Luke uniquely said that the Lord, not Jesus, answered this synagogue leader (ἀπεκρίθη δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Κύριος). He called them hypocrites (καὶ εἶπεν Ὑποκριταί) in the second person plural. He asked each of them (ἕκαστος ὑμῶν) whether they had untied their ox (οὐ λύει τὸν βοῦν αὐτοῦ) or donkey (ἢ τὸν ὄνον) from the stall or manger (ἀπὸ τῆς φάτνης) and led them away (καὶ ἀπαγαγὼν) to give them water (ποτίζει) on the Sabbath (τῷ σαββάτῳ)? Despite the sacredness of the Sabbath, they took care of their farm animals by providing water for them, as Jesus questioned how they handled their animals on the Sabbath. What are you Sabbath practices?
Matthew concluded this chapter with a unique saying of Jesus. Jesus wanted his followers to pick up the yoke of his message. A yoke was put on the shoulders of farm animals to help with plowing and planting. The term was also used to represent the yoke of the Torah on the shoulders of many Israelites. Jesus invited all those who were growing weary to come to him (Δεῦτε πρός με πάντες οἱ κοπιῶντες). He wanted all those with a heavy burden (καὶ πεφορτισμένοι), so that he might give them rest (κἀγὼ ἀναπαύσω ὑμᾶς). They were to take his yoke (ἄρατε τὸν ζυγόν μου ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς) and learn from him (καὶ μάθετε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ). He was gentle and lowly in heart (ὅτι πραΰς εἰμι καὶ ταπεινὸς τῇ καρδίᾳ). They would find rest for their souls (καὶ εὑρήσετε ἀνάπαυσιν ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὑμῶν) because his yoke was easy (ὁ γὰρ ζυγός μου χρηστὸς) and his burden light (καὶ τὸ φορτίον μου ἐλαφρόν ἐστιν). The yoke of Jesus was light in comparison to the yoke of the Torah.
The devastation of the grasshopper locust plague has left seeds shriveled up. The storehouses and granaries are ruined and desolate. The grain harvests have all failed. The farm animals groan. The cattle herds wander around looking for a grass pasture. They and the flocks of sheep are perplexed and dismayed. Both humans and animals lack food.
“You shall not watch your neighbor’s ox or sheep straying away and ignore them. You shall take them back to their owner. If the owner does not reside near you or you do not know who the owner is, you shall bring it to your house. It shall remain with you until the owner claims it. Then you shall return it. You shall do the same with a neighbor’s donkey. You shall do the same with a neighbor’s garment. You shall do the same with anything else that your neighbor loses and you find. You may not withhold your help. You shall not see your neighbor’s donkey or ox fallen on the road and ignore it. You shall help to lift it up.”
You have to help your neighbor with everything that goes wrong. If an ox or a donkey is lost, bring it home until the owner comes to claim it. Anything your find, try to find the owner. Help your neighbor. You cannot ignore the problems of others