Jeff Atchison

WE BEGIN WITH REST - Mark 2:27–28, Luke 6:5, Luke 13:14, Isaiah 58:13–14 Jesus’ words, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” say to the Christian, “Find your weekly refreshment in ME!” In a seventh–day Sabbath, the emphasis is on six days of work first, and then the Sabbath day for rest. The work comes first, and then the rest. Jesus redefined the cycle of the work week: we rest first, then we work! The Christian’s “Lord’s Day” is typically Sunday: He rose on the first day of the week. His notable appearances to the disciples were on the first days of the week. Pentecost was on the first day of the week. The early church gathered on this new “Lord’s Day”—Sunday. Now, we aren’t to wrangle about days of worship (Romans 14). In fact, the early church would gather on every day to worship Jesus together. But the fact remains: Sunday is...

A FAULTY SYSTEM OF WORKS - Luke 6:9–11, Luke 6:5, Ephesians 2:8–9, Titus 3:4–6 Jesus’ words, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” say to the religious person, “We are saved by grace, and not by works.” Sometimes our actions have the exact opposite result than we desired or expected: Trying to slowly ease yourself into a cold pool. Once your foot feels the cold, you aren’t getting in. Trying to diet by only taking a small sample of a delectable chocolate cake in order to ease your temptation. Once you’ve tasted it, you are going to devour a huge piece. Trying to deal with your tantrum throwing toddler by getting angry and yelling at them, and you end up freaking out right alongside them, being reduced to their same infantile level of insanity. The Pharisees legalistic control of the Sabbath achieved exactly opposite of what they intended. They wanted to...

CHRIST OUR CREATOR -  Exodus 20:11, Deuteronomy 5:15, Isaiah 58:13–14, Luke 6:5 Jesus’ words, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” say to the theologian, “Jesus is God!” The Greek word “Lord” in the New Testament (“kurios”) has the basic meaning of “Master” – but is also used to translate the Old Testament’s “Yahweh,” or “the Lord,” as most Bible render it. Not only was Jesus laying claim to the Sabbath as its new Master, He was also making a divine claim—that He was God! Consider this: Throughout the Bible, God lays claim to the first portion of every good thing He gives His people, so they would remember Him. God gave all the trees to Adam, except one The first city of Joshua’s conquest, Jericho, was to be given to God and not touched as booty The first–born children required a special sacrifice to give thanks to God for rescuing His Firstborn...

CHRIST OUR IDENTITY - Exodus 31:13, Luke 6:5, Galatians 2:20 Jesus’ words, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” say to the Jew, “Let Me be your identity!” God’s covenant with Moses was the sign of the Sabbath. It was given to remind Israel of their Creator. Unlike Abraham’s sign of circumcision, which was private and hidden, Moses’ sign was public and visible. The Sabbath became the national sign—how Israel was best identified among all the other nations on earth. And Jesus laid claim to their most visible, national identification! Some national holidays in America have been redefined over time: Labor Day is no longer a day for labor unions to organize and have member meetings. It is now a day to mark the end of summer and have a BBQ. Columbus Day is being widely replaced with “Indigenous People’s Day.” Thanksgiving is less about giving thanks to God for our nation, and...

SABBATH SURRENDER - Luke 6:2 & 7, John 11:47–48, Luke 22:25–26, James 4:13–15 Jesus’ words, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” say to the Pharisee, “You are not large and in charge – I am!” The term “Lord” in the New Testament is used for both, “Master” and “Lord God.” The simplest meaning of “Lord of the Sabbath” is that Jesus is claiming to have authority to call the shots on this most critical day. But, the Pharisees wouldn’t give up their self–appointed position as “masters” of the Sabbath easily! You see, the Pharisees saw it at their duty to enforce the Sabbath, and the other details of the Law of Moses, in order to protect Israel from another exile to a foreign nation. They were the “masters” of the Sabbath—as a matter of national survival! But, because they weren’t simply trusting God’s word, they ruined the intent of the Sabbath for everyone! What...

[The original article can be found at my personal blog.] A Discipleship Devotional from Mark 9:1–8 There is a truth–gem hiding away in the Mount of Transfiguration account about Peter, James, and John. The clue to this gem is found in the two ancient prophets that God sends to honor Jesus: Moses and Elijah. Part One: The Background (feel free to skip down to the “Big Lesson” if you want a shorter devotional reading). First: why did Jesus pick Peter, James, and John to be His inner circle of ministry training? There are several explanations for this: #1 • As an example effective leadership training. Jesus ministered to great crowds, but there was a group of a hundred or so who seemed to be following Him closely, including the wonderful women who supported the ministry in practical ways. Jesus selected the Twelve to specifically invest in as His apostles – His personal representatives. But even the Perfect Leader, Jesus, showed us the importance...

We have an ongoing debate in Christianity over how and when God created the earth and, especially, mankind. There are both “Old Earth” and “Young Earth” Christians – who love Jesus and believe the Bible to be inspired and inerrant. If we were to take an anonymous poll of the Bible–believing folks in our church, I think we’d find...