The Yoke of Christ
Though the citizens of Galilee had observed Christ performing many mighty works, most of them were not moved to repentance (Matt. 11: 20ff). In spite of that spirit of rebellion, however, the Lord still invited them to:
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11: 28-30)
Of special interest in this marvelous invitation is that Master’s affirmation that His yoke is easy. The Greek term is chrestos, which in classical Greek denoted that which is "good for its purpose. It carries the idea of that which is “good, pleasant, kindly, easy (to wear).”
When employed in connection with the word “yoke,” it may suggest a yoke that fits well—one that is well adapted to its recipient.
By the use of such terminology, therefore, Christ may well have been suggesting that His religious system was perfectly adapted to fit the basic needs of the human family.
Christianity Meets The Need
All humans have certain intrinsic needs. Every human need is wonderfully supplied in that body of truth which Jesus Christ brought to this earth. Some of these are as follows.
Everyone needs to have a sense of human dignity or personal worth. Many today view themselves as virtually worthless. It is thus not surprising that suicide continues to be a leading cause of death—tenth overall in 2007.
The biblical revelation, though, gives man a sense of value. Humanity is the offspring of God, created in His image (Acts 17:29; Gen. 1:26). God is the Father of our spirits (Heb. 12:9). The entire creation was made for man (Heb. 2:6; cf. Psa. 8:4ff), and one soul is worth more than the whole material world (Matt. 16:26).
What a thrilling thought!
A Sense of Purpose
Man needs to know that there is purpose to his existence if he is to function above the animal level. Shakespeare asked: “What is a man, if his chief good, and market of his time, be but to sleep and feed? A beast—no more.”
Is there no design to human existence? Is there no goal to be sought?
Humanistic philosophers have consumed centuries attempting to answer this vital query, but they have miserably failed.
Christ came to show that man’s purpose and ultimate happiness is only to be found in serving God (cf., Isa. 43:7; Eccl. 12:13), and Christ is the means to that end (John 14:6).
No one can be totally happy who is completely dependent upon others. Man has an innate need to have his own responsibility. This is doubtless one reason why, from the very beginning, mankind was charged with the responsibility of working (Gen. 2:15).
What a joy it is, therefore, for the Christian to realize that he has been charged with the ultimate responsibility—that of laboring in the vineyard of the world’s Creator (Matt. 20:1; 21:28).
This is why the child of God can, with a sense of genuine satisfaction, be fulfilled no matter what is the nature of his lawful employment. He knows that really his service is to Christ (Eph. 6:5-8).
Responsibility, however, that is totally earth-oriented, which ignores God, is all vanity—as Solomon sadly discovered (Ecc!. 2:18-23).
Freedom From Guilt
All men have some sense of morality, and when they fail to measure up to that which they believe to be right, they feel guilt. Human guilt is real for all have sinned (Rom. 3:23).
How can one rid himself of guilt?
No matter how hard one may try, he can never undo his wrongs. One can only know true freedom from guilt, therefore, when he realizes that he has received genuine pardon from the moral ruler of the universe.
Through the faith system introduced by Christ (Gal. 3:26, 27), humanity can be justified and thus be at peace with God (Rom. 5:1).
People need to feel that they are accepted by others. Christians are assured that, as regenerated children of God, they are accepted by the Father (John 3:3-5), and hence, may with boldness, approach Him (Heb. 10: 19).
Moreover, in Christ one becomes part of a great family (cf. Mark 10:29, 30) wherein love and acceptance are shown on the basis of what Christ has done for us all (Eph. 4:32).
In the antique world of the Greeks and the Romans, hope was not a throbbing passion. The chorus of Sophocles lamented: “The highest remains, never to be brought to life.” Seneca felt that hope was “an uncertain good.”
In spite of such dreary attitudes, man is basically a being of hope. Even the renowned atheist Nietzsche, who taught that hope was the worst of evils, was hopeful that his philosophy would sensibly interpret the world!
Is there hope beyond the grave? An unbelieving world struggles ineffectively with such a vital question. But the Bible clearly deals with this issue.
For those outside of a relationship with Christ, there is no hope (1 Thess. 4:13). Only a “fearful expectation of judgment” awaits them (Heb. 9:27).
The Christian’s hope, on the other hand, is grounded in the work of the historical Christ (1 Tim. 1:1). No other religion in all of the world can offer the “hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised” (Tit. 1:2).
Yes, divinely designed Christianity fits all human needs. It is the remedy for man’s ills. It is the fulfillment of his dreams.
May we have the wisdom to apply it to our needs.