In the first reading today from Hebrews 4, we read about entering into God’s rest. More on that in a moment. In the Gospel reading from Mark 2, we see the story of the friends who bring their paralytic friend to Jesus to be healed. Not being able to get in through the door, they take him on the roof and lower him down to Jesus. Jesus heals the man, and forgives his sins. Some of the scribes present considered Jesus a blasphemer. And Jesus says, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” – he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
“Let us be on guard while the promise of entering into his rest remains…” This is the opening line of our first reading today from Hebrews 4. This word, “rest,” takes on multiple meanings in light of today’s passage. I thought it might be good to briefly explore some of these meanings. The first is the sabbath rest from Genesis 2. “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” In the Old Testament, this word in this context also refers to the promised land. Because the Israelites had been unfaithful, God would not let that generation see the promised land. And a final meaning is, of course, heaven; our final place of rest with God.
Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and are weary…and I will give you rest.” When we think about “entering God’s rest,” we can think of this in these many different ways. It is a rest that we can enjoy in the here and now. When all the stuff of the world is closing in on us, we can simply turn our hearts to God and experience this rest. And when we place all our trust in Christ Jesus, we will enter God’s rest not just for a moment, but for eternity.
Father, let us enter into your rest…today and forever, as we turn our hearts to you. Amen.