Wrestling with Rest (Part 1)

I’m bad at rest.  Not at sleeping.  I can sleep like no one’s business.  I can sleep in a bed, on a plane, on the ground, and on a train (which is really a great way to sleep if you’ve never experienced it.)

Sleep I can handle.  Rest, not so much.

The issue of Sabbath is possibly one of the most misunderstood by Christians in general and or even when understood, is difficult to practice.  I plan on writing on this topic over the next few weeks and exploring what Rest/Sabbath is all about, the difficulties in practicing whatever “Sabbath” is, and some personal reflections on my own “wrestling with rest.”

Sabbath ironically is one of those great Biblical themes that is woven into the grand narrative of Scripture from beginning to end. We find in Genesis 1 God the creator resting from his works.  It shows up in the Law, the prophets call for Sabbath observance (often confronting misunderstandings about the nature of Sabbath), Jesus and the Pharisees find a weekly point of conflict it seems on the sabbath, the author of Hebrews warns of the danger of not entering the promised Rest, and Revelation ends with a new Creation, a heaven-earth marriage in which there is no night, which must have some implication in the issue of rest as well.

What is Sabbath? What is its purpose? Has Sabbath changed under the New Covenant?  If so, how much?  the day? the strictness?

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2 Responses

  1. Have you drawn this from Blake Hearson (MBTS)? He has extolled the same view all semester long in his OT Theology special section….

    • I haven’t yet. There will be some influence on the OT portions (at least the 1 or 2 Sabbath-related texts we encountered in the Hebrew Exegesis of OT Themes last spring), but much of it will probably be influenced by my own studies of Matthew and Hebrews.

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