Holy Week – Saturday – Empty

Matthew 27:62-66; Luke 23:54b

There is simply not much written about Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath day which followed Jesus’ death. It’s an empty day. The hearts of His disciples were empty too. They were hurting and mourning. They were fearful for what their own future held and overwhelmingly disappointed as their hopes and dreams had been destroyed. It appeared that Jesus had not been all that they had believed. They were wrong. he was much more than they imagined, but they didn’t see it yet. Saturday was as empty day for them. Rock bottom.

On the other hand, the chief priests were elated. They had accomplished their goal and rid themselves of Jesus. The only thing Scripture tells us about Saturday is that the chief priests went to Pilate to have him secure Jesus’ tomb. They tell Pilate that they remember Jesus saying that he would rise after 3 days  so they wanted a Roman seal and a Roman guard to make sure that the disciples didn’t steal His body and claim resurrection.

There are a few interesting points here:

1) Jesus’ disciples didn’t seem to remember His promise about rising in 3 days, but His enemies were taking his words seriously.

2) The disciples have run away and are fearful of being arrested themselves. Are the chief priests really afraid of the disciples stealing the body or are they afraid that Jesus might actually rise from the dead?

3) David Guzik (in his commentary) makes this point. The power of Jesus’ resurrection overcomes physical obstacles (the stone), human authority (Roman seal), and human strength (Roman guard). Nothing stands in God’s way.

Luke 23:54b tells us that the disciples rested on the Sabbath day. I don’t believe it would have been quite so restful inwardly, but it seems as though they continued in the patterns and rhythms of life they had developed throughout their lives.

Inner monologue: In what ways do I live as though Jesus is dead? How often do I make decisions relying upon human strength or reason rather than on the power of God? Am I broken and empty when I imagine a world without Jesus or is it business as usual? Will the patterns and rhythms of life I’m choosing now be helpful when I go through tough times?

Enoughness

EnoughI’ve had a few more thoughts about the quote from class the other night. Here’s the quote again:

Nathaniel Brandon, “In considering the many parental messages that may have a detrimental effect on a child’s self-esteem, there is probably none I encounter more than some version of “You are not enough”. . . The tragedy of many people’s lives is that in accepting the verdict that they are not enough, they may spend years exhausting themselves in pursuit of the Holy Grail of enoughness.”

Enoughness – isn’t that what God addressed when he gave us the Sabbath? Here’s what I mean. Before the institution of the Sabbath, the nation of Israel was in slavery in Egypt. Their value and worth was directly related to the number of bricks they could make – or how many blocks they could move – or how much dirt they could shovel. Their value was tied to what they could do – how much they could perform. When God rescued them from Egypt, one of the first things he did is institute the Sabbath – it was kinda like God was saying, “Look, you guys are valuable to me simply for being who you are. I want you to  spend one day a week doing nothing so that you can remember that you are my chosen people. Remember that you don’t have to do anything to earn my love and acceptance. You are enough because I made you enough – not because you did anything to earn it, but because I chose you. Remember how much I love you.”

As a Christian, I am enough too! I have been chosen, not for my works, but simply because God saw it as His good pleasure to choose me. Wow! That’s what I want Kasen to understand. For that matter, that’s what I want everyone to understand. How can I communicate that better? Maybe, there’s not a “better” way to say it – maybe I just need to keep saying it – to keep bringing it up – to pound it into people’s heads. Maybe I should say it enough that people can finish my sentence – I don’t know – I just know that I think it’s that important!

Cruising through School

Leaving_progresso No, I’m not trying to say that school is a breeze. It’s just that Miranda and I went on a cruise last week and I missed out on class. We had an incredible time.

I guess when it comes to school, in some ways I could say I’ve been “cruising” through. It’s not been easy sailing, but I guess it’s just the right time in my life for me to be in school. I’m really enjoying all that I’ve been learning and it seems like the time is going rather quickly. Up to this point, I’ve completed three classes and received “A”s on at least the first two. (I feel like I’ll get an “A” on the other one too) It’s been a whole lot of work and certainly requires more time than I ever imagined, but it’s just been really interesting – it’s not a painful process for me like school was for me years ago.

I had to read some while I was on my cruise and ended up even doing some homework while I was there. I had made plans to not take any homework with me, and really could have gotten away with not doing any of it, but I discovered that I wanted to do it. Now that’s really weird – “wanting” to do homework. What’s wrong with me??

We got to do lots of stuff on the trip – swam in a cenote (underground river) and saw Chichen Itza (Mayan Ruins) not to mention all the great food and shows on the ship. I even laid on the ruins of a table where the Mayan’s practiced human sacrifice. Living_sacrifice_01_on_sacrificial_table I call it my “living sacrifice” pic. The more I’ve thought about it since then, the more guilty I feel for doing it. I certainly didn’t want to be disrespectful to the people, but I guess it didn’t really occur to me in the moment ’cause there were lots of people running around back and forth over the spot where I was. For all I know, maybe that isn’t even the real spot, but it was the best we could figure.

We also got to know the people who we ate dinner with on the ship each night. I don’t think any of them were really church goers. One couple certainly was not and the other two couples talked about how they spent most of their weekends on Texas lakes with their boats. Anyway, Miranda and I were wondering what would a church look like that they would consider attending? Would they come if the services were on Wednesday night or sometime other than Sunday morning? There’s nothing Scriptural that says we as NT Christians are bound to the Sabbath, or even that Sunday is the new Sabbath. Our culture has adopted that from the early Christians who enjoyed celebrating on Sunday because it was the day of the resurrection. Would there be anything wrong with Wednesday being the day of worship? Some might say that Wednesday doesn’t work ’cause it’s a “work day,” but wasn’t Sunday a “work day” for the first Christians? Besides, if worship is a lifestyle and not an event, isn’t every day supposed to be a “day of worship?” Anyway, these are just some of our thoughts. . . . .what do you guys think?

Bricks and the Sabbath

06-10-10Here’s some stuff I learned from a podcast with Rob Bell regarding Sabbath.

Sabbath is a “gift” from God. It’s not about this day or that day or the details of how you spend it (Anytime legalism enters the picture, it becomes a “duty” and not a “gift” anymore.) God gave Israel the Sabbath when they left Egypt. While in captivity, Israel was judged and given worth solely on how many bricks they could produce. If you couldn’t produce any bricks, you could be killed. You were “worthless.” The slave master says, “Your worth is based on what you can produce,” but God says, “No! Rest today and realize that you are loved and valued. You are worthy simply because of who you are – not what you do.”

Abraham Joshua Heshel says, “Sabbath gives the world the energy it needs to exist another six days.”

What is the day of the week that you turn off your cell phone? When you don’t produce or create? When your work is simply to “be?”

Rob Bell says, “I think your soul dies without it; you may still be living but. . . .” He also says, “I ask God to put me back together on that day so I can go another six days.”

Sabbath is full scale rebellion against western/American culture.

You also have to prepare for it all week. Jews today invite the “spirit of Sabbath” in. As you prepare for it, you are reminded again that God loves you for who you are and not just what you do – the Sabbath “leaks” and “bleeds” into the other six days.

Our western/American bodies are addicted to the adrenaline rush of our lives. If you can only pray a few minutes, maybe it’s not that you don’t love God, but that your body simply doesn’t know how to focus on one thing. We have trained our bodies and minds to multi-task, but this is contrary to Sabbath. Our brains are so used to being in 100 places, that when we ask it to be in one place, it doesn’t know how.