Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

Rest and Restoration Before God

Wednesday, Lent 2                                       March 11, 2020


Amos 2:6-16

6 Thus says the LORD: “For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for silver, And the poor for a pair of sandals. 7 They pant after the dust of the earth which is on the head of the poor, And pervert the way of the humble. A man and his father go in to the same girl, To defile My holy name. 8 They lie down by every altar on clothes taken in pledge, And drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god. 9 “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, Whose height was like the height of the cedars, And he was as strong as the oaks; Yet I destroyed his fruit above And his roots beneath. 10 Also it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, And led you forty years through the wilderness, To possess the land of the Amorite. 11 I raised up some of your sons as prophets, And some of your young men as Nazirites. Is it not so, O you children of Israel?” Says the LORD. 12 “But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, And commanded the prophets saying,`Do not prophesy!’ 13 “Behold, I am weighed down by you, As a cart full of sheaves is weighed down. 14 Therefore flight shall perish from the swift, The strong shall not strengthen his power, Nor shall the mighty deliver himself; 15 He shall not stand who handles the bow, The swift of foot shall not escape, Nor shall he who rides a horse deliver himself. 16 The most courageous men of might Shall flee naked in that day,” Says the LORD.



Mark 2:23-27

23 Now it happened that [Jesus] went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: 26 “how he went into the house of God in the days  of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat, except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?” 27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.


Catechism Emphasis: The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it Holy.


What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and his Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.




In the Name of Jesus.


To dishonor the Sabbath is to use it as the Lord has not given it to be used.


The Sabbath does have a use:  Jesus said,

“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

[Mark 2:27]


How should we understand that, that the Sabbath was made for man?


The Sabbath was the day given by God, set aside by God, for his people to come to his Name, to hear his word, and to receive his gifts. His Name is the Name of salvation, his word is the word of cleansing and peace with him, his gifts are the sacrifice and the blood for the forgiveness of sins.


God did not want his people left in any uncertainty. For these things of forgiveness and grace and life, God set a particular time, setting the Sabbath day before his people as a gift:

The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”


The word Sabbath means rest—it is rest and restoration and peace and fellowship from God.


When Jesus our Lord came into the flesh, he named himself as our Sabbath, for he is the One who tells the sinner, Come unto me and I will give you rest—Sabbath!


But this is done not without price.


When Jesus told the Pharisees that “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,” Jesus knew that that statement was true only in light of what he was about to do in going to the cross. For it is only by the cross that the innocent blood is shed to atone for our sins, and it is only by that blood that we have rest and restoration before God.


Our Sabbath rest was not done without a price. In promising Sabbath rest to the sinner, Jesus consigned himself over to the death of the cross.


In the church, it is Lent, were the church looks at the cross. The Church sees the humiliation and suffering of the Son of Man, and comes to her Lord in repentance.


And that is rest, Sabbath—it is Jesus forgiving our sins.


Now the commandment, Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it Holy, takes on its full meaning.


The Sabbath day was Jesus giving us rest from our sins by his death on the cross. And now the Sabbath day is whenever we hear the preaching of his word, holding it sacred, and gladly hearing and learning it.


So, to close, a few words from the Large Catechism concerning Sabbath rest:

Let me tell you this. Even though you know the Word perfectly and have already mastered everything, still you are daily under the dominion of the devil, who neither day nor night relaxes his effort to steal upon you unawares and to kindle in your heart unbelief and wicked thoughts against all these commandments. Therefore you must continually keep God’s Word in your heart, on your lips, and in your ears. For where the heart stands idle and the Word is not heard, the devil breaks in and does his damage before we realize it. On the other hand, when we seriously ponder the Word, hear it, and put it to use, such is its power that it never departs without fruit. It always awakens new understanding, new pleasure, and a new spirit of devotion, and it constantly cleanses the heart and its meditations. For these words are not idle or dead, but effective and living. Even if no other interest or need drove us to the Word, yet everyone should be spurred on by the realization that in this way the devil is cast out and put to flight, this commandment is fulfilled, and God is more pleased than by any work of hypocrisy, however brilliant.


In the Name of Jesus.