3rd Quarter: REST IN CHRIST
Lesson 1 Living in a 24-7 Society
Wednesday: Defining Rest in the New Testament
Text: [[Mar 6:31]] ASV
And he saith unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while. For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
As we saw yesterday, the old testament Hebrew text had several words which explained the various types of rests. This isn’t peculiar to the OT alone, the NT also used different words to describe different forms of rest. One of such verbs is _anapauō_, which means to “rest, relax, refresh.” It is used in one of Jesus’ most famous statements on rest, Matt 11:28: “ ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’. It can refer to physical rest (Matt. 26:45). Another verb used to indicate rest is hēsychazō. It describes the Sabbath rest of the disciples as Jesus rested in the grave (Luke 23:56). But it also is used to describe living a quiet life (1 Thess. 4:11).
Just as in the Hebrew language where not all the rests needed were as a result of physical exhaustion, the Greek shares similar idea. The Greek verb _katapauō,_ which means to “cause to cease, bring to rest, rest,” points to the creation Sabbath in which the rest instituted was not because of tiredness. But it’s important to note that, God is so much interested in our rest from physical labor too. Our bodies weren’t designed to work continuously without break, and so irrespective of how important your work is, there must be time for rest.
The disciples came back to Christ from a missionary journey excited to share their stories. They were willing to go back to the fields and work again for their master. Note that this was the work Christ was much passionate about, but having seen the load of work already covered, Christ bid them retreat and get some rest. Working for God isn’t a reason not to rest. We can’t excuse ourselves with church work while we breakdown physically. God is a God of order, and even in our work for him, he expects us to rest.
What are ways of helping and relieving your local church pastor or elder or anyone you know who could be burned out from doing the Lord’s work? What could you do to express your appreciation and help this person find rest?