Lord of the Sabbath

Even a quick perusal of the OT scriptures will reveal that God takes the Sabbath day very seriously.

“Thus says the Lord: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem.” Jer 17:21 ESV

“Whoever does any work on the Sabbath shall be put to death.” Exodus 31:15

But what the Pharisees took to the extreme in the form of legalism, which led them to “obstinate stupidity” and we often take to the opposite extreme of  impertinence, is actually a day intended for our benefit.

Jesus said, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath: so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)

God created man first. Then, “having finished all His work, God blessed the day and made it holy,” (Gen 1:2-3)

God set aside this day for our benefit, not as another task or burden or another check box on our To Do list.

God’s ultimate desire is that we know Him and love Him. He knows that we spend most of our lives caught up in the business of the world. Therefore, it is critical to our well-being, both spiritual and physical that we have a time of rest. A day to commune with Him. A day of praise and thanksgiving. A day to cease striving and simply know.

More than any other act, Jesus’ healing on the sabbath enraged the Pharisees. These men, who would not hesitate to pull their oxen out of ditch on the sabbath, despised Jesus for healing people of their afflictions on the sabbath day.  (Mark 3:4-6)

Jesus knew this, and yet He made a point to do these things on the Sabbath.

I think one reason is that the Sabbath is for healing. Our spirits find freedom, refreshment, and healing in one place only: in the arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

This world is a dangerous place. We are hard pressed, bewildered, persecuted, struck down, afflicted. (2Cor 4:8) But there remains a sabbath rest for His people. (Heb 4:9)

Sunday may be the busiest day of the week for you. And that’s okay. It’s not about Sunday. It’s about Sabbath.

Make every effort to enter His rest.

Come boldly, come often, come… to the throne of grace, in order that we may receive mercy and find grace to give us timely help.

2 thoughts on “Lord of the Sabbath

  1. Since I started attempting to rest more on Sundays, it’s become a day I look forward to even more. You’re right that God took the Sabbath seriously. He obviously had good reasons. I want to listen to his guidance and take it seriously too. I don’t always. But when I do, I’m blessed by it.


    1. Amen! I’ve experienced the same. I’m not legalistic about it, but unless it is necessary I don’t “work” on the Sabbath. Even more, I try to be intentional about engaging in activities that involve Him in a real way. As you say, when I succeed in this I am always blessed!


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