Greetings to all in the Precious Name of Jesus,
There are places in the Gospels that are marked by conflict and disagreement between Jesus and the Pharisees over the keeping of the Sabbath. To their credit, the Pharisees were students of Torah and were intent on being obedient to and in conformity with its mandates. However, we see that they badly missed the spirit of what the Sabbath should have meant to them.
We understand that people in our day, without prior experience, are discovering the joys of Sabbath keeping. They lay aside the ordinary pursuits and strivings of life in order to concentrate on simple pleasures and joys that are restorative to the soul. They gladly build fences to protect that precious time of rest and solace and reject the “tyranny of the urgent” that comes at the expense of what is really important.
I love the places in the gospels where Jesus invited the weary and heavy laden to come to Him and find rest for their souls. And the writer of Hebrews, in expounding on the glories of the gospel, speaks of “entering into His rest.” He goes on to exhort his readers to “be diligent” to enter that rest.
In pondering that exhortation of Hebrews chapter 4, we come to understand that it is the work of faith by which we enter in. It is a cessation on our part from trying to save ourselves and from running our own show. We learn of the finished work of our Lord in shedding His Blood and rest in His unearned benevolence.
I like what the commentator Matthew Henry said about this. “This promise of spiritual rest is a promise left us by the Lord Jesus Christ in his last will and testament, as a precious legacy. Our business is to see to it that we be the legatees, and to have the prospect and earnest of perfect and everlasting rest in heaven.”
Weekly Sabbath keeping is one of the ten commandments. But it represents so much more than simply refraining from work-a-day activities or attending worship services. It speaks of glorious union with Christ and all that that means. May we not neglect to pay attention to the weekly reminders. But above that, may we be “diligent” to be found in Him and at peace with God because we are resting in Him.
Pastor William Abram