Matthew 11:28-30

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.




Jesus’ invitation is an intimate one. ‘Come to Me,’ He says. Unless someone knows another person well, we are more likely to say, ‘Come here.’ But Jesus invites everyone to go to Him personally like a close friend might do. He reveals Himself as our personal Saviour with this simple invitation, and sums up His nature when He describes Himself as gentle and lowly in heart. He had a servant’s heart and offered to bear the burdens people were carrying in partnership with them.

Jesus spoke to people who were exhausted as they tried to keep all the laws their rabbis laid upon them. The Jewish law took a huge toll on people who tried to live by it for there were 613 precepts to keep. And each of these laws was expanded by details of how they were to be kept. It was a heavy burden.

Jesus also called to those who were trying to be self-sufficient, relying on their own strength; and to those who were carrying the burden of trying to live up to the expectations and demands of others. Never ending demands were put on the people (and still are) and it was draining them of energy and even the desire to seek God and the truth.

When a farmer was training a young ox to pull the plough, he would yoke him to a mature animal who ‘knew the ropes’. The two were yoked so closely together the youngster could only work with its stronger, more experienced guide. As long as the smaller animal did not rebel against the yoke they shared, the mature animal would do most of the work; whilst the younger one would walk alongside and learn and grow. This guidance is what Jesus is offering all those who will come to Him and accept His yoke. The yoke Jesus offered was not a heavy one in which those who accepted His invitation would end up being bound, but rather one in which He would be very close, alongside, every step of the way.

The word ‘easy’ in Greek can mean well-fitting. The ox which would wear the yoke was carefully measured. From these measurements a rough yoke was carved. It was fitted on the animal and adjustments were made. The end result was a yoke that was tailor-made which was comfortable to wear and would not rub or hurt in any way.

Jesus was illustrating to His listeners that the life to which He was inviting them would not be a burden but tailor-made to fit them exactly. Any ‘burden’ which is given and borne in love is no burden at all. So they would discover rest for their souls – deep, refreshing rest which the world cannot offer. Only Jesus can offer us this. ‘Come to Me.’

When you had to learn a new skill who is the one person who was the greatest help to you? How did you feel when you spent time with that person? Briefly share how they helped you and what they came to mean to you.


  • How do you feel when you hear Jesus say to you ‘Come to Me’?
  • What burden/s would you name that you are carrying at this time? How are you coping?
  • Are you prepared to open Jesus’ invitation to you today? If not, share with the group what is holding you back. Encourage one another, and briefly share stories of how Jesus’ presence helped you so those who may be reluctant know He can be trusted in all things.
  • Spend some time in silence and consider how it is/would be different if you responded to Jesus’ invitation and took His yoke upon you – so He carries the heavy part of those burdens you have named. After a while share how the concept of being in partnership with Him makes you feel.
  • Where do you find rest for your soul at this stage in your life? What does it look like, feel like? How does Jesus give you rest?
  • What part does Jesus have in helping you to carry your burdens? Do you include Him in everything, or has life got in the way? Are you struggling on alone, or is He helping you moment to moment?


Spend some time in silent prayer now, responding to Jesus’ invitation. Whether you leave the invitation unopened, or your response is acceptance or refusal, listen for His reply to you. Share this with the group as far as you feel able.

  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?

Now pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussiontime, and in regard to other needs of the group.


During the week, as you walk closely with Jesus, ask Him to show you how you can use your partnership with Him to help those around you and to do His will. What difference does His presence make? Allocate time next week to report back briefly.


Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of Matthew Volume 2. The Saint Andrew Press, 1993

Matthew Chapter 11

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