After reading the details of how the Day of Atonement was to be observed each year, we find that another aspect of this day was the people’s rest and self-denial (vv. 29-31). The Day of Atonement was a Sabbath for God’s people.
For practicality’s sake, work and the typical distractions of life were set aside. But there is perhaps another reason: rest and self-denial are central to the gospel.
God’s people were to rest in affirmation that there was nothing they could do to earn forgiveness for their sins, a truth accentuated in them being spectators during the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement.
Likewise, the people of Israel were to practice self-denial because humility is a defining characteristic of the gospel. After all, Christ took on flesh to become the Suffering Servant for us, and every person who comes to Him for salvation does so admitting their complete and utter need for His atonement.
Which do you find more difficult to maintain as a follower of Christ—rest or self-denial? Why?