Not much is said about the day after Jesus died. We know it was the Sabbath. But it must have been a somber, quiet, sad, reflective Sabbath for the followers of Jesus. Even the religious leaders had to know something was different. For they were still concerned about the body of Jesus and the disciples stealing it.
What strikes me is a comparison of the events of that original Easter Weekend. For six hours one Friday, He hung on the merciless and cruel cross of sin-fill hatred, dying in the place I deserved. After those six hours, in keeping with His own commandments and heavenly law that predates even creation, He rests on the seventh day. Thus I can't help but reflect back to creation--the six days at the beginning of earth's history where Jesus created our planet, solar system (and more). But on the seventh day of creation week He rested. ...
Matthew and Mark make it clear when Jesus was resurrected: It was the first day of the week--the day following the Sabbath, which followed the Day of Preparation--or Friday (cf Matthew 27:62, 28:1, Mark 15:42, 16:1-2). Interesting to me that they qualify what day it was in relation to the seventh-day Sabbath. Clearly we see that when Matthew wrote his Gospel, and Mark wrote his, the first day of the week was still that--the first day. In their minds, Sabbath was still the day of God's creation: Holy, for rest and worship. If the Holy Day of rest and worship had been changed by Jesus at His resurrection, one would expect Matthew or Mark to tell us.
Consider that while we don't know the exact date for writing, many believe Matthew was most likely written in the 50s AD, and Mark in the early 60s AD during the Nero Persecution. So in the very writing of their Gospels, we are reminded that they themselves, 20 and 30 years later, were still observing the seventh-day of the week as the Sabbath of the Lord God and not some other day.
Thus I join the world in celebrating the Lord's resurrection on a Sunday morning. But I will continue to keep holy the seventh-day of God's creation for worship and rest.
Just as His disciples did.
Just as Jesus did.
Last Sabbath afternoon was the Pathfinder Bible Experience, or PBE, Conference round held at the Graham, WA, Adventist Church. What is PBE? It's Pathfinder teams of six, who have studied the book of Exodus, and then answer 90 quiz questions. The PBE has several levels, the regional area where regional clubs compete. Then after the regional, there is a Conference level, followed by Union, and then finally, the Division level.
To advance through the levels, your club must answer at least 90% of the total questions, or be within 10% of the top scoring team. In other words, you don't compete against each other, only yourself.
My son Dominic's team has done well enough to advance to the Union level competition (which will be next week in Chehalis, WA). If they do well there, the Division level testing is in Prescott, Arizona, the weekend of April 15-16.
We have discovered that the best way to progress through these competitions is to memorize the Scriptures. Dominic himself has memorized 6 chapters in the book Exodus, mostly having to do with the Tabernacle and priestly dress. The other five kids on the team have also done their part to memorize chapters to better be able to answer the questions. We will see how they do next week!
Thinking about Dominic's team leads me to another thought: I have been reading the book, "Lead Like Jesus," that is so good, I recommend it to everyone--especially those who serve on our Church Board. Anyway, on page 170, the authors give several reasons for Bible memorization. Consider these:
1) It's a deeper way to get the Word of God into our hearts. When it's memorized it's deeper, it's more meaningful, and we literally take possession of it to live it.
2) It helps to keep us from sinning against God. Scripture says, "Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11). I can't help but remember the temptations of Satan to Jesus. He quoted Scripture and made some pretty amazing promises--at least from an earthly perspective. Satan had even tried to misquote Scripture to Jesus to confuse Him--just as he misquoted God when he deceived Eve! But Jesus responded by correctly quoting the Scriptures, leaving Satan nothing to do but move on!
3) It prepares you to give answers for your faith when questioned. In 1 Peter 3:15, the Apostle beckons to us to "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have."
4) It gives direction for us in daily life at any moment. Being able to quote and recite Scripture gives us things to think about, and really meditate on. Deuteronomy 6:6 says that "These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts." Thus, we can have constant obedience to God when we have take the time to take God's word to heart.
Did you know that J.N. Andrews, one of our Adventist Church pioneers and first official overseas missionary had the entire New Testament fully memorized, and great sections of the Old Testament as well?
It's possible to do it. A little at a time. All of us can take God's Word and hide it in our hearts. By the way, next year the books of the Bible for the Pathfinder Bible Experience teams are Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. When Dominic heard that he exclaimed, "Dad, I'll be able to memorize an entire book of the Bible!"
Of course he can. I'm excited for that enthusiasm in an 12 year old boy. And you can too! Try it with me today. Memorize a new verse of the Bible today. And then tomorrow, recite today's verse, and memorize the next. You'll do it!
Pastor Ben is a pastor, marriage counselor, and international lecturer on Bible prophecy for more than 18 years. His lectures and preaching appointments have taken him to Europe, Australia, and Central America. He currently serves as the Lead Pastor for the South Tacoma Adventist Fellowship in Tacoma, WA.