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
In today’s scripture Jesus accomplished more when he was resting than the disciples did while they were desperately rowing and bailing water. Jesus wasn’t being lazy when He was sleeping. He simply knew that the Father would help Him to do all He need to do at just the right time, but only if He rested! As we rest, it teaches us to depend more fully on Jesus. Just like the stillness that Jesus brought to the sea by His word, as we rest, our racing thoughts calm to a hush and in that quietness we can begin to hear God’s still small voice. 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. With our tithe we give the first and best of our financial resources, trusting that God will multiply the rest to meet our needs. We need to remind ourselves that keeping a Sabbath is not just observing some law, but a spiritual recognition that the first and best of part our time is better in God’s hands, than a whole week in ours. As believers in Jesus Christ we don’t “have to” legalistically rest on Sunday. Instead, we discover that we have the privilege at least once a week to find our rest in Him. One day we will finish with all of the work of our life. On that day we will enter into the greatest Sabbath of all as we find our wonderful and complete rest in the presence of Jesus forever and all our work will remain behind!
Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. Acts 1:12 KJV
I love the tradition of keeping a Sabbath, and having worked in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, I learned from my friends that one way they keep it is by living close enough so that on the Sabbath, they could walk to synagogue. Seeing them marching with their children down to temple seemed as timely and beautiful as lilacs in bloom or robins returning in the Spring. Their community was bound together by the time-honored tradition of “A Sabbath Day’s Journey.” While the exact length of the journey is in dispute, most believe this to have been the prescribed distance between the people and the tabernacle in the wilderness. It also comes from the Old Testament book of Exodus, where God tells His people, that they could gather the manna only on the first six days of the week, but on the Sabbath,” Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”
But what about today? What does a “Sabbath Day’s Journey” mean for us? Here are three thoughts about that journey. First, a Sabbath journey is for going to worship God. This journey is something God calls us to every week as we gather with other believers. He knows how easy it is for our heart to wander and corporate worship helps puts our focus back on Jesus. Don’t allow guilt or worry about what others think or say to keep you from going to God’s house. Meeting together is our Sabbath day’s journey to Him. Second, the Sabbath Day’s Journey gives us an opportunity to help a neighbor. Jesus pointed out that even the Pharisees stopped to pull an animal out of a pit or bring them water on the Sabbath. All week we run as fast as we can and work as much as we can to meet our own needs. A Sabbath day journey is an opportunity that God gives us to meet the needs of others. If someone is sick, why not visit or at least try making a phone call? Is there someone you know who is lonely? Why not invite them over for a meal? God doesn’t get into specifics about how we love our neighbors. He just tells us to do it and then leaves the details up to us.
Last, a Sabbath day’s journey is the one that Jesus made regularly to heal. I used to think that He did this just to irritate the Pharisees, but then I realized that He chose the holiest day of the week because people matter more to Him than anything else. A Sabbath day’s journey was the journey Jesus made from Heaven to earth for you and me. He was resting nicely in Heaven. He didn’t need to leave His home, but He did. He chose His Sabbath day’s journey to come, and His journey ended when He said, “It is finished!” So, on this next Sabbath day let’s take a journey to meet for worship, let’s find someone we can serve and most of all let’s be thankful that Jesus took a Sabbath day’s journey from Heaven just to come and walk with us!
The Sabbath is a Gift of Grace
It’s not a law we must obey
Or just some answer on a test
But it began at the creation
That God made a day for rest
Just as the sun was going down
And as His children lay to sleep
He gently covered them with night
And then bowed low so they could meet
And in the morning walk the path
And tell them how His hand had traced
The course of daybreak and the stars
Then gave a Sabbath gift of grace
The Sabbath is a Gift of Grace by Peter Caligiuri
Copyright 2021 all rights reserved
So God blessed the seventh day and made it Holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation. Genesis 2:3 ESV