6 Hours on the Cross

It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. Mark 15:25 NIV

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ). …And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
Matthew 27:46‭, ‬50 NIV

In six days God created the heavens and the earth. When He paused at the end of each day He saw that it was good.

In six hours on the cross our Lord finished the work necessary for His new creation. Through suffering He completed something so awesomely good that till today we can call it Good Friday!

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
John 19:30

As we pause and reflect on this first day …the Lord’s day may we remember His work and rest and worship with thankful hearts.

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Reflecting on the Sabbath

Keeping Sabbath is a step of faith with our time in the same way that giving our tithe is a step of faith with our finances.  We give our financial resources trusting that God will multiply what remains, so also our committing to a day of rest will give God the opportunity to multiply our other days with unlimited peace.

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It is amazing how Jesus accomplished more when he was resting than the disciples did when they were busy working.

And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”  But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:24-26

Jesus wasn’t being lazy when He was sleeping. Jesus simply knew that the Father would help Him to do just the right work at just the right time if He rested!

As we rest we depend more fully on Jesus. As we come to a stop even for a few quiet hours our racing thoughts calm to a hush. In that quietness we can begin to hear the whisper of God’s still small voice. That quietness is like the great calm which Jesus brought to the sea by His word. When was the last time that a great calm ruled over the storm of anxious thoughts and struggles in your life?

As believers in Jesus Christ we know that one day we will finish the work of this life. On that day we will enter into the greatest experience of our Sabbath rest in Him and our works will remain behind!

‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” Revelation 14:13

 

Jesus I Am Resting with Tricia Brock

Okay so we know Tricia didn’t write this precious old hymn but I am thankful for how she has helped to bring the classic truths in the lyrics to life. In our continual rushing we of all people on this planet need to pause for a moment on a quiet Sunday and rest in our Beloved!

The Unique Sabbath- Final Day- Christ our Sabbath Rest

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;  for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4:9-10

On each day of this series  we have looked carefully into the wonder of God’s Sabbath.  We have step by step drawn closer to the only one who can truly give us rest. The very concept that rest is a good and a desirable thing is being called into question, not only in the modern-day race for materials things as well as in the lives Christians.

But listen carefully to how God sets up the idea of Sabbath keeping in the Old Testament law.

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest  Exodus 34:21

God gave time to the work of creation, but then He separated a unique and Holy day as a blessing called rest. God participated in rest. A Sabbath rest was not something God did because He KIMG0996was worn out, but because there was a wonderful grace and beauty in that day. When Jesus called us to come He didn’t say, “Come to me and I will give you work.” but  He called,

Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest! Matthew 11:28 ESV

In the setting aside of a day we are not to follow some legal formula. Paul made it very clear in Romans that while one believer honors one day above another, another may honor a day as special, because  

Romans 14:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

The purpose of remembering the Sabbath day is not so much a requirement to please God in our calendar choice, but about recognizing that until we rest fully in Christ we will in the end accomplish nothing. At the end of the road, it is Jesus Christ who is our true Holy Sabbath. Knowing Him and resting in His work is to enter into the promise that God made to men and women from the creation of the world. It is saying, It is all about Him!” in every aspect of our life.

The setting aside of a day is in no way making us more holy but it is a gentle and constant reminder, just as is the taking of Holy Communion reminds us of His death until He comes. I pray that through this brief “mini-series” on Sabbath rest that some one will pause long enough to reconsider the pace and purpose of the every increasing work load of our lives. Just as giving our offering or our tithe to the Lord is a step of faith that God will multiply what remains, so also our committing to a day of rest will give God the limitless opportunity to bless our days with abundance.

As we rest we depend more fully on Jesus. As we come to a stop for even a few quiet hours our racing thoughts calm to a hush in which we may begin to hear the whisper of God’s still small voice. To dine with the master we must first leave behind our own nets and humbly sit by his fire and eat that we He has prepared for us with His own nail pierced hands,

As believers in Jesus Christ we know that one day we will lay aside the last trappings of this life. In that moment as we enter into an even greater experience of our Sabbath rest in Him we may hear the voices of angels praying – (I think they pray in Hebrew!)

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe

God’s Unique Sabbath – Day Six : Lord of the Sabbath

So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:28

This interesting story about Jesus and the disciples walking through the corn or wheat fields is recorded in three of the four gospels. Though we may have never once heard a message preached from these verses, Matthew, Mark and Luke each considered it so important that they included it among the highlights of Jesus’ teaching.

My personal belief is that our own ignorance of the Sabbath and the treasure that God intended it to be is one of the great losses of the present day church. God’s Sabbath came not only before the law, Sabbath came even before sin. Sabbath was built into the matrix of the universe. To put it into literary terms God’s Holy Sabbath was His denouement : “the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.” Without understanding Sabbath in fact we will never be able to fully understand God’s story.

When the Pharisees started cluck-clucking about the disciples rubbing some grain in their hands on the seventh day, Jesus  had finally had enough of their cold analytical hypocrisy and proceeded to give them a Sabbath lesson. In that lesson, Jesus made it clear that the very central purpose of the Sabbath was for it to be a day of healing and blessing to man. God had not created man so the Sabbath could be observed, but He had created Sabbath to be a day of healing and blessing for man.

I fear we, the modern-day church, have gone far beyond just losing the gift of Sabbath; I believe we are losing even the last vestiges of memories of what it is. Sabbath is a precious gift and unless we battle to take back God’s Sabbath blessing

August 28 2008 102then we may one day run down like an unwound watch.

We once visited for several days a small village in Switzerland, On the Sunday morning of our stay, I left our hosts’ home and went for a long walk up through some of the most beautiful hill country I  have ever seen. On my walk I found a wonderful ancient church and as I watched a man drove up, unlocked the door and went in to ring the bells. How lovely they sounded as they peeled over the valley. It was an almost perfect picture. But then as he finished his duties, he left the church, locked the doors and drove away.

That image still lingers in my memory. Is that what we have become? Do we just go about our duties, ring the bells and go home? Do we ring the bells and no one any longer hears? Do we remember vaguely that it is God’s day but barely pause long enough to catch our spiritual breath? There will be a price to forgetting God’s Sabbath because it remains a blessed part of the creation from before there was sin. The Sabbath is built into not only the universe, but also into who we are as men and women. Sabbath rest, worship and prayer are the breath, the life and the foundation and basis from which we go out to do all the work which God has called us to do.

If we will choose to remember then God has a promise that we will look into on the seventh and final day. Stay tuned!