By Renee Hoskins, Event Planner
The Day of Rest
John 12:36 tells us that Jesus withdrew and hid himself from the crowds. We can infer that this happened on a Tuesday, but the narrative doesn’t pick back up until Thursday. So we’re left with a full day that has no record in Scripture. And it seems that where silence exists, assumptions abound. Some have speculated that Jesus spent time with family. Others think he spent much of the day in prayer. I’m of the opinion that those are both likely options and can be accomplished in one day. But in all honesty, what happened that day doesn’t matter.
As Christians, our job with silences in Scripture is to reign in assumption and speculation, learning to trust in the sufficient work of the Word. When it comes to the Day of Rest in Holy Week, we don’t have any Scripture passages depicting what that day consisted of or looked like. So how are we to handle this unrecorded day? In 2 Timothy we are told that:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
This passage means that Scripture is sufficient. The day of rest in holy week shows us that sufficient doesn’t mean comprehensive – it can’t mean that since we have no account of this day. But comprehensiveness and sufficiency are not one and the same. If the bible claimed to be comprehensive for life, we would be expected to consult it for medical problems, recipes, and how to run the electricity in our houses. Thankfully, Scripture is all that we need for life and godliness. This is quite different and helps us to interpret chronological gaps in Scripture.
How We are Guided Through Scripture
There are a few parameters to keep in mind when reading Scripture that can be helpful. They may be basic, but that makes them no less important. One of the first things to keep in mind is that we are called to read the Bible in faith and trust. (Psalm 19:7-11)
Similar to the day of rest, think of the four hundred years of silence between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Is the Old Testament any less trustworthy because of the chronological gap between the two? No. We trust that everything God has intended for his saints to know has been enclosed in the canon of Scripture. So when we read about the account of Jesus’ life and death, we can trust it because it is the Word of God, not because it is chronologically comprehensive. At the conclusion of his gospel account, John says,
“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25
We don’t need to know these things to be able to place our trust in Jesus as our savior and grow daily in godliness.
A High View of Scripture
A high view of Scripture means that we regard it as God’s revelation to us; it is inspired by the Holy Spirit and is authoritative for our lives. An important aspect of holding a high view of Scripture is that we let Scripture interpret Scripture. When we come to a confusing passage, we don’t run to the conclusion that the Bible no longer makes sense or is in contradiction to itself. We look to other passages of Scripture that speak to the issue at hand. When other passages are silent, as in the case of the Day of Rest, we trust that the Lord has made all things we need to know attainable to us, not that a mistake has been made. Once again, this ties into the difference between comprehensiveness and sufficiency.
A simple way to apply this to your bible reading is asking two questions: “What can this not mean?” and “What can this mean?” For example, in Hebrews 4 we read that Jesus “learned obedience”. For a man who is perfect, both fully God and fully man, this sounds contradictory. Shouldn’t he already know obedience if he’s perfect? But because we believe in the deity of Christ, spoken of time and time again in several other bible passages, we know this cannot mean that Jesus was disobedient and then learned how to be obedient. The next logical question is “What can this mean?” Once the unhelpful parameters have been dealt with (answering the questions of what it can’t mean) the road to interpreting and reading the Bible correctly becomes much smoother.
Every Day Sufficiency
When it comes to the topic of sufficiency, I can’t help but ask myself, “Am I living in a way that would point to an insufficient Scripture?” Or perhaps more specifically for the topic at hand, “Am I celebrating Easter in a way that would point to an insufficient Scripture?” So often I find myself caught up in the things surrounding Easter; giving gift baskets, watching children scurry around to collect eggs, gathering for a family meal Sunday afternoon. But all these things are just the wrapping of the true gift. And like children who would rather play with the box a present came in, our hearts are so prone to wander and be distracted. But this season, pray that God would help you to be joyful for the right reason: Easter is the celebration of our risen Savior, who is seated at the right hand of God. And this message is perfectly presented in the sufficient work Scripture.