THE KINGDOM OF THE PROMISED MESSIAH
In the Gospel, we must be careful to note what Jesus meant. He is very far from condemning intellectual power. What He condemns is intellectual pride. The Rabbis and the wise men rejected him while the simple people accepted him. The intellectuals had no use for him; but the humble welcomed him. It is the heart and not the head that is the home of the gospel. A man may be as wise as Solomon, but if he has no simplicity, trust and innocence of a childlike heart, he shuts himself out. In His prayer, Jesus reveals a great theological truth that had not been revealed before viz., He is the revelation of the Father; He and the Father are One. Notice that Jesus offers the Father a vocal prayer. We often focus on meditation and silent prayer and forget the necessity of vocal prayer. Vocal prayer was not only an essential element of liturgical life in the Synagogue and in Temple liturgy for the Old Covenant people of God, but an essential part of New Covenant Christian life, especially in the sacrifice of the Mass. This is not the first time Jesus prayed aloud to the Father. Jesus taught His disciples the great vocal prayer that unites us as children in the family of God, the Lord's Prayer (Mt 6:9-13). Jesus offers a vocal prayer at the Last Supper which is usually called Jesus' "High Priestly Prayer" (Jn 14-17; and He also speaks aloud His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane in His time of agony when His soul cries out to the Father.
It is Christian conviction that in Jesus Christ alone we see God. It is also Christian conviction that Jesus gives that knowledge to anyone who is humble and trustworthy to receive it. He spoke to men who were driven to weariness and despair with an invitation to take His yoke upon their shoulder. The imagery of the yoke was familiar to Jewish people viz., domesticated animals responding obediently or resisting the "yoke" of their master in disobedience. The Jews used the word “yoke” for compliance/obedience viz., the yoke of the Law, the yoke of the commandments, the yoke of the Kingdom and the yoke of God.
Jesus' invitation to "come" to Him is followed by His promise that those who comes to Him and obediently "wear His yoke" (follow His teachings) will have "rest"/fellowship/communion with God’s Son. Jesus' "yoke" is easy (verse 30) because it is His law of love and life in the Spirit through which we enter into the "rest" of His kingdom (Jn 13:34-35; 15:9-12).The "rest” Jesus promises is an allusion to the New Covenant Sabbath. It is an invitation that has a present and a future reality:
Present: The Eucharist that joins us to the life of Christ and gives us "rest" that is peace with God.
Future: At the end of our earthly lives, when we enter into our eternal "rest" in heaven.
How heavy is your Yoke? Are you willing to give it to Jesus?