"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)
How will Jesus 'give you rest'?Jesus is speaking to his followers and potential followers. "I will give you rest" means he is offering his followers refuge from the storm of material existence.
God's representative offers shelter for those of us who have grown weary of battling the complications of the material world. The Supreme Being is our ultimate refuge and God's representative provides that on behalf of the Supreme Being.
Now what is this shelter? As Jesus clarifies here, the refuge comes in the form of his teachings. Jesus clearly says “take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” This clearly communicates that the "yoke" or shelter Jesus is offering lies within his teachings.
Which teachings provide refuge?All of his teachings provide refuge, but there is one that Jesus emphasized:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)Jesus' teachings are to love and serve God. To do God’s will. To praise the Supreme Being and think about God. To give our lives to the Supreme Being. This 'first and greatest' teaching of Jesus provides the “yoke” that Jesus wants his students and disciples to come within.
It is because within love for the Supreme Being comes a relationship: A relationship with God. This relationship provides us with shelter. This relationship provides protection.
Notice also that Jesus describes himself as being gentle and humble in heart. While Jesus at times was critical of those who are offending the Supreme Being and His messengers, it is clear from this statement that Jesus sees himself as primarily a humble loving servant of God.
Was Jesus a servant of God?Some might say that being God's servant is not enough for Jesus. They would like to promote him to a higher level. But Jesus says being a servant is the highest level:
"The greatest among you will be your servant." (Matt. 23:11)As a surrendered loving servant of God, Jesus carries with him the Supreme Being’s compassion and the Supreme Being>’s love for each of us. Thus Jesus has become the Supreme Being>’s vessel of love and mercy. For this reason, this "yoke" that Jesus is offering is also full of God's love, kindness, and compassion.
Many do not appreciate this loving personal relationship between Jesus and the Supreme Being, and thus they do not have this "yoke" or shelter given by Jesus. Why not? Because they have not carefully studied Jesus' teachings.
Instead of seeing Jesus' life as one of loving service to God, they have translated Jesus' life and sacrifices through a self-centered lens. They believe that Jesus' sacrifice was all about themselves. It was all about saving me.
Such a consciousness is the polar opposite of Jesus' teachings - and the refuge being offered by Jesus within those teachings: Selfless love for the Supreme Being. Caring about the Supreme Being and others more than we care for ourselves.
This why the greatest teaching of love of God says, with all your heart.