Why Jesus Won’t Rest

My children are working their way through the Bible this summer, reading stories and answering questions about them. The other day, one of the questions was, “What did God do on the 7th day?”. My son wrote down in his journal, “God took a nap”. I laughed out loud when I read it. You see, when I tell my kids to go have some rest time, they inevitably fall asleep. So, if God rested, in my son’s mind, then He must’ve slept.

God rested after 6 days of creation. He commanded the nation of Israel to set aside a Sabbath day to rest when He began feeding them manna. The Teachers of the Law came up with a gazillion rules to obey on the Sabbath so that one could be sure they were resting appropriately. So why does Jesus say in John 5:17, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working”?

I read a book this summer entitled Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old TestamentThe author, John Walton, explains the cultural understanding of rest during Biblical times. They believed that a god would rest when he had finished accomplishing his divine purpose. So when God was finished creating, He rested. So why wasn’t Jesus resting on that fateful day on the Sabbath? He hadn’t finished His work yet.

So what was the work that He was still “working” on? Bringing healing and wholeness and freedom from the shackles of the law. 

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, it says He sat down at the right hand of the majesty of Heaven (Hebrews 1:3). When He had finished providing purification from sins, He rested. But the author of Hebrews goes on to say in 7:25 that He always lives to intercede for us. Yep, He’s still working. He’s praying us all the way home.

Have you been waiting for an answer for a long time and it’s just not coming? He’s still working. Have you grown weary fighting a battle and the deliverance just won’t come? He’s still working. Is your hope failing and your faith wavering? He’s still working,

Jude 24 says He is able to keep us from falling and to present us before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy. He won’t rest until we’re there. I can picture Him perched on the edge of His throne just waiting for the victor to be ushered into the very presence of God.

He won’t take a nap. He will never quit until every last one of His children are home.

He’s still working.