John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

One Week to Live: Thursday

This week, as we think about the passion of Jesus, I’ll be posting some excerpts from my last book, The 52 Greatest Stories of the Bible. ———-

The whole week was full to overflowing, pregnant with meaning and import. It would get even heavier as it moved toward the grand finale: the brooding tune of Thursday evening's meal, the somber sound of devastating loss that was that Friday afternoon, the silent and uncertain pause that was Saturday, the eternally resonating major chord of victory that was Sunday morning.

But before He got there, it appears that Jesus took a day off. Nothing is recorded about His whereabouts or activities on Wednesday. Perhaps He was making plans with a cryptic man who appeared to Peter and John carrying a water jug. Perhaps He was watching Judas wrestle with the demons that would prompt him to do his dastardly deed. Perhaps He spent the day praying and gathering His thoughts.

Regardless, it's instructive that Jesus chose to do nothing with one of His last days that the biblical writers deemed noteworthy. Because here we see another patten in Jesus' life: He observed a rhythm of work and rest. He plunged Himself headlong into ministry, working from sun up to sundown, healing, teaching, feeding and touching. And then He withdrew from the crowds, carving out time for rest and solitude. Then once more into the breach He charged, only to retreat again when He felt it was time for a little R&R.

You can't really call the life He led "balanced." It's not like He had a Day-Timer or a Blackberry and scheduled every hour of His days: Let's see, I spent an hour alone today, so that means I can spend an hour with people. He just seems to have felt it, like a rhythm.

There are some personality types who are particularly prone to working all the time. If there's work to be done -- one person who hasn't heard the good news about Jesus, or someone in the hospital who hasn't been visited -- these people are on the go. They say things like, "I can rest when I'm with the Lord" or "I'd rather burn out than rust out." Either way, you're out, so I'm not sure why either is an acceptable option.

For those of us who are more likely to work, work, work, it's important to see that Jesus, at this point, had only a few dozen hours left on this earth. And He chose to rest. He chose to do nothing of interest. He took a day off.

One of the reasons why taking a day off is so important is that it forces you to remember that everything isn't dependent upon you. Like Jesus, you have a Father in heaven who is constantly at work. The assurance of this is what makes rest possible.

Jesus could have been uptight and fussy, gathering His disciples for late-night cram sessions all week long. But He knew that the Helper would come and do His work in His time. Jesus would do what He could and leave the rest up to His Father and the Holy Spirit.

Now if that's the way Jesus lived, do you suppose you could try to get some rest this weekend?