We Need Restorative Rest

We Need Restorative Rest

Ultimate rest is found in Jesus, not in vacations or material objects. Christ has already done everything for us. Just like the man with the withered hand, you have been restored by Jesus—maybe not through physical healing, but through something even better. Because of his sacrifice on the cross, we can rest.

In a culture defined by never-ending news feeds and social media at our fingertips, where do we go for rest? Vacations? I don’t know about you, but when I return from a vacation, I’m often more exhausted than when I left. That’s because true rest isn’t found on exotic beaches or mountain retreats. It’s found in Christ. Here’s what I mean by that.

In Luke 6, we encounter two events having to do with Sabbath rest. In the first, Jesus and his disciples are walking through fields of grain. As they go, they pluck the grain, rub it between their fingers, and eat it. This elicits a harsh rebuke from the Pharisees. They claim picking grain and eating it is a violation of the Sabbath command. Jesus responds emphatically, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5).

In the very next verse, Jesus is teaching in a synagogue on another Sabbath day. Knowing the Pharisees are again watching him, he calls forward a man who has a physical handicap, a shriveled hand. With all eyes on him, Jesus says, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?” Looking right at the Pharisees, Jesus then says to the man, “Stretch out your hand,” and the man’s hand is restored (Luke 6:6–10).

Both events infuriated the Pharisees while teaching us a very important lesson about Sabbath rest. Sabbath means rest for the restless and unburdening the burdened. The entire purpose of the Sabbath is restoration. Jesus could have waited to heal this man, but he didn’t. Instead, he restored the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath. Likewise, Jesus restores us as we find rest in him. Through his resurrection, Jesus became the truer and better Sabbath, allowing us to forever cease laboring to attain God’s favor and to rest in his mercy and grace.

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