Time to rest

Taking it easy now Christmas is over? Catching up on some rest? Or is Boxing Day “shop ’til you drop?”

What is rest for you? Laughing with family after a meal? Time to yourself? Watching a movie? Savouring a good book? Playing golf? Walking on the beach? Falling asleep?

I’m not suggesting we observe the Sabbath. Legislated rest seems a bit like “Hurry up and relax!” The Ten Commandments were laws God gave Israel. Nowhere were the nations commanded to take Sabbath rest. But are we missing out? Continue reading “Time to rest”

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 king who gives rest (Matthew 12:1-4)

Recognizing Jesus’ kingship is the only way to find rest.

Open Matthew 12:1-4.

Don’t let the chapter division stop you seeing how Matthew put his Gospel account together. The keyword at the end of Matthew 11 is rest. In contrast to this world’s rulers, Jesus gives his people rest (11:28). The only place this world will find rest is under the yoke of the gentle and humble king (11:29).

But the Galilean rulers wouldn’t let it rest. Even on the Sabbath, they were digging dirt on Jesus’ followers. They saw his hungry disciples pulling heads of grain and nibbling on the seeds as they walked through the fields (12:1-2). Continue reading “The king who gives rest (Matthew 12:1-4)”

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?”