Yesterday we explored a story about Jesus and his followers eating grain in the fields on a Saturday, a day of rest, and getting in trouble from the religious authorities.  In his response, Jesus referred to one of the great heroes of the Jewish faith, David, who ate holy bread in the temple when he was starving.  He mentions the story, and lets the religious authorities do what they do best – argue about God while God is standing right there.  He asks them why David got away with eating holy bread, since David was never condemned for eating it.

This story illustrates Jesus’ approach to two kinds of law.  There is God’s law given at creation about the Sabbath: rest on the seventh day…period.  That stands, and that’s actually what Jesus is about – giving us eternal rest, even today.  But there is also the ritual/Sabbath/ceremonial law that is built on top of the basic commandment at creation.  Think of it like scaffolding around a structure to help build it – it can be very helpful in following God’s law.  But we don’t want to let it obscure God’s original purpose and law.  This scaffolding is a reality of our sin or rebellion from God.  Our hearts don’t naturally follow God’s law anymore, and so we need these additional structures.  But, don’t forget they are provisional…until something comes along and makes them obsolete

Then Jesus comes along and says, “I am Lord of the Sabbath.”

He claims to be God, and gives an invitation to find rest in him, and to stop wrestling with sin and other sinful realities around us, to stop wrestling with ourselves, and just rest in him as he fights those battles.

Claims like this got him in trouble with the Pharisees and Scribes, and eventually their urging that he be killed.   But in doing, they made him Lord of the Sabbath…exactly what he’d said.

On the cross, he is restless for us – huge work.  He takes on the restlessness of our sin and because of that, we can rest, not on our work overcoming sin and brokenness in our lives, but on his work.

We see him showing that the day of rest, the Sabbath, isn’t the point, just as the temple bread wasn’t the point.  God is the point.  Resting in God is the point.  We’ll see how tomorrow.

Question: Why do you think Jesus’ claims were so offensive to the religious legalists?

Ryan Sim - August 6, 2015

Thursday - Act On It - Working Badly

Work and Rest

We've looked at two extreme approaches to work: work to get it over with, and work as our ultimate goal. Both extremes are sandy foundations for life. They wash away when the rains come, parliament changes the retirement age, or markets crash and change our industry forever. Work reveals our foundations in life – what our ultimate goal or purpose is. Sometimes this can lead to our downfall. For example, in Japanese culture they so highly valued an ideal of never laying off workers, that many companies collapsed completely during a difficult recession. Closer to home, we can see how cost-savings at the Elliot Lake Mall, or the railway through Lac-Megantic, can seem to pay off for a while, then come crashing down with deaths, lawsuits and financial ruin to follow. We should choose the foundation of our working lives carefully - it will eventually be revealed! CHALLENGE: Write down a goal in your life. Make two columns underneath, writing in what will help you get there, and what could stop you. Now circle the ones that are entirely in control. What does this tell you about the foundations for your work in life – are they your’s, or God’s?

From Series: "Work and Rest"

Just in time for summer's blend of work and rest, Redeem the Commute is starting a new series of daily challenges to help busy people restore life to the commuting lifestyle. This seven week series will look at the meaning and purpose of work, rest, and ancient practices that have helped followers of Jesus to keep the two in perspective and balance for centuries.


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