Jesus is unmistakably identifying Himself as Yahweh, the Lord of the Sabbath. This implies that He’s the One who gave it and defines how it’s kept. It is His rest. He gives it it’s fullest meaning and is the One calling our hearts into the weekly rhythm of Sabbath rest, because…
Jesus is the One Who Gives and Defines Rest.
It’s like when you get a product from a manufacturer and it comes with instructions. They gave the product and define for you how it can be best experienced.
Jesus is the One who gives us the rest our hearts yearn for. He says, “Come to Me, all you 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.” Matthew 11:28-29. When Jesus says in this verse that He “will give you rest”, the word there for “rest”, in Greek, is Sabbath. I believe that Jesus is making a critical connection for us here! He’s saying that in order for you to be able to fully enter into His weekly seventh-day rest, you need to find your soul rest in Him everyday!
Jesus not only taught but modeled, by His own life, what keeping the Sabbath looks like. He said to the religious leaders that were making the Sabbath a burden,
“…it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:12. In the context of this verse, Jesus often did good on the Sabbath by meeting peoples needs, healing them, uplifting them and making them whole.
Jesus also faithfully attended the weekly Sabbath worship gathering as it says in Luke 4:16, “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.” Luke 4:16. Now if Jesus faithfully participated in the weekly Sabbath worship gathering, and one claims to be a follower of Jesus, how can we not do the same? Jesus says, “Follow My lead and enter My rest.”
Friends, if you are looking for that deeper rest that your heart has been longing for, you need to look no further than Jesus. He is the One who gives you rest, He defines rest for you, for He is your rest!
You see, the weekly seventh-day Sabbath experience is pointing to a deeper rest that was accomplished for us in Jesus.
The weekly Sabbath is a gift of grace for all that reminds us that Our Creator is our Savior, the One who makes us holy, and is the One who gives and defines rest through Jesus Christ. You see, what it is, at it’s core, is a weekly illustration of the gospel! For 4000 years after the first “Good Friday” of creation, Jesus suffered the full weight of our sin on another Friday. And just as He rested from His finished work of creation, on this second “Good Friday”, Jesus once again declares, while hanging on the cross, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:30. What was finished? Finished was His work of paying the full penalty of your sin, making you right with God, justifying you be His shed blood, giving you complete forgiveness and securing your salvation as a free gift. Here at the cross is the clearest, most vivid revelation of the love of God for you! And now He calls to your heart to enter into the rest of His finished work of securing your salvation. You can’t add anything to it. You make no contribution to it. Just receive it by faith and enjoy it for what it is… a gift of grace. Rest from any anxiety about being right with God, rest from any fear of condemnation and be free from guilt and shame. Come and enter His rest.
As with every truth of the Bible, the Sabbath finds its fullest meaning in Jesus and the cross. Some of you may will need to reevaluate your experience with the Sabbath. And some of you will enter into this experience for the first time. Some of us have the right day, but the wrong experience! While others have the right experience, but the wrong day. In either case, I am honored to invite you to enter His rest, which includes the weekly rhythm of the Sabbath.
Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father, Pastor, Author.