““For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”” (Matthew 12:8, NASB95)

What is Sabbath? Who is Sabbath for? What should happen on Sabbath? These are all questions that, for many people, have different answers. For some people, Sabbath means a day of rest, and for others, it is a day of recreation. For some people, Sabbath is a day of worship, and for others, Sabbath has absolutely no significance in their life as if it is just another day of the week.

People define Sabbath differently based on theological ideology. If you are Jewish, Sabbath is a holy day consecrated for the Lord and is to be observed with holy reverence and stopping of all work. In Jewish theology, there is a weekly Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. There are also special Sabbaths that are associated with holy days and events like Passover. Rabbinical tradition would even go as far as regulating 39 forms of prohibited work to keep people from disrespecting the Sabbath.

Christian theology understands Sabbath in a much different view. For example, the early church changed the Sabbath from following the Jewish timeline of Sabbath to celebrating Sabbath on Sunday, which came to be known as “The Lord’s Day.” It was a day to honor the resurrection of Jesus, who rose again on a Sunday and presented Himself alive to His followers. The practice on the Lord’s Day was to gather for prayer, teaching, and communion (Acts 2:42). Some believers in our day still practice the Lord’s Day on the seventh day of the week in accordance with the Sabbath laws of the Ten Commandments.
But where did Sabbath start? God established and sanctified the Sabbath at the time of creation and before the fall of man (Gen. 2:2-3). God also commanded Israel to remember and elevate the Sabbath as holy in the Decalogue (Ex. 20:8). Throughout history, legalists have a tendency to take something that God has established as a blessing to man and turn it into a tool used against people, just as they did here in Matthew’s account. These leaders called Jesus out for showing mercy on the Sabbath, accusing Him of violating the Sabbath with work. They misunderstood the Sabbath and were clueless about who they were accusing.
Sabbath was created by God for man – “Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27, NASB95) Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath and has the authority to determine how Sabbath is observed. Human beings were not created to be legally bound to a day as a slave to Sabbath, but Sabbath was created for man’s benefit. A day, whatever day that is where man stops and celebrates the completed work of God in all aspects.
Today we engage in Sabbath, where we rest in the completed work of Jesus. We engage in worship of our Lord, worship of His works, and worship of His mercy. We celebrate Jesus in the assembling of the Saints for the purpose of education and edification. On this Sabbath, may you experience freedom in resting in the hands of God.
Pastor Cary

Leave a Reply