Two passages of Scripture intersected for me this morning in a way I had not anticipated nor expected. One was in the Old Testament . . . the other, in the New. The first passage is twelve verses long and about 395 words. The second, is but a small part of a verse, and just 5 words. The Old Testament passage is unquestionably holy ground . . . every time you approach it, there is a sense of awe, wonder, and humility. The New Testament passage, if I’m any indicator, is probably passed over without much thought most times. But not this morning.
Finished up Luke 23 this morning. Jesus has breathed His last on the Romans’ cruel cross. A centurion has praised God, declaring the man Jesus to be certainly innocent and undeserving of death. The crowds have departed. Those who followed Him are standing at a distance watching these things. And Joseph, a man who was looking for the kingdom of God, asks for the body of Jesus . . . quickly prepares for burial . . . and lays it in a tomb cut in stone. And then, records Luke, . . .
On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. (Luke 23:56b ESV)
On the Sabbath they rested. Those are the five words resonating within my soul. On the day commemorated as the day of finished work, they rested. They had no idea!
They had no idea of the transaction that had just taken place on that cross on Calvary. The hours of darkness . . . the rending of the temple curtain from top to bottom . . . they had no idea what had taken place. They wearily rested their bodies and souls in apparent defeat on that Sabbath. When, in fact, they would soon realize that it was their first rest of victory over sin and death! Cue the other passage, Isaiah 53.
My Old Testament readings preceded my New Testament ones. So, before getting to Luke, I had just been lingering over Isaiah 53. Moved again at the thought that it was God’s will to “crush” His beloved Son. Reminded again that He has borne our griefs . . . carried our sorrows . . . was pierced for our transgressions . . . was crushed for our iniquities . . .
. . . upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5b ESV)
The LORD had laid on Him the iniquity of us all . . . and upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace. And on the Sabbath, the day of finished work, they rested.
It is the peace secured for all men . . . the rest made available to all people . . . appropriated by faith.
It is the rest possessed by the people of God, those who have believed Isaiah’s report . . those to whom, by God’s grace, the arm of the LORD has been revealed. A rest entered into the moment we believed. The rest re-entered into every time our flesh wins a skirmish and sin, crouching at our door, ensnares us. He bore the sin of many . . . and He bore our many sins . . . that I might know the rest of His finished work. Knowing that as I confess my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9).
Praise God for such rest! To Him be all glory!