Reading Reflection:

(Yes, Again!) Living in God’s Two Kingdoms, David VanDrunen (Crossway, 2010) Sunday really is an important, meaningful day for worship. Have you ever wondered why the Sabbath changed from Saturday to Sunday after Christ’s death and resurrection? It’s really quite amazing. As noted earlier, there is a distinction between the common and the holy after the Fall.  Adam failed to earn for himself and his prodigy the new heavens and earth. In the Old Testament, Saturday worship correlated to that testimony—modeled after creation and the covenant of works unfulfilled, man is to work six days and rest on the seventh. Throughout the Old Testament this was a gift to God’s people, both a rest for their labors and a way to separate them from pagans.  Along with this day of rest, there was the year of Jubilee.  This was a year of liberation from debt after the perfect cycle, seven years times seven days, the fiftieth year. Now we can see that pointed to Christ, our true liberation!  Through his resurrection, Christ has accomplished this for us and reversed the observance of the Sabbath.   I’ll let VanDrunen enlighten you: What was the meaning of this different kind of Old Testament Sabbath? It pointed ahead to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. During his earthly ministry, Jesus announced on a Sabbath day (Saturday) the fulfillment of the proclamation of liberty, “the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:19; see vv.16-21). Jesus pointed Israel to himself as the one who brings the true and ultimate Jubilee for his people…He did it through the resurrection. Jesus rose “after the Sabbath” (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1), on the “first day of the week” (Luke 24:1; John 20:1)—Sunday. The timing is truly amazing. The day that Jesus lay dead in the tomb turned out to be the last Sabbath of the Old Testament era (for after his resurrection the old covenant was no more). Remember that the Old Testament Year of Jubilee had occurred on the fiftieth year—that is, the year immediately after the “perfect” number of Sabbath years (7 x 7 = 49). And thus Jesus rose from the dead on the day immediately after the number of Old Testament seventh-day Sabbaths had reached their complete and perfect number! His resurrection was the true Year of Jubilee. The weekly Old Testament Sabbath had looked back to God’s work of creation (Ex. 20:8-11) and reminded God’s people of the first Adam’s original obligation to work perfectly in this world and then obtain his rest. The resurrection now announces that Jesus, as the last Adam, has completed the task of the first Adam and has attained his reward of rest for the world-to-come… As the seventh-day Sabbath of Old Testament testified that the task assigned to the first Adam remained uncompleted, so the first-day Sabbath of the New Testament testifies that the last Adam has fulfilled it. By resting first and then working, the Christian doctrine of salvation is portrayed in live action. God first justifies us by uniting us to his resurrected Son in heaven apart from any work of our own, and then he calls us to work obediently in this world, not to earn our rest but to express our gratitude that the rest has already been earned by the work of another. We are still image-bearers of God, thus we are still Sabbath-keepers by nature. But we no longer bear the image after the pattern of the first Adam but after the pattern of Christ, the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:47-49; Rom. 8:29). We keep the Sabbath in a way that shows that the true rest has already been attained. We rest by free grace, and only then do we work (139-140). In light of this, look around amidst your brother and sisters in Christ at your next worship service. You are among a community of people who bear the name of your Savior.  Are you not highly privileged that your Father in heaven has set aside a holy day for you to gather in concert to worship him, together tasting that royal rest that is to come?  Now that I’ve posted a few articles and reflections on the church, here are some questions for further consideration: 1.      How would you describe your current attitude in regularly attending church on Sunday mornings?  How do you think your attitude affects your family’s view of the church service? 2.      Do you consider the church as consisting of both holy people and holy place?  How would that then affect:           ·         Your preparation before you go           ·         The way you view and treat others there           ·         How you would protect this time and space 3.      How is God uniquely present with us in our worship service in a way that is different from the rest of the week?  How are we much more privileged in this way than the believers of Old Testament times? 4.       Why is the language of the temple so important throughout scripture?  What is the meaning of the temple and why is it so significant? 5.      How is your own weekly routine a story about nothing?  Is that what Monday through Saturday is supposed to be for us—insignificant?  6.      What difference does Sunday make to our story?  In other words, how is our worship service an act of the future breaking into the present, reorienting our thinking and living between the “already” and the “not yet”?