Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Day of Rest

Sabbath, the Seventh Day, the Day of Rest from the week’s work, Holy Saturday, the Creator of all again rests from all of His work of Re-Creation. Sunday He rode into the holy city, allowing Himself to be proclaimed the one coming in the name of the Lord. He preaches. He cleanses the temple. He observes the final festival of the Passover, which He prepares to fulfill. He ordains the New Testament in His blood. He suffers the betrayal, the false trial and judgment, the scourging, the crucifixion. Now He rests in another man’s bed of death, declaring all that He has accomplished to be good.

On the third or eighth day He shall raise Himself again bodily from the dead. He shall again make His presence known among His people.

On this Holy Saturday it seems appropriate to reflect upon a couple of comforting passages of the Holy Scriptures:

And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. (Exodus 33:14-17)

At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:25-30)

This promised rest is a different word than the Sabbath unto the Lord commanded in the Third Commandment. This rest is in connection with and the result given through the Sabbath Day, the day hallowed as the day that the Lord rested from all of His labors. In the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament passage the word is katapauso. The New Testament word is anapauso.

These two words have the same base word, which means to give rest or to cause to be settled. Both words are used in connection with the Lord’s presence with His people. Kata means down or against. Ana means up or above.

According to the Old Testament promises, the people were promised that the Lord would cause His presence to go with them, to separate them from the other nations, to keep them bound to Him through faith in the promised Seed. But while the Lord would be present with them, they could not actually come into His presence and could not look upon His face.

But with the birth of Jesus, this was advanced from kata to ana. With the Lord’s bodily presence, that is, in the body of Jesus, they could actually look up and see the Lord’s countenance. They could look up and see His face and touch Him. Now, not only were they separated from the world by the presence of the Lord going with them, but now they were separated so as to be invited to come into His presence and to see His face and to receive from Him the very things from above. Now He would give rest to them in and through His very body and blood.

And so the last Sabbath was observed by the Lord as He rested from His works of recreation, lying upon the cold stone bed of a sinner, until on the third day He raised Himself up again to be seen by all so that they could again come unto Him to be made to be everlasting recipients of the rest that He gives to all who come unto Him in His body, the Church.

Surely this is a holy day as we quietly await the joyous celebration of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead. Such a day is like no other. Such a day is true cause for the return of the Gloria in Excelsis and the Hallelujahs in the divine service.

For as St. Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 3:21, our connection to the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the answer of the good conscience poured out to us in the water of our baptism. His resurrection is the reason that we not only will not be separated from God forever in hell, but also is the reason that we will be bound together with God in His holiness and glory forevermore. His resurrection is the reason that we dare to come to God and confess our sins, knowing that our Lord Jesus stands as our mediator and intercessor, calling for our absolution that He purchased for us.

Surely this news is genuine comfort and peace and cause for relaxing in perfect rest.

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Gary Cepek said...


Thank you for the clear exegetical points about the rest our Lord grants to His people in Christ. The comfort of His resurrection overflows to us each through faith.

The Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, continue to hold you and your wife, and all His people in the One True Faith.

He is Risen, indeed.

Gary Cepek

the ebay lady said...

He has risen indeed!I just set up a new blog spot myself. I just followed you and hoping you'll follow back!