“This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” (2 Timothy 2:11-12 NKJV).
A call to be a disciple or a follower of Jesus Christ is essentially a call to be a yoke-fellow with Jesus Christ. Unlike the grievous yoke and heavy burden of Satan that was forced upon us from birth, the easy yoke and light burden of Jesus Christ is expected to be taking up willingly and joyfully by the believers.
The Lord Jesus will never force your neck under His yoke, for He is gentle and lowly in heart!
The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 11:
28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NKJV).
You are not yet a disciple of Christ until you deliberately, willingly and gladly yield your neck under His easy yoke and light burden.
While there are many believers in our churches today, yet only very few are true disciples of Christ because many believers are not willing to take upon them the yoke of Christ and so learn from Christ, follow and walk daily in the footsteps of Christ, and conform to Christ in suffering and death, if need be.
It is taking up the yoke of Christ deliberately, voluntarily and joyfully that distinguishes a disciple of Christ from a mere believer in Christ.
As discussed in the first part of this piece, a yoke is literally a horizontal wooden beam that is fastened over the necks of two animals. A pair of oxen yoked together walk and work closely together.
It is absolutely impossible to stay, walk and work in close fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ without being yoked together with Him.
The yoke of Christ is an emblem of Christ’s instructions and afflictions. It is a symbolic expression of an unreserved and absolute submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is a mindset to embrace and endure with joy any suffering or persecution that comes your way as you follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
You cannot be a close follower of Christ without submitting willingly, gladly and unreservedly to Christ’s teaching and authority, and without being prepared to embrace and endure suffering, tribulation, or persecution for Christ’s sake.
It is impossible to be a yoke-fellow with Christ and not share in the sufferings of Christ!
The Scripture emphatically states, “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” (Philip. 1:29 NKJV).
You take upon yourself the yoke of Christ the day you realize, understand, and acknowledge that Jesus is much more than a Saviour, a Healer, or a Miracle Worker, but that He is the Mighty God, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and so He deserves not just your praises for saving or healing you, but also your love, devotion and submission as your Lord, King and Master.
The Lord Jesus Christ desires that you voluntarily take His yoke upon you because He does not want your allegiance, submission, devotion, or obedience to Him to be out of compulsion or a mere sense of obligation, but rather out of pure love, gratitude, and admiration for Him.
When you voluntarily, willingly and gladly yield your neck under the yoke of Christ, there are great rewards or profits that will accrue to you here in this world and hereafter in heaven.
First, being a yoke-fellow with Christ gives you access to understanding the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said to His yoke-fellows, His disciples, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.” (Luke 8:10 NKJV).
It is only those who are yoked together with Christ and so learning from Him daily that can understand the deep things of God.
Yoke-fellows with Christ are the stewards of God’s mysteries. Paul, a yoke-fellow with Christ, said, “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” (1 Cor. 4:1 NKJV).
The Lord Jesus said to His yoke-fellows, “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.” (Matt. 10:27 NKJV).
There are some deep things of Christ you cannot hear, know, or understand unless you draw near to Christ to be a yoke-fellow with Him.
Many believers today are being exploited, manipulated and defrauded by spiritual marauders because of their spiritual ignorance and immaturity as a result of not yielding their necks under the yoke of Christ so that they may learn from Him, grow and mature in Him, and find the true rest for their souls that they are passionately seeking for in wrong people and places.
Second, being a yoke-fellow with Christ gives you boldness to wield the power and authority of Jesus Christ.
While all believers have been vested with the power and authority of Jesus Christ, it is only those who are yoked together with Christ and thus know Christ intimately that can wield or demonstrate His power and authority with boldness (Luke 10:19, 22:28-29).
Many believers today are running from one church to another and from one prophet to another as a result of fear of death and threat of their enemies simply because they are ignorant of their highly exalted spiritual position in Christ and the exceeding great power and authority of Christ that has been vested in them.
It takes being yoked together with Christ and thereby learning from Him and knowing Him intimately and increasingly to know and understand your new spiritual identity, status, position and authority in Christ Jesus, and thus prevail in spiritual warfare.
Third, being a yoke-fellow with Christ makes you a vessel of honour in God’s Kingdom. The Lord cannot work, flow or manifest mightily through you unless you are yoked together with Him.
The Scripture reports that the Lord Jesus worked mightily with and through His early disciples or yoke-fellows in Mark 16:
20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen. (NKJV).
Also in Acts 5:
12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.
13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.
14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women. (NKJV).
When it was time for the early disciples of Jesus to choose another believer to replace Judas Iscariot and take his apostleship, they only sought for a replacement among their yoke-fellows.
They proposed Barsabas and Matthias, saying, “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, “beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” (Acts 1:21-22 NKJV).
While our gifting and calling are “not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” (2 Tim. 1:9 NKJV), however, we would not be impactful and fruitful in our calling or ministries if we choose not to voluntarily yield our necks under the yoke of Christ, to learn from Him and walk in His footsteps.
The Lord Jesus warns in John 15:
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. (NKJV).
Being a yoke-fellow with Christ implies abiding in Christ, continuing in His teachings and walking in His footsteps. Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32 RSV).
Sadly, many believers today remain in bondage because they choose not to take upon them the yoke of Christ, to learn from Him and continue in His Word.
Lastly, the Lord Jesus Christ will honour and glorify His yoke-fellows when He returns to establish His physical Kingdom on earth.
Jesus assures His yoke-fellows, saying, “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” (John 12:26 NKJV).
“But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. “And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me.” (Luke 22:28-29 NKJV).
Beloved, if you willingly yield your neck under the yoke of Christ, thereby sharing in His sufferings, you will also share in His reign, glory and honour when He returns.
Apostle Paul attests to this truth in Romans 8:
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (NKJV).
But, if you evade taking upon you the yoke of Christ in this life and thus evade suffering or persecution for the sake of Christ, you will miss reigning with Christ in His glorious and everlasting Kingdom.
Apostle Paul affirms in 2 Timothy 2:
11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.
12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. (NKJV).
Apostle Peter also assures us in 1 Peter 4:
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. (NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, help me to begin to draw and appropriate divine grace and courage to live and walk as a yoke-fellow with Christ in this anti-Christ world, in Jesus’ name. Amen.