I was waiting for a friend to get a taxi today out a "Jews for Jesus" store today. The store was well located if I do say so myself, it's right at the heart of the "Jewish district" here (you see HEAPS of men with their payots and/or kippahs walking around, not to mention a lot of grocery stores have "kosher" sections). Looking at the store got me to thinking about a passage in Matthew that I use to really enjoy. It was Matthew 11:28-30:
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
It's interesting that Jesus here doesn't say that there is no yoke and there is no burden, instead he says you them but they are easy, they are light. You are still owned and set to task by someone. You've switched slave owners. You can see that this concept was well understood by the writers of the various epistles in the NT as many begin their salutations referring to themselves as slaves (many translations preferring the terms servant/bond-servant) of Jesus Christ. For a Christian they see this as a distinction between being a slave to sin or a "slave" to Christ. Often times when you hear this passage exposited the preacher will quote "Sin will always take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you intended to pay". Yet Jesus is upheld as being a gentle taskmaster who will not even tempt you above what you are able (1st Corinthians 10:13).
Now for a Jewish person at the time Christianity must certainly have been a blessing. All the laws and regulations he had to uphold were swiped away. It would be a blessing to many Jews and Muslims today as well but it nevertheless is bondage. To the 'pagan' mind then and to our minds today, Christianity certainly is bondage and not a "light" one at that. I think the above quote would be more accurate if you replaced "sin" with "Christianity". Christianity is warped and I'm surprised it took me so long to realize it. Christianity is a burden, not the "godless" lifestyle. It's the one putting people in bondage while godlessness is what is setting the captives free. Christians paint Christianity's prison walls as "protective fences" and it takes a lot of someone to realize that they're not meant to protect us but to enslave us.
So, I look at this verse now which use to provide me comfort and now all it does is anger me and disgust me.