‘You will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ Matthew 11:29b,30
This passage hinges on a pun, a play upon words. For the word that is translated here as ‘message’, can also be translated as ‘burden’ (NRSV). This may serve to clarify this passage. For the people who came to Jeremiah with the question, ‘What is the message (burden) from the Lord?’ used this word to indicate that they found everything the Lord asked of them troublesome.
How many people view the word of God as a burden, as an obstacle to live a cheerful life! These people have never got to know the great mystery of the communion with God. They only look upon God as someone you should always reckon with, ‘You never know, just in case…’
To God - Who gave us His word as guidance to grant us real life - it must be horrible when we find His word a burden. Who feels like this has not let himself be taught by God’s Spirit, but by people who still live in the flesh.
Anyone who does not seek deliverance of this worldly teachings, will face a nasty future. For their own opinion of the word of God will judge them, says Jeremiah, ‘Because each one’s word becomes their own message (burden). That you distort the words of the living God!’
God told His people Israel, ‘Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you…’ (Deuteronomy 30:11). Jesus says that His burden - that He lays upon us - is light and His yoke is easy. But His yoke is only easy as long as we are willing to be led. When we resist, the yoke becomes a burden that we would like to shake off like a stubborn donkey.
But whoever is eager to be led by the Lord on his way through life, will find how much joy God’s word gives along the way.