Merritt Seventh-day Adventist Church

At Rest Part XXVII

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At Rest


When Jesus said, “It is finished.” He bowed His head and gave up His life. Now a new problem developed. At sunset the Sabbath would begin. This was a high day and no work would be done. Two thieves had been crucified with Jesus, one on each side of Him. The bodies could not be left on their crosses over the Sabbath so the soldiers came and broke the legs of the thieves. (When hanging on the cross with broken legs the body cannot be supported. In this state the diaphragm cannot function properly so the person suffocates.) When the soldiers came to see Jesus He was already dead. A soldier stuck his spear into Jesus' side anyway. Water and blood flowed out.

Joseph of Armathea, a rich man who was a disciple, not one of the 12, but a disciple none the less, went to Pilate and asked for The Body. Pilate gave it to him. Joseph took it down, cleaned it up and wrapped it in clean linen. Nicodemus also came with one hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes to put on Jesus' body.

In the place was a garden and Joseph had a new tomb hewn into the rock. It was here that they placed the body of Jesus. The women who watched, went home as the Sabbath began.

Now Jesus was at rest. As He had rested on the seventh day after creation, He now rested on the Sabbath after redemption. He was the one who had written the commandments on stone, He had kept the Sabbath in life and He kept it in death.

The ten commandments on tables of stone were put in a special box called the ark of the testament and put in the most holy place of the sanctuary. Moses was instructed by God to make the sanctuary and furnishings after the pattern shown him.

In the book of Hebrews it says there is a sanctuary in Heaven and it was after the Heavenly sanctuary that the earthly was patterned.

John the Revelator was given a vision of Heaven and the temple there. He saw the ark of the testament there which held the tables of stone. The law that Jesus wrote and kept was not only for this planet but for the whole universe.

The disciples hid themselves for fear of the Jews. As the people ate their Passover meal, on that certain Friday evening, was their talk about their own deliverance from Egypt? I don't think that it was. The man in the tomb, the darkness and His death after only six hours on the cross stirred uneasy feelings.

The next day, on the special Sabbath, the strict priests and rulers ignored their own rules and went to Pilate and asked for special insurance to keep Jesus a prisoner in the tomb. They remembered Jesus saying that He would die but on the third day He would rise again. This created a new fear. He had died abnormally so what if He rose that way?

The Sabbath had been set aside and made holy. It was a day to worship the Creator, to reflect on His creation and care for His people. It was a day for real rest. This Sabbath was the opposite. The leaders were filled with fear and probably some guilt. They got ropes and tied the big rock that closed the entrance to the tomb back to the rocks. They even had Roman soldiers guard the tomb. The leaders went so far as to use the excuse that the disciples may come by night and steal His body and say that Jesus had risen.

Before the end of the Sabbath, the soldiers took up their posts guarding the tomb. They were of the soldiers who had beaten Jesus, abused Him, stripped Him, nailed Him to the cross, gambled over His clothes and pierced Him. Now, there was the fear that He would come back to life!! What a scary Sabbath that was for the soldiers, the priests, Pilate and all who had a part in His death. What if He should come back to life? Would there be revenge? Sunset. Darkness enveloped the earth. Fear gripped many hearts. Only One enjoyed a real Sabbath rest......the One in the tomb. The peaceful Sabbath rest that was set aside for everyone became a day of stress and fear. God wants to bless all with a peaceful Sabbath rest. Jesus invites all.

In Matt 11:20 He says, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”


Next Week: A Glorious Morning