March 30, 2013

Luke 23:56 But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

In the past I have been struck by how, even in these extreme circumstances, the women kept the commandment of resting on the Sabbath. However, just now I noticed that the Japanese moves the “but” to the end of the sentence, which changes the tone entirely. That way, it gives the very realistic picture of their obeying the letter of the law, but impatiently, which would fit perfectly with their going to the tomb so early in the morning. Jesus had made it clear that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) However, it was those who had come down on Him most strongly because of that position who were responsible for His being crucified, so fear was probably operative in the women’s appearance of piety. Fear was certainly operative in Jesus’ male disciples at this point! I frequently tell people that one thing I love about the Bible is how it presents people as they are, unpolished, and says that God loves us anyway. To me, this is further evidence of that.

I’ve got to remember in practical terms that Jesus died for us in all our imperfection. As Paul expressed so beautifully in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I am not to go around demanding perfection, in myself or in others. We are to strive toward perfection, since Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” (Matthew 5:48) but remember that the fulfillment of that will come only when we stand before God’s throne in heaven. It is only when we abide fully in Christ that we express perfection on this earth. He is indeed perfect, and what He does through us is likewise perfect, if we will stay out of the way.

Father, You know better than I do how much trouble I have staying out of the way! Thank You for yesterday, that it was Good Friday and for the deeper appreciation of it that You gave me this year. Today is an interesting hole in the Church calendar, the blank between the cross and resurrection. Help me spend this day as You want me to, continuing to internalize all that Easter means, so that I may be increasingly useful to You in the days, weeks, and years ahead, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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