“a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear” Acts 15:10
Yoke – “and the truth shall set you free”. But not if you are shackled to a burdensome yoke. Peter uses the word zugos. The yoke is a restricting agent used to bind two things together so that neither one can act independently. Under the yoke, what one does, the other must do. Peter argues that the past religious rituals can no longer be required since they imposed a yoke that no one could bear. The Jerusalem church needed to do away with the requirement that a Christian must first be a circumcised, orthodox Jew. Such restrictions impeded the liberty Jesus brought.
We may have graduated from the school of circumcision, but we nevertheless carry yokes that we cannot bear. Jesus said that if we practice being his disciples, we will know the truth of dependent freedom. That means we will know what it means to depend exclusively and entirely on him, not on our manufactured yokes of right religious behavior. Jesus is not interested in making us better people. We are perfectly capable of doing that without him. Jesus is interested in holiness and that we cannot do alone. Yokes we carry binding us to things that prevent complete submission and dependence on him are simply too much to bear. They will wear us down, exhaust our commitment and drain our vitality. We may be religious, but we will not be freely dependent.
Are you carrying heavy yokes? Are you bound to some other person or provision that steers your commitment? Be careful with your answer. Are you yoked to your job? Does it steer you? What about your family expectations? Do they push you along? How about your church? Are you serving from joy or from obligation?
There is only one yoke that should direct your life. There is only one yoke that should steer you along the way. “Take my yoke upon you,” says Jesus. You are not free to throw off all the yokes. Your life still needs steering direction. The choice is which yoke you will carry. The truth will set you free to be dependently yoked to Jesus alone.