I just returned from a week of vacation in Florida with my family. It was a wonderful time of rest and quality time together, and has me thinking about Sabbath. Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word sabat, which means “to rest or stop or cease from work.” God modeled it in the creation story, intertwined it throughout Old Testament law and even made it one of the Ten Commandments. Then Jesus comes along.
Jesus broke the rules, and violated the traditional practice of Sabbath more than once. Sometimes it was healing someone and sometimes it was just snacking on wheat while walking with his friends. This was the case in Mark 2, and when confronted by the Pharisees, Jesus makes an odd and revealing statement. “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath. For this reason the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus is slave to no law, and ironically is also the embodiment of the law. Jesus said that he came to fulfill the law. He embodies the heart behind it all, and offers himself to us all. Jesus is the law. Jesus is the Sabbath. Jesus is rest.
Hebrews 4 expands our understanding of Sabbath from one day a week to a way of life through Jesus. Jesus is the access and source of this rest, and he invites us to rest in Him as a way of life. Personally, I’d rather just have a rule to rest one day a week. Resting in Jesus every day, every minute, feels much more challenging. And yet way more desirable. I need Jesus. I need his rest. We need his rest.
ServLife’s leaders in India and Nepal understand this better than I do. They wrap their day in devotions, saturate it with prayer, cover it with worship and devote themselves to listening to Jesus in every moment. It is from this rest that they are able to work relentlessly to serve others. Sabbath marries service and gives birth to justice.
This rest and work and justice would not be possible without your partnership and investment. Thank you for helping to start churches in remote villages, for rescuing orphans and for empowering families on the brink of extreme poverty. You are bringing peace to pain and rest to chaos. Thank you.
May we experience true rest that can be found in Jesus alone. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” – Jesus