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For my yoke is kind, and my burden is light.” Bible

“kind.” The Greek word is the adjective chrestos (#5543 χρηστός), and it means “kind” (the noun form is chrestotes (#5544 χρηστότης), which in Galatians 5:22 is the fruit of the spirit, “kindness”). Christ’s yoke is “kind” (chrestotes, not “easy” as many translations have), because there is nothing harsh, sharp, or galling about it. You can put on Christ’s yoke without worrying about getting painful blisters, splinters, etc.

“light.” The load that Jesus asks us to carry is “light,” not heavy, but it is still a “load” we must make up our minds to carry. But sometimes the loads of life are not light at all, but very heavy, even for the most faithful believers, so how can it be that Jesus says his load is “light.” The load that Jesus asks us to carry is always light. It includes things like trust and obedience, and it lightens the heart and rests the soul. The confusion that many people have over this verse is they think that any burden we have in our lives is part of the yoke of Christ, but that is not true.

A person who believes God controls everything that happens in this world has trouble understanding the words of Jesus. If God is in control of the world and everything that happens is His will, then the burdens we carry are all due to the will of God and are all part of the yoke of Christ. But those burdens are often very heavy, so why did Jesus say his yoke was “light?” The truth is that God is not in control of everything that happens in our lives or in the world around us. The world is a battleground, where the forces of Good fight the forces of Evil. The Adversary is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4) and “the whole world lies in the power of the Wicked One” (1 John 5:19). Satanic forces and evil people can make life very hard to bear. Also, the earth is a fallen world. Hunger, poverty, deterioration, and aging, are a part of the curse on the world. Added to that, we humans have freedom of will and make stupid decisions that cause problems for ourselves and others. None of these things are part of the yoke of Christ, even though we have to bear them and they make life difficult.

Jesus said his yoke was gentle and the load was light, and that is true of the yoke of Christ. As for the yoke that is put upon us by the Fallen World, thankfully, Isaiah foretold that when the Messiah came in his kingdom, which is still future, he would shatter the yoke that burdens people (Isa. 9:4). That is a wonderful hope to look forward to.


Commentary for: Matthew 11:30