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The Carpenter's Trademark

Yes My yoke is easy, and My burden light
Matthew 11:25-30

Sermon Topic Yoke

Sermon Week Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 11:30


A preacher stood before the congregation and received the offerings at the conclusion of the collection. After staring forlornly into the basket, the preacher said to the gathering, "Our latest advertising campaign has been a great success. We have advertised that the poor would be welcome in this Church." Then, glancing once more into the nearly empty basket he added, "and obviously they are here today in large numbers!"

Advertising: every company or group that deals with the public wants to be recognized and remembered. Each may come up with a memorable slogan, or perhaps a celebrity endorsement. Sometimes a visual symbol captures the consumer's attention, a design or a trademark that will be unconsciously absorbed by the public.

For instance, what restaurant is brought to mind by golden arches? Whose tires do you think of when you see a certain blimp floating across the skyline? What entertainment empire is represented by a loveable mouse? What product is carried home in the rain by a little girl with an umbrella?

According to an old legend, in the years before he began His public ministry Jesus was renowned for His skill in making yokes and, so the story goes, a yoke hung over the door of Jesus' carpentry shop as a symbol of His expertise -- a trademark.

A yoke is a wooden bar which fits over the shoulders of a pair of animals and fastens under their necks to allow them to pull a wagon or a plow. In the First Century, a carpenter first hewed out the yoke in rough form and would finish the job by fitting it precisely to the beasts who would wear it. Obviously, a poorly made yoke would chafe and rub, but a well-fitted yoke would ride comfortably on the beast's neck and shoulders.

When Jesus says, "My yoke is easy," the words might also be translated, "My yoke fits well." One noted Scripture scholar supports the legend that those words might have been the advertising slogan of the family carpentry business that Jesus shared with His father, Joseph.

Whether or not there is [...]

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