On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment…
The day after the terror of ‘Good’ Friday, all we are told about the disciples is that they rested. But clearly their rest was far from peaceful. The truth is that Saturday, the day when it seems all has failed and God is absent, is the only pathway to Sunday. But how can we find peace in the midst of the questions?
It is here that the Christian faith differs from all relaxation techniques and methods of peace-finding. As Tim Keller points out, the standard mantra is that one finds peace in the midst of turmoil by thinking less, by escaping to your happy place and getting your mind off the troubling questions. Relaxation spas all over the world are filled with little Buddhas precisely because his system holds that suffering is but another illusion. But Christianity says that in order to find peace on Saturday, the disciples of Jesus shouldn’t have forced themselves to think less, they should have been intent on thinking more about what they believed.
On Saturday a Christian finds peace by fixing his whole mind on two unchanging truths: God’s promises and God’s character.
For the disciples to have peace they needed to think on the promises of God’s word, and especially what the Word in the flesh, Jesus, had told them. Not only had the prophets predicted everything about Jesus, but he himself had predicted what was going to happen. They knew he had prophesied that he would be raised on the third day. He had said it over and over again. This wasn’t something they could have missed. They certainly knew, because Matthew tells us even the Pharisees knew full well about this prophecy. It was mentioned at Jesus’ trial. This is why they put the guards at the tomb, because everyone knew about the prophecy. They just didn’t think it would actually happen. The disciples needed to remember Jesus’ words to them, even though the words didn’t seem to make sense at the time.
The first source of peace on Saturday comes through the promises of God spoken to us corporately through his Word and personally by his Spirit. I need to remember who God says I am, the promises he has made, his prophetic word. This is what God has said to us. We also have God’s written word with promises addressed to us, and we have God’s Spirit speaking to us personally.
On Saturday, we must fix our attention on who God is.
Secondly, not only are promises enough to sustain us, but if we would only think clearly about the truth of who God is we will have a tremendous resource for inner peace. Think about who God is: the all-powerful creator of heaven and earth, he holds time in his hands, he knows the beginning from the end, he is the same yesterday, today and forever, he knew you from your mother’s womb. God is all-powerful, eternal, all-knowing, and says he not only loves but is love. When you add these truths together, along with God’s promises that he works “all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to him purposes”, what possible reason could there be to fear?
On your Saturday, think more about what you believe. Lack of peace doesn’t come from thinking too much, it comes from not thinking enough about the truth.
But once we know these things, we have to actively trust him. This is faith: trusting God’s promises on the basis of who He is and what He has done. Faith is trusting God, not just blindly, for no reason, but on the basis of his character, proven by his actions. What he has done proves to us who he is–that what he has said is worth trusting. Absolute confidence is the only logical response. Not just the best response, but the only response which makes sense. This is what Jesus had and the disciples needed. Jesus knew the word and what needed to happen, then the promises strengthened him for the moment and allowed him to trust his father even when felt most abandoned.
On Saturday we must turn to the truth that will sustain us. We can trust God’s promises because of who he is, and who he is has been proven by what he has done for us.