How can we take the Word seriously when He says contradictory things?
The first thing to understand is that He says nothing that is contradictory, having declared “the Scriptures cannot be broken [λυθῆναι – destroyed by breaking into pieces]” (John 10:35). This is shown in Christ’s death on the cross. The Word cannot be divided and it does not break – “He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken” (Psalm 34:20), and “But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water [the bride from His rib, the waters of baptism, in which are found the blood of the Lamb, which washes the inward parts]. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced’” (John 19:33-37). The Word of God cannot be broken (λυθῆναι), He cannot be broken into pieces nor destroyed. Again, Christ says that the Word must be “rightly handled” or “rightly divided” ((2 Timothy 2:13).
How then do we understand the seemingly contradictory passages? We start with the foundation:
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Why can they only be discerned spiritually, or by the Holy Spirit? Because they are hidden.
“. . . which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
In order to understand the Word, we must have the mind of the Author.
“. . . or ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
When we are in this place, abiding in the mind of Christ, we can begin to understand. Jesus is perfect:
“For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10).
That which is perfect is unchanging, is steadfast, and is stable. That which is perfect is not carried by every wind of doctrine, but is rooted and grounded in love, planted with deep roots at the edge of living waters, established by the Father in a kingdom that is unshakeable.
A perfect mind has no questions, it only has understanding. If we want to understand we have to abide in the mind that understands. The only One Who understands fully, is the Author of Life.
The Scriptures direct the Jews to rest on the Sabbath. Jesus worked on the Sabbath and He said, “My Father is working until now, and so I am working” (John 5:17). How can this be? The Scriptures are the story of a King and His great Kingdom. All of Scripture points to that King and His kingdom. It’s teachings are both practical and spiritual; which to the follower of this King, are synonymous. The Israelite’s entered the Promised Land, but did not enter the “rest of God.” The Father promised another day in the future in which, those who believe may enter His rest. What is this Sabbath rest? When we understand what Hebrews says, “His works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:3), and “God rested on the seventh day from all His works” (Hebrews 4:4) we can understand why it is not contradictory for Jesus to work on the Sabbath Day.
Jesus says the flesh counts for nothing, that this world is passing away, and He spent His resurrected time speaking about the kingdom of Heaven. His focus and understand are grounded, not in this world, in the shadows, but in the Kingdom of Heaven, the reality. Therefore, to Jesus, the true Sabbath, the rest of God, which all must honor, is not a worldly day (the shadow), but the eternal rest of the finished work. The rest is in relationship, in the will of the Father. For us, the rest is our position in Christ, where, by the Spirit, we can partake of the finished work. It is the place where we have “also rested from [our] works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:10).
“. . . how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14).
Here, again, stop work to start work. Rest, but work. Obedience to the will of the Father is rest! Abiding in Christ and listening to the direction of the Father and Son by the Holy Spirit is the eternal rest of God! It is the true Sabbath. How is work in service of God rest? God has already completed the work for us; our work is a tour of victory with Him, “LORD, You will establish peace for us, Since You have also performed for us all our works” (Isaiah 26:12).
These things seem foolish and contradictory to the carnal mind, but they make perfect and wonderful sense to those who abide in this blessed rest.