.
Jesus wants us to take His yoke upon us. It does require that we walk with Him, but in the setting of this weary world it will be a welcomed pursuit to all those that abide in Him.