NT Connect: Hebrews 4:1-13
Weekly Reading: Joshua 10-12, 23-24
Rest in Christ
Rest. We a part of a culture that strives for rest. We seem always to be looking for our next break, our next chance to rest. We start the day thinking about when the day will end, or at least when we’ll get lunch. We spend our week dreaming about what the weekend will hold. If we’re in school, we live for the next break or the next graduation. If we work, we work tirelessly for a year and plan relentlessly for a week’s vacation that ends up being more exhausting than any week at home. Year after year, we labor, we save, and we plan, so that we can have that long rest called retirement.
All these things we long for are good: the sleep at the end of the day, a weekend away from work or school, a well-deserved vacation, and a hard-earned retirement. We are finite beings, who need to rest. The problem arises when we look to these pursuits for more than they were made to offer. These moments of rest will never bring true rest, for they do not cure our restlessness.
In many ways, we are like the people Joshua led into the Promised Land. After years of wandering in the desert and many battles, Joshua brought the people into the Promised Land, into the land of their rest, but he could not give them rest (Hebrews 4:8). He could not cure their restlessness. The Israelites needed to be redeemed from slavery, but they needed far more than physical redemption. The Israelites needed the land of the promise, the land of their rest, but they needed far more than physical rest. They needed new hearts. They needed their hearts turned toward God.
The only cure for our restlessness is reconciliation with God. We do not have peace in our lives because we do not have peace with God. Through Christ, God offers us reconciliation. He offers us peace. He offers us rest. Jesus calls to us and offers us rest: “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” (Matthew 11:28-30). Rest in Christ is the only true rest. “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest” by hearing God’s Word and looking in faith to Christ (Hebrews 4:11).