Holy Rest

The Most Holy humbled Himself. In a manger, Mary made do with what she was given. The shepherds heard from the angels the resounding chorus that announced their Savior’s birth.

This. This was the Savior of the world. That was Israel’s promised rest. His was the Sabbath fulfilled. This was the end to striving. This was Holiness robing us with His righteousness.

Advent is awaiting Christ’s coming. We celebrate His first coming, and we eagerly anticipate His return.

O come, O come, Immanuel…

“God with us.”

Holiness with us. Holiness given to us. We are now robed in righteousness when we have done nothing to deserve it. We could not earn our rest. We could not earn our holiness. Yet the Lord paid the price so that we may be made holy.

Baby Jesus, Christmas, reminds us that God has not abandoned us. He remembers us. He established rest at creation, and Jesus fulfilled the Sabbath through His coming.

Hebrews 2-4 has a lot to say about that Sabbath rest:

In the Old Testament, the Promised Land was a place of rest for the people of Israel, but many of the Israelites missed the rest that the Lord’s desired for them. Many attempted to earn rest through the Law of Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6), and some blatantly disobeyed and forfeited the promise of rest (4:6).

The Lord, since the foundation of the world, established rest for the people, through faith (4:3), even though Jesus had not yet come. Joshua brought temporary rest, but Israel missed out on the even greater everlasting rest – an eternal rest for the soul (4:8). Deaf ears and disobedience kept the people in a state of restlessness.

When the author of Hebrews says to “strive to enter that rest” (4:11), it is not a command to depend on one’s own works to acquire rest, but it is a daily reminder of one’s place before God – humility leads to repentance and a desire to be obedient. As believers today, “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard” (2:1) in regards to salvation, so we can rest in what Jesus did on the cross, not neglecting what we have heard and read. It is through the promised Messiah that rest is found. A Sabbath rest is an outward expression of an inner, intimate rest in Jesus Christ – a regular reminder that we do not have to work for the rest that the Lord offered us freely long ago.

Our Sabbath rest is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, His coming about 2,000 years ago.

Though rest can still be watching a movie and lounging in fuzzy pants, “holy rest” is something different.

As I mature, reading the Word of God is more and more restful. Yes, it takes more brain power than Hulu (I’m too cheap to pay for Netflix), but it is more fulfilling, by far. The Word of God is the letter that declares our freedom, our rest.

This is “holy rest.” Jesus came to give us holy rest, Sabbath rest.

So while my break could be filled with hours of television and social media and movies (that doesn’t mean I am not going to catch up on a couple favorite television shows), I think my break is better used in the Word. It is better used working hard for the glory of God. It is better used preparing for next semester.

My break is better used resting in the holiness and righteousness of God.

You are here

You are holy

We are standing

In Your glory

All Sons & Daughters, God with Us

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Are You Hungry?

I seem to be hungry all the time. (I’m not quite sure why, though, since I haven’t gotten any taller for the past 4 years.) Hunger is a natural part of life. Our bodies need food in order to function.

As fallen people, we also hunger for purpose. We spend our lives searching for the reason we were placed here on earth. We need the purpose that God provides in order to live life to the fullest.

Early in Jesus’ ministry, he spoke to the crowds and delivered a powerful message. During the “Sermon on the Mount,” here’s one of the things Jesus said:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Matthew 5:6

Jesus knew that true satisfaction – a full belly and quenched thirst – would only come from a relationship with Him. In John, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well that He has living water. A couple chapters later, Jesus calls Himself the bread of life.

Clearly laid out in Scripture is this: we, as believers, are to hunger and thirst for righteousness. We are to desire a growing relationship with the Lord. We are to spend time in the Word of God so that we can spiritually grow.

One day, it will be too late.

Amos made a prophesy for the nation of Israel that came to pass while Saul was king and Israel was in captivity. He said:

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,
    “when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
    but of hearing the words of theLord.
 They shall wander from sea to sea,
    and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,
    but they shall not find it.

 “In that day the lovely virgins and the young men

    shall faint for thirst.”

Amos 8:11-13

Israel experienced the hunger and thirst for the Word of God, for righteousness, yet they waited too long. They lost their chance because of the hardness of their hearts.

Don’t wait that long. Don’t wait until it is too late for your hunger to be satisfied and you thirst quenched. Pursue the Lord now. Allow Christ Jesus to satisfy you. It is so fulfilling to be satisfied as I pursue Christ with a hunger and a thirst for righteousness and for His Word.

So.

Are you hungry yet?

Save the Date

People like to go to weddings, right?  Maybe?  I don’t know.  The only wedding I can remember attending was one that I went to with my aunt and cousins; I didn’t even know the people getting married.  I just wanted to go to a wedding.

Back in Bible times, weddings were big deals!  They were celebrated for days, with lots of food and merry making.  When you were invited to a wedding, you got a lot of free food!  In the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22, people were not rushing to the feast.  Maybe they did not like the couple getting married.  Or maybe they had already planned to go on their fishing boat trip to the Mediterranean.  I’m not sure, I wasn’t there.

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22:1-14

Some people ignored the invitation; others killed the king’s servants.  The king had invited them to a wedding feast, and they were “too busy.”  This is a perfect illustration of what Christ did for us and how we responded.

God, the King of Kings, invited us for a wedding feast, in celebration of Christ’s victory over death!  The Jews were the first to be invited.  Many declined or ignored the invitation and some even killed the messengers, the ones who proclaimed Christ. Those first invited declined.  That brought the gospel to the Gentiles, to those in the streets.

Now both Jews and Gentiles who had heard the message of Christ and His Word came to the wedding feast; they were the ones who did not ignore the invitation.  Everyone who has heard the message has been invited to the wedding feast in the king’s palace. 

But there was that one guy.  He didn’t have a wedding garment.  He was out of place.  He had been invited to the feast, but hadn’t dressed accordingly. 

See, our wedding garment comes from being washed in the blood of Christ.  Not literally, but spiritually.

“What can wash away my sin?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

When we accept Christ, He washes our sin away.  He forgives us and clothes us in righteousness.  We have all been called to the wedding feast, to the kingdom of God. 

Without our wedding garment, we cannot enter into the feast.

Without salvation from Christ, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.