Pastor Jerry was reading from Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
When our Pastor ministers at the pulpit, he wears a robe and stole most of the year except in the summer when it is too warm.
He recalled that in June of 1978 at the time of his ordination, hands were laid on his head and a stole was placed around his shoulders.
Why the stole?
In tradition the stole represents the “Yoke of Christ,” and the responsibility of the ministry.
The old time Calvinist ministers protested anything ordinate that would distract from the message. A Black gown might be worn to signify education, and was to de-emphasize fashion, so the focus would be on the Word of God.
The Pastor noted when reading this passage of Scripture to read the before and the after regarding the yoke. Jesus promised comfort when coming to Him and rest from heavy burdens. Yes take the YOKE, but understand His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
The Yoke was a symbol of discipleship to hook up with Jesus and realize we are not alone, and He has also given us Spiritual tools to use.
Pastor gave an example of a man cutting down a tree using a fireman’s axe which has a blunt blade for working with fires. His neighbor said, “You are using the wrong type of tool. Here try my axe and it will surprise you how quickly the tree will come down.”
If Jesus were here today, he would use technology but he would continue to tell stories about mustard seed faith, lost sheep, wayward sons, fig trees, and moving mountains.
The yoke used for animals needed two animals for it to become easy. One would struggle, strain and pull with great difficulty and not accomplish the task. Two in the yoke, the movement would then flow smooth and life would become easy to endure.
Often we are under stress and even depression with relationships, jobs, health and life in general. We work harder, multi-task, try to get it done.
To labor calls for the idea of work to exhaustion, being a heavy load of responsibility.
Many try to work out their salvation and earn God’s favor – forgetting that Jesus has offered redemption as a free gift.
Then we realize we cannot reach God’s perfection on our own. With the Yoke of Christ we can meet God’s standard, as we allow His yoke to be placed upon our shoulders, and his hands of anointing placed upon our head.
Some say, “Come to this idol, come to this god or follow this person." In contrast to other religions, there is only ONE way to God and that is through Jesus, for He is the only door to heaven.
It is a cooperative effort to yoke up with Jesus. This is the rest and the refreshing.
The yokes of this world are heavy, but the yoke of Christ is easy.