You would think that creating everything, literally everything, in only six days would be hard work. No time for union breaks with that kind of schedule. The universe, all of the galaxies in existence, including our own. Planets. Sun. Moon. Stars. Water. Dry land. Animals. Birds. People. That’s a long to-do list for only six days. Sounds tough. Sounds exhausting, right?
Not for God. The Bible says that He created it all just by speaking it into existence. That’s the power of God. Just a word is all it takes for Him to make something out of nothing, and for it to be just right on the first try.
So why did God rest on the seventh day? If it wasn’t an exhausting process for Him, and if He is so powerful that creation was not only easy but most likely fun for Him, then why did He need to rest on that last day of the creation week?
Well, because the work was done. God looked around and realized that with His final creation of mankind complete, He saw that it was “very good.” The work was done. Complete. Finished. Man was created in God’s image, to walk in perfect sync with God. To go through life in harmony, to spend eternity in peaceful fellowship with God.
Sin destroyed that harmony. The peace was gone, the sync was interrupted, the fellowship broken. God’s rest was over. There was work to do.
So the rest of the Bible is the story of God’s work of redemption. The story of God sending a very part of Himself, Jesus, to the earth, to handle the final steps of the process hands-on. After all, if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. So Jesus walked with us, lived among us, was bruised like us….. bled like us. He was tempted like us, but He never sinned. He was a perfect, unblemished, ultimate sacrifice to buy us back, to pay our debt, and to restore us.
There are two times in the Bible that we read about God (in heavenly form) resting. The first is in Genesis, in the story of creation. God rested on the seventh day, when the work was done.
The second is in the book of Hebrews. Before Jesus died in our place, as our ultimate sacrifice, God’s people had to make regular sacrifices as a form of payment for their sins. We read about that all through the Old Testament. They would bring their sacrifice to the temple, where a priest would ceremonially offer it to God. There were a lot of people, and there was a lot of sin, so the high priests had to work hard. They worked day and night, around the clock, submitting these peace offerings to God. Often these men were older, and this hard work took a toll on them. It wasn’t unheard of for a high priest to die while on duty. They never got a break, never sat down, never relaxed until their time of duty was complete.
The author of the book of Hebrews describes Jesus as the “great High Priest.” Since he was writing to Hebrew people, the author used language they would understand. The high priests were the go-between for God’s people. Jesus was now the intercessor.
Hebrews 7:26-27 says,
“He (Jesus) is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy, blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once and for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.”
Once and for all. The final sacrifice. So then, in Hebrews 8:1, we read one of the most incredible verses in all of the Bible:
“Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven.”
We have a High Priest who WHAT?!?! Sat down? That’s only possible if……the work is done. Once and for all. Finished.
The work is complete. Jesus’ mission to earth was successful, and now redemption is available to us. Mercy, grace, forgiveness, it’s all there. Waiting, hoping, that we will accept it.
The simple fact that Jesus sat down means that we no longer have to be separated from God. We can be restored. My favorite Old Testament name for God is Jehovah Tsidkenu, which means “The Lord is our Righteousness.” That means, for us, that when we accept Jesus as the Lord of our lives, when God looks at us, He sees Jesus. We’re bought and restored. When Jesus was on the cross and He breathed His last breath, every fiber of His body and every drop of His blood shouted so loud that the earth’s very foundations were rocked, “IT IS FINISHED!”
And when He rose from the dead, all of creation breathed a sigh of relief and God spoke the word: “Life.” And He saw that it was very good.
So what are you waiting for? It’s in your hands. God’s work is finished. Now it’s up to you and me.