Faith and the “ability” to sabbath go hand in hand. I must believe that Jesus is able to overcome what I have no ability to even manage. In Mark 4:38, Jesus was asleep in the stern on the boat as the storm raged. The disciple’s charge leveled at Jesus in the form of a question was, “…do you not care that we are perishing?”
The disciples mistakenly believe that the success of their journey lies within their ability to either avoid the storm or overcome it’s rage in the middle. At this point they clearly were not able to forecast the storm, or they wouldn’t have left when they did, so they find themselves in the middle of a surprise storm meteorological event, and the waves are filling the boat, and they clearly can’t manage that tragedy. What are they to do? I have an idea! Let’s throw shade on Jesus’ concern for us! That’ll help. Ok, check the sarcasm.
Of course they were not trying to intentionally throw shade on Jesus. They were afraid and desperate, and they did believe in Jesus, and the circumstances look out of his control. I mean, if he cared, why would they even be caught in a storm in the first place?
It’s not like they haven’t seen/heard of Jesus’ miraculous power at this point of Mark’s narrative. But what they are experiencing at this point is stretching their faith a tad.
Jesus has already broken extra-biblical Sabbath laws in chapter 3, so it’s clear that Jesus view of Sabbath is grinding hard on the cultural Judaism’s view of Sabbath. Jesus is relieving, healing, “kingdoming” and you name it all over their Sabbath beliefs, and folks are a little ready to be done with Jesus (they had already huddled on how to kill him). But when it’s time to do some rescuing of the dudes who have left everything to follow him, he’s asleep in the back of the boat while they are preparing to drown.
Here’s the conflict…the people, due to the religious leader’s extra-biblical teaching, see Sabbath as a set of man-made laws and have missed the bible’s teaching on Sabbath while Jesus is living in the Sabbath he created and the Sabbath rest he is bringing to fulfillment in his life, upcoming death, resurrection and ascension. Jesus is modeling for the disciples how to live in the salvation of Sabbath rest. Jesus is living at the pace of the kingdom which is light and easy and full of working and rest and peace and trust…all at the same time.
This idea that one can work and be at peace with sufficient labor and fretless sleep while on mission is just not computing. Jesus healed on the Sabbath and is now asleep on a comfy cushion while the boat is sinking during work time. What gives?
Jesus speaks to the storm, and it calms down (it had to because wind and water’s Creator just spoke a decree to it, so they had to obey). Jesus then said, “Why are you still afraid? Have you still no faith?
Do you see it? Faith and Sabbath go hand in hand.
My trust that Jesus is actually doing the heavy lifting leads me to see even storms as opportunities for Jesus to do what I can’t, so I cease striving and know that he is God, not me.
Easy to say. Hard to practice because I have a new Sabbath heart that delights to obey God’s word beating inside a body that is still broken and tainted with the stain of the curse. So, I have to exercise faith and refuse to take on God’s part in making the work effective.
I hope you are striving to live in and love the easy yoke and light burden of walking with Jesus in the Sabbath of salvation. Don’t give up on it. It’s a fight worth having, and it is a fight. Your youth and vigor will likely lead you to overwork and under pray, trust and obey. Many of us have the scars to prove that we all do it. The Sabbath of salvation is a gospel joy purchased for us in Christ. Go get some!