Christ, Our Sabbath
In Luke chapter 14 we find Jesus invited to the home of a Pharisee for dinner on the Sabbath Day. It wasn’t that the Pharisee was hospitable. Actually the Pharisees, as a whole, hated Jesus and were continually watching for opportunities to entrap Him through His words or actions and thus destroy His influence among the people.
As the story opens the conversation around the table turns to the proper observance of the Sabbath. Jesus’ attitude towards the Sabbath was a constant source of irritation to the Pharisees. The Sabbath issue came about as Jesus observed a sick man with dropsy who needed to be healed. It appears that this Pharisee was waiting to see whether Jesus would heal him on the Sabbath Day. In verse 3 we read that Jesus answered the Pharisee’s question. Whether it was spoken or just thought; Jesus, aware of the Pharisee’s evil intentions, asked them, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath Day?”
The Pharisees did not answer, so Jesus healed the sick man and let him go. Again Jesus answers the malignant thoughts of the Pharisees with another question. “Which of you shall have a donkey or an ox fallen into a pit and will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath Day?” Note once more that the Pharisees gave Him no answer.
Why? If they answered “Yes”, they would have to agree that Jesus did the proper thing by healing on the Sabbath. If they answered “No” they would come across as cold, uncaring, hard-hearted men. In either case, they would have been check-mated and silenced. They knew God’s Law concerning the care of animals in distress. Read it in Exodus 23:5 and Deuteronomy 22:4.
Let’s review what the Bible says about the Sabbath.
1. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day; not because He was weary and needed to rest, but because He was setting the example to us to work six days and rest on the seventh. Genesis 2:2-3
2. The fourth of the Ten Commandments commanded Israel to rest on the seventh day as a Sabbath Day of rest. Exodus 20:8-11 Resting one day in seven and devoting it to God is a moral issue. It is a matter of right and wrong.
3. As circumcision is a sign of God’s Covenant with Israel, so observing the Sabbath is also a sign between God and Israel. Read the entire 19th chapter of Leviticus and note the sixteen times God announced to Israel, “I am the Lord your God.” Note in verse 30 of that chapter that Israel was commanded to “keep His Sabbaths and “reverence His sanctuary.”
4. Leviticus 26 is filled with promises of blessing to Israel if they obeyed God and warnings of judgment if they disobeyed Him. Note especially the warnings in Leviticus 26:33-35 that if they disobeyed and profaned the Sabbaths, they would not get away with it. While Israel was in captivity and scattered, the land would recover her Sabbaths that the people had ignored.
5. Note in Ezekiel 20:12 that God gave His Sabbaths to Israel as a sign of His Covenant with them.
How about the Church today? What are we to understand about the Sabbath?
Observing the Sabbath or attempting to keep any of the Ten Commandments cannot make us righteous. Romans 3:19-20 shows us all to be guilty Law breakers before our Holy God. We are all guilty sinners and worthy to die and be eternally separated from God in hell. Read Romans 6:23 Revelation 20:11-15
We Jews and gentiles are made righteous and fit for Heaven; not through Sabbath observance nor any good works; but only through faith in Christ who was sacrificed on Calvary‘s cross, shedding His blood for our sins. Read Romans 3:21-31.
Not only are we declared righteous through faith in Christ, but we are made righteous through the work of the Holy Spirit who comes to live in the believer. This is clearly taught in Romans 8:1-4.
Now turn to Romans 10:1-4 and note that Christ is the “end” or the fulfillment of God’s righteousness in the heart of everyone who trusts Him. That means that if you are trusting in Christ alone for salvation, God sees you as having perfectly fulfilled all the Law of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ Himself is our righteousness. This salvation is a Gift. According to Titus 3:5-6 it has nothing to do with our works.
Christ is Lord of the Sabbath according to Luke 6:1-5. In fact, in Romans 9:27-33 and in James 5:1-4 His name is Lord of Sabbath.
The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:23-28
The Sabbath, along with all the feast days and ceremonial laws for Israel, are not for the Church today. Colossians 2 makes that clear.
Christ Himself is our SABBATH and our REST! We do not find our rest in Sabbath keeping. We find our rest by trusting Jesus alone for our righteousness. Read that wonderful invitation Jesus gives us in Matthew 11:28-30.
Augustine, a bishop of Hippo in North Africa who lived 354-430 AD, said, “God has made us for Himself, and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Him.”
Why do Christians observe Sunday, the first day of the week, as their day of rest?
Christians need one day of the week to lay aside the routine and the cares of life in order to assemble together to hear the Word of God and worship Him. Because Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1-2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1) and because as I Corinthians 15:12-21 teaches, Christ’s resurrection is central to the Christian’s Faith and the basis for our joy and assurance as Christians; the early church turned to Sunday as their day of rest and worship. Though the Apostle Paul gathered with the Jews on the Sabbath to preach to them and reason with them, gradually Christians began to gather on Sunday, the first day of the week, to hear the preaching of God’s Word. Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 16:1-2.
I encourage you to read through Paul’s short Epistle to the Galatians and see how utterly worthless the ceremonial law of God with its feasts, sabbaths and holy day observances are to the Christian. As you read through all of Paul’s Epistles, it becomes obvious that the chief opposition to the Gospel Paul preached came from the Judaizers who wanted to put the early Christians back under the bondage of the ceremonial law, which was but a picture of Christ who would come and be the total fulfillment of that law.
The Judaizers are still at work today attempting to bring Christians under these laws. Galatians 5:1 challenges us to “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.