What does it mean that Jesus is our “Sabbath”? In Genesis, on the seventh day God rested. Seven is the number of completeness or perfection in the Old Testament. And on one day of every single week the Nation of Israel would “rest.” But why? Was there no work to be done? Exactly. There was “no work to be done” because the week “or work” was complete. It had come to its completion or to its “fulfillment.” You see, Jesus is known as the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the World. And for those of you who study the history of Israel or the history of prophecy you know that “pattern is prophecy.” Meaning there are all kinds of symbols, days, celebrations, numbers, and types throughout the Old Testament pointing towards something much deeper and much greater and finding its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ. And the Sabbath centered around what? Rest.
It must have sounded absolutely ludicrous when Jesus told those listening to Him that “He was greater than the Temple.” And that when the Pharisees pointed out that Jesus was not recognizing the Sabbath according to their traditions, He said that “He” was the Lord of the Sabbath. And when He said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. I am sure we are all aware of the “Sabbath keepers” today. I am in NO way putting them down. The Sabbath was especially important to the Jew and to the Nation of Israel. And if someone’s conscience convicts them to keep it, then they should.
Here is the very “good news.” Jesus Christ is our fulfillment. He is our completion to any “works” which needed to be done. Jesus Christ said in context: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest [Sabbath]. 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” (Matt. 11:25-30, emphasis mine). Remember how I said there were “patterns or types” in the Old Testament? The physical rest or Sabbath in the Old was a picture of the spiritual/soul rest or Sabbath in the New. And this is what “Sabbath” is ALL ABOUT. And thankfully we no longer need to “keep” it. Because Jesus kept it and fulfilled it. And here is even greater news: All who are “in Christ” keep it every single moment of their lives through being “hidden in Christ” according to the scriptures. We REST in Jesus from our labor. From “trying” to be saved. And from our stress and straining. From our need to “prove” or “work” to be accepted, or seen, or loved. We no longer have to “work” in the flesh to improve ourselves. We no longer have to “work” to compete with one another or with the world. We are free to … just … STOP! To stop and rest. To say it is finished. It is complete. I am beloved because Jesus Christ is my Sabbath. And it is okay to stop and rest for the rest of your life from all that is calling your attention to “do more, be better, work harder, be your best you, fight to prove your worth to the world, etc.”
This is … Rest. To “learn from Jesus.” To take His yoke upon your shoulder. And how did Jesus live every day of His life on earth? Unbelievably, by the Holy Spirit. He lived and breathed every moment by the power of the Spirit. He lived in communion with His Father and walked by the Spirit. Now, since He has already done the heavy lifting. Since He has finished the “work.” What is left for you to do? REST in the power of the Spirit and allow His life force to flow through you every moment of every day. The demanding work is complete. All you must do now is rest in His might. Not in the might of your flesh. But in His might. It means it’s now time to just BREATHE. It is time to just STOP and enjoy your rest in Jesus. He will give you, by the Spirit, everything you need for everything in life, every day, if you will just STOP working in your own strength. And allow Him to deal with every day. Since, in truth, He is “your power, might, completeness, fulfillment, satisfaction, lifeblood, and your end to self-reliance.
Be blessed in your rest!