And he laid hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”Luke 13:13-18
Today, I am going off my Matthew course for a minute, and turning my attention to my current personal study in Luke. The above passage has always made me feel happy on the inside, for how Christ defends his actions and defends this woman. I think partly here, Christ reshapes what Sabbath is all about, and gives a deeper meaning to the idea of rest.
Really, connecting with Christ and being in the presence of Christ – or having the Holy Spirit of Christ present in us – is what Sabbath is. Sabbath is not necessarily one day a week that we take off from work and go to church. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that. I am just saying that Sabbath happens anytime we find ourselves in the presence of Christ and we connect with him. Christ is our Sabbath. Christ is our rest. Because he puts no expectations on us, that is why when we come to him we can find our rest. The only expectations he has of us is to receive – to receive his word, wisdom, healing, love, energy, spirit, strength. Christ said “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Not only is being in the presence of Christ rest, but also having Christ loose us from bonds and healing us, is rest. Being loosed and freed and healed, is rest. I know personally that as I have been loosed, I have found and experienced much rest. I have been loosed from Godlessness (that is, not having God actually in my life), and loosed from wrong mentalities about who God is and how he treats us, and loosed from sin and confusion, and loosed from the idolatry of seeking after love, approval, and acceptance from limited human beings.
Again, because I have been loosed of these things and because I continue in my fellowship with Christ and continually ask him to fill me, I have found much rest in my life in more than one way. Rest, again, is not just not working, but it’s also about having a free, loose, and clear mind and soul that is not working and striving in order to control myself from sin, or not needing to force myself to do good works (they just come naturally and easily), or that is not condemning myself and others. Christ living in me compels me and enables me to do only the good that he wants me to do. I do not feel overburdened when Christ truly lives in me and I seek to enter through the narrow way and seek to do only what he wants me to do.
Heavenly father, I pray that I can enter into your presence, and that you can enter into my heart, so that I can find my true rest in you. Also, I pray that as I enter into your presence and your spirit enters into me, that I can be loosed and freed from things that entangle me and make me strive more than I need to. Amen.