Rev. Joy Ireland – “God’s Ultimate Mission Honors Sabbath”
“It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea…went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body…When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.” -- Mark 15:42-43; 16:1
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the climax of Scripture. The fulfillment of God’s ultimate mission on behalf of humanity that paves the way to a heavenly eternity for Old Testament God-fearers and New Testament Christ-followers alike. Surely God could set this plan in motion whenever and in whatever manner desired; surely the weight of this particular mission could trump seemingly smaller laws. And yet Mark makes it a point to emphasize that even God’s ultimate mission honored Sabbath.
Jesus’ death came sooner than expected (vs. 44) so that all involved could live in obedience to the rhythm of life set forth at Creation. Though Jesus was “Lord of the Sabbath”, He did not undermine it. As a result, neither Joseph of Arimathea nor the women dishonored the call to rest.
If God was so intentional about all this timing in relation to bringing redemption to the world, how much more should we strive to mirror the sensitivity of Sabbath observance into our own lives? The God of the universe didn’t use a trump card. Neither should we. How are you doing at following Christ’s example and allowing Sabbath obedience to determine your life’s mission?
- Rev. Joy Ireland, former Assistant Chaplain, Campus Ministries