God desires that we enter into His rest and has provided everything that we could need- forgiveness of our iniquities, freedom from the slavery of sin, divine healing (physical, mental or emotional).
Our High Priest, Jesus, lived His whole life in God’s rest. He did nothing on His own initiative, but only that which His Father told Him.1 He, through His Spirit, wants to guide us to enter into that rest.
A good friend of mine called me one day on the phone. He was all worked up. He was in the process of entering into the rest and he had seen the rest which was at work in Jesus’ life. He was amazed. Jesus did not go around the earth grabbing onto people and forcing them to avoid hell- and Jesus knew better than anyone what hell was really like.
Jesus just did what His Father told him. He did not react to the need. Rather, He followed the leading of God.
Everything Jesus did, He did in submission to the Holy Spirit, just like you and I need to do!1 And living like this, He showed us the amazing things that God can do. He showed us what a man or a woman that is submitted to God can achieve.2
Our Great High Priest knows very well what life down here is like and what it can be like if we live it in the Spirit. If Jesus preferred to live submitted to His Father’s will, it was because living is better that way.
This is why he was able to pass by the pool of Bethesda and reach out to heal only one of the many people there needing healing.3 He surely must have gone many, many times by the Gate Beautiful in the Temple, but healing the lame man that was begging there would be Peter’s task in a few months.4 He did not react to the need, He followed the leading of God.
As it says in the last part of Hebrews chapter 4, our High Priest has done absolutely everything necessary to help us to enter into His rest. This is His desire. He is insistent that each one of us enter into the rest.5
He sat down at the right hand of the throne in heaven.6 He has everything under control. He has years of experience. He knows very well what He is doing. God never panics. And this is what He wants life to be like on earth, too. It is a pretty lame testimony to say, “Be a born-again Christian and stressed like me”.
This rest from God sure sounds good. But our mentality in the 21st century insists that we are not responsible citizens unless we live stressed out. We need these verses about the rest at the end of this chapter in Hebrews that tell us to labor to enter into that rest and that they that enter God’s rest cease from their own works just as God did from His. Only when we cease from our own works will He begin to do His works through us.
Jesus was tempted to do things in His own strength, even by his own friends and family.7 But He didn’t do them. He was obedient to God, submitted to God, and above all, living in God’s rest. Being stressed out or fried is not a characteristic of good, productive Christians.
1- John 14:10 2- John 5:1-8 3- John 14:12 4- Acts 3:10 5- Hebrews 4:1 6- Mark 16:19 7- John 7:3-5, Matthew 16:21-23