December 19, 2023
Picture: The Sabbath
Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:1-4
The Israelites were gathered in their tents terrified of what would happen next. Ever since Moses and Aaron had climbed mount Sinai, the mountain had been engulfed with smoke. It’s contours were only visible through flashes of lightening. It is no wonder then, that when the Israelites saw the distant figures emerging out of the smoke, picking their way down the mountain, that they gathered at the base. Amid the smoke, lightening and thunder, God had had spoken to Moses. He had given the Israelites commandments that would make them Holy. The 4th of which said,
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
Exodus 20:8-11 (NKJV)
Since the beginning of creation, God had modeled this. Israel would constantly navigate the balance of work and rest both physically and spiritually. They were given a system of laws that required work and discipline to follow. They would have temporary rest, but their spiritual work was never done. There were always more sacrifices to be made and laws to be obeyed. This embedded rhythm anticipated a Savior who could provide a complete sabbath rest for all who believe. Jesus' words reveal that He is the true Sabbath.
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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)
Jesus can say these words because He is the sacrifice that provides complete payment for the sins of mankind. As a result, we no longer need to work in order to secure our right standing before God. The only thing standing in the way of entering that rest is unbelief.
Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:
“So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest,’ ”
although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Hebrews 4:1-4 (NKJV)
A baby accomplishes no work and requires a lot, but Jesus’ birth signified the end of our striving, a rest for our souls.