Giving God’s world rest (Matthew 12:8)

Ever wondered how peace can be restored to earth?

Open Matthew 12:8.

A couple of centuries before Jesus, Israel was under Greek rulers who demanded they give up their distinctives and blend in with the empire. They launched an attack on a Saturday, forcing zealous Jews to choose whether they would give up their Sabbath and fight. They refused, running for the hills and hiding in caves. It was a massacre.

The Jewish leaders changed their minds: “So they made this decision that day: ‘Let us fight against anyone who comes to attack us on the Sabbath day; let us not all die as our kindred died in their hiding places’” (1 Maccabees 2:41).

200 years later, Israel still didn’t have a king to make that kind of decision and lead them in their battles. Then Jesus rose to fame in Galilee, claiming to be the Lord’s anointed, talking about restoring God’s kingdom. Continue reading “Giving God’s world rest (Matthew 12:8)”

The blessing of rest

Feeling restless? There may be a reason.

In my student days we filled up the car during the week, since only a few rostered stations were open on Sunday. You could buy a newspaper at the Deli, but none of the big shops were open. And they closed for public holidays too.

That was back when Aussies had the weekend off. Emergency workers and nurses still worked, but they received penalty rates to compensate for missing time with family and friends.

Now there’s a push to have the shops open evenings and weekends. Do Aussies really feel our life is diminished if we can’t shop? Or is the push from big business figuring they can’t make a buck if the door’s closed? Of course, they don’t want to pay overtime or penalty rates, so we’re losing those compensations too.

Do you have people in your family who now must work evenings, weekends, and public holidays? Does it affect you when you try to get the family together? Does it limit their participation in in community, church or sporting activities? Continue reading “The blessing of rest”

Should we keep the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday?

Have you ever wondered if Christians should observe the Sabbath?

Christians who desire to be obedient to God want to know what God expects of us regarding the Sabbath. Should we observe the Sabbath on Saturday as Jewish people do? Should we treat Sunday as a Sabbath? Or is there no Sabbath requirement for Christians?

Most of us agree about what the Sabbath meant for Israel: Continue reading “Should we keep the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday?”

Jesus’ liberating kingship (Matthew 11:25-29)

Don’t let your bad experiences stop you trusting Jesus. He’s a different kind of king.

Open Matthew 11:25-29. and Lamentations 5.

Our previous post explained how Jesus was asking the towns of Galilee to accept his kingship when he invited them to put on his yoke. This world’s rulers are often domineering and demanding. They wear their people out and weigh them down, giving them no rest. By contrast, Jesus reigns to benefit his people. He is gentle and humble at heart. He gives his people rest, as the Creator intended from the beginning. Continue reading “Jesus’ liberating kingship (Matthew 11:25-29)”

Invitation to rest (Matthew 11:25-29)

After what we’ve been putting up with, Jesus’ yoke is truly light.

Open Matthew 11:25-29.

Tired? Worn out? Jesus said, Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

Stop for a moment right now. Just breathe. Refreshing? Now, before you rush back to the frenetic pace, do you have time to explore with me what Jesus meant? He went on to say, “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 light” (11:29-30).

What did he have in mind? His yoke? His burden? It’s even more liberating that you imagine.

Continue reading “Invitation to rest (Matthew 11:25-29)”