The people that the writer of Hebrews was writing to seemed to be experiencing a lack of rest during that time. They may have been characterized by complaining, a lack of perspective on the current situation, and an incapability to communicate truth about God in an effective manner. There also seemed to be people that looked like they were falling back into their old lifestyle. They may have been allowing the circumstances to overpower their faith. This is easy for us as well in our day as we can be just as guilty of taking our eyes off what matters. The result usually is lack of rest.
The Sabbath in the Old Testament was a day set aside for the people so that they could rest from their works and set aside time to focus on God. The Sabbath was their day of worship that God had ordained. The Sabbath is a great picture of what is available to us every day when we put our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The desire of the Holy Spirit in this letter is that we enter into this rest.
Jesus Christ is our Sabbath rest. He is the fullness of God in bodily form. This means that He is the creator and sustainer of all things. All things include all of our circumstances. Jesus’s actions are motivated by love that is full of grace, compassion, kindness, gentleness and justice towards anyone who will receive Him. He is naturally selfless and is always designing each circumstance so that He can share His life with us.
His desire to be with us is displayed in the gospels and more specifically at the cross. The fullness of who Jesus is took place at the cross. What streams through the cross is God’s undying love for us. You may say, “He died!” However, He rose again in order to show His power over sin and death. His love disabled the only things that separate us from Him, sin and death, so that He can be with us forever. It is the ultimate picture of God taking on our burdens, the things that do not give us rest, and saying to us, “I got this!” Love begins as a one-way street with the Lord showering His love for us sinners through the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ is the explanation of God saying, “I just want to be with you!”
Our rest does not come from our works, our lack of works, our circumstances, human opinion, or what may happen in the future. All that remains for us when we focus on these things is a promise of restlessness. Our focus needs to be on the unmerited favor that God shows us through Christ. True rest comes when we receive and live in the love of God for us. Our eternal Sabbath begins when we receive all that God is for us in Christ!