I wrote the following during a time when I suffered greatly because of how hurtfully I had been treated by a person who used to be a friend.
In my time with Jesus, I drew close to him by picturing myself in his presence at a time when he was living among us on the earth. His love became real in the closeness I experienced.

Would you like to join me? Put yourself in this story.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Long ago, when I was a new believer, these were some of my favourite verses in the Bible. It seemed like they were written especially for me. Later I learned that Jesus had been talking to Jews who had been under oppression from the Pharisees, the religious leaders at the time. Nevertheless, this invitation from Jesus was one I personally wanted to respond to. I longed to come to Jesus, to His gentle and humble heart. I needed His love.

As I prepared this devotional for you I considered how it would have been if Jesus had spoken these words to us directly. What if He were to invite you and me for dinner so that He could personally tell us what He is offering? Of course, the setting for this Scripture was not truly a dinner, nor are we under the rule of oppressive religious leaders. However, I think if we imagine it, we might capture how very special this invitation might be for us.

What makes me appreciate this Scripture so much is because I know it comes from Jesus, the compassionate rabbi with the radical teachings. So when a dinner invitation comes from Him it’s a pretty special opportunity. This will be an evening to look forward to.

As we sit down to the table and start eating and drinking, Jesus speaks these tender words: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened…” Right away I, for one, think to myself, “He understands me!” Continuing on, He tells us how He knows about our hard times and how we need peace. He offers release from our many burdens: our anxieties, heavy responsibilities, feelings of meaninglessness. He expresses His concern for us.

Our host tells us He has a way of living and worshiping that’s different from what the Pharisees have demanded. Under their leadership with its man-made rules and regulations, the true meaning of God’s law had become lost. But Jesus tells us we no longer need to be yoked to the Pharisees in the way a pair of oxen might be yoked together as they pull their heavy loads. The Pharisees’ yokes were burdensome and a struggle to carry.

Jesus tells us there is a better way. He invites us to take on His yoke, to join together with Him, yielding to Him and learning from Him as He leads. We will find rest because Jesus’ yoke fits well and He will be our partner. He walks beside us, helping us carry the load.

Jesus’ way offers relief from oppressive religious rule. He is not at all like the proud, arrogant Pharisees. Life with Him promises to be meaningful and fulfilling. He teaches what God and His laws are truly like. Jesus is humble and, as He talks, His love for us becomes obvious.

As we finish the meal, we savor the time we have left together. We discover the blessings and joy of being with Jesus. Our journey as a follower of Christ has begun. Soon, little by little, we will learn to be more like Him. Our lives will change. We will find ourselves transformed.