This past Sunday my pastor preached on John 5 when Jesus heals a lame man at the pool of Bethesda. Not surprisingly, Jesus, in doing good, stirs up trouble for himself. First, he heals on the Sabbath, which upsets the Pharisees, who see this as breaking the Sabbath. Second, he asserts that he is God (cf. v 17-18), which also upsets the Pharisees. I want to focus on the first issue, because it is in fulfilling the Sabbath that Jesus demonstrates that he truly is who he claims to be.
When Jesus says in v 17 that he is doing God’s work, he is telling us that doing good on the Sabbath is not breaking the Sabbath but is actually the truest expression of the Sabbath. Rest as relief from the effects of the fall (e.g., sin and sickness) is what the Sabbath is all about. Hence Jesus says, “my Father has been working until now.” Jesus says deliverance from affliction and sin is the work God is doing as an expression of the Sabbath, and, therefore, he is doing the same. Our hope is that Christ will complete this work of redemption, and we will enter into that full and final rest in glory.
Continue reading Apply the Word: Jesus is God, God Gives Rest
One of my burdens for this blog is to provide resources for believers to stir up their affections for God. I want to help us want God more. Consequently, I intend to publish more devotional material alongside the kind of problem-analysis-solution styled posts you see elsewhere on the site. This is my first of such posts. In this case, I am sharing a meditation on Communion. I occasionally have the privilege of facilitating Communion at my church. When I do, I prepare some thoughts on the sacrament to help the congregation (myself included) dwell on the significance of the redeeming work of Christ for our life now in order to, as stated above, help folks want God more, to see Him as desirable and so to desire Him. This is the first in a series of such meditations that I’ll post on this blog. I hope they bless you.
Luke 22:14-20 HCSB
When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.”
Continue reading In Remembrance of Me: There was a time