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"Insights" from the New Testament Greek

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 "Insights" from the New Testament Greek

By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida


  Jesus spoke to the multitudes in Matt. 11:28-30, saying: "Come unto me, all [ye] that labour 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."

  When we hear the English word "yoke" today, we most likely think of oxen, or other animals "yoked" or harnessed together to pull a load. But, the Greek word translated "yoke" in Matt. 11:29 & 30 (KJV), is "zugon", which simply means "joined", or "linked". In the ancient world, "zugon" had many meanings, and the context in which it was used determined the meaning.

  In the New Testament, we find at least four of the original meanings:

  In a context of slavery, it refers to one who is under the "bondage" of slavery, 1 Tim. 6:1. In a context of being "unnecessarily troubled", it is used of the "burden" of keeping the Old Testament Law, or the commandments and traditions of men, as opposed to the freedom we have in Christ, as in Gal. 5:1. In the context of measuring merchandise, "zugon" meant "measuring scales", in that they were "joined" on a balance beam, as in Rev. 6:5.

  In a context of "learning", and "increasing in knowledge", "zugon" meant to become "linked" to a "teacher" or "tutor", for the purpose of education. Of course, in the context of Matt. 11: 28-30, Jesus states the purpose of His "yoke" is to "learn". Jesus is stating for us to "get into His school" and learn from Him.

  In Matthew Chapter 11, Jesus is speaking to multitudes of people who are "heavily burdened" or "overloaded", but not listening to His words. Could we describe our day any more precisely? In Matt. 23:4, Jesus even chastised the Scribes and Pharisees for overloading the people with unnecessary religious burdens.

  Psa. 138:2 states that God has magnified His Word above His name. The Psalmist states in Psa. 119:97-100 that Godís Word has made him "wiser than his enemies", and given him "more understanding than all his teachers". What emphasis do you place on Godís Word? In this modern day, where education is touted to be the virtual cure for the worldís problems, we need to remember that secular education is temporary, but the "school of Jesus" is forever!

  What wonderful promises! The "school" of Jesus is not "natural", but "supernatural", and easy, and the "burden", or "normal load" that He requires of us is light! Please let God speak to you through these passages from Godís Word.

  Bob Jones