Sermon in a nutshell: “Take a rest!” (Leviticus 23: 1-3)
We celebrate God’s power and glory through festivals!
In the Bible we have many festivals. These festivals are designed to celebrate God’s power and glory. For example, once a week, we take rest. It used to be a Saturday Sabbath and now a Sunday worship. Sunday was the day of worship for sun god of the Roman Empire. But the early Christians replaced the meaning of the day with the Day of the Risen Christ, Day of the Lord! This change was as dramatic as the change from Sabbath to Sunday. Sabbath was the day when the people of God took rest to worship the Creator. However, Sabbath became a set of legalistic regulations that restrict the lives of people. Jesus died on Sabbath day with such dead legalism and rose again on Sunday with new life for new religion, Christianity. The essence of the Sunday worship is, therefore, the confession that we are the new creation in Jesus Christ.
God commanded us to take Sabbath to celebrate God’s creation because God took rest on Sabbath day after the six days creation work. When God’s creation was tainted by sins and Sabbath became dead ceremonies, Jesus made whole universe a new creation through his death and resurrection and Sunday become true celebration of the new creation work of Jesus our Lord.
We take a rest to show our trust in God!
Even though the date and name of the rest were changed, the basic purpose of it was not. We take a rest to show our trust in God. Many people worry and work continuously. When we take a rest, we trust that the world will be fine without our works. We trust that God is in charge. Without such trust, we cannot rest. We have to control everything. When we lose our control, we are in panic. From time to time, God forces us to take a rest to learn that the whole universe is fine without our works.
This lesson is important in our daily lives. Every week, we are reminded of the fact that we are mere creatures. Our lives are temporary. We stop trying to control our spouses, children, and family members. We stop manipulating our colleagues and co-workers. We do not plan every detail for our future. Such trust gives us freedom and relieves us from worries and anxieties. Trust in God improves our relationship with other humans.
It is not just cessation of physical work but true rest of soul that God commands us to take. We have so many monkey minds busy making unnecessary worries and doubts. True rest comes from unshakable trust in God. Let us put all our worries and concerns under the Cross of Jesus and trust Him. We will have lot more free time and money to serve others and God!
- What is the most serious worry that you have in your mind?
- In what way would you express your trust in God?