What did Jesus teach about the Sabbath?

In this post, learn what our Master and Savior taught about the Sabbath and discover the shocking truth that most Christians don’t know!



Yahshua the Messiah or popularly known as Jesus Christ is the perfect example that we should follow.

If there’s anyone that we should follow, it should be Yahshua. If there’s an example we must emulate, it is His actions.

We know that our Savior did not commit any sin (I Peter 2:22; II Corinthians 5:21). Therefore, whatever Jesus taught about the Sabbath and whatever He did in the Sabbath set the perfect example of how we should also treat the Sabbath.

With this in mind, let us take a look at the life of Jesus and see what we can learn about the Sabbath.

 A brief historical background of the Sabbath

The Sabbath observance underwent a huge transformation from the time of Adam and Eve to the time of Christ.

Because of how men treated the Sabbath and misunderstood its real intent, the Sabbath became a burden rather than a blessing.

Notice that the changes were NOT made by God, but men.

Throughout the centuries, the Sabbath was changed not by God, but by man.

Let me give you a brief explanation.

After the reign of Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel was divided into two: the Northern Israel, which was made up of about 10 tribes, and the Southern Israel, which was made up of the tribe of Judah, Benjamin, and a little portion of Levi.

Both of these kingdoms were destroyed and conquered. Instead of being protected by God, they have been given up to their enemies.

Yahweh, through His prophets, warned Israel many times that they will be conquered if they don’t turn away from their sins and wickedness.

Among the biggest sins of Israel was violating the Sabbath. God has repeatedly instructed Israel to keep the Sabbath holy and proclaimed a warning if they continue in defiling it (Jeremiah 17:21-22, 27; Ezekiel 20:12-13, 16).

However, as we know, both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms were hardheaded and will not take heed.

As a result, they were captured by their enemies. Most of the Northern Kingdom people were taken away from their homeland, never to return again.

Thankfully, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was able to return from Babylon several centuries before the appearance of the Messiah.

The Sabbath becoming a burden

The Jews coming from the exile knew that if they were going to restore the former glory of their Kingdom, they needed to change their ways.

Since they knew that Sabbath-breaking was one of their chief offenses to God, they made it a point that they will do their best in changing their lives in this regard.

However, there’s one huge problem — they have overdone it.

From ignoring the Sabbath to overly becoming legalistic and strict in keeping the Sabbath — they only run from one extreme end of the spectrum to the other!

Because of their fear of breaking the Sabbath, the Jewish authorities created nearly impossible to follow regulations to properly keep the Sabbath.

As a result, the Sabbath, instead of becoming a blessing, has become a burden.

The burden men added to the Sabbath

Notice how the religious authorities made the Sabbath a burden through their tradition and regulations.

Here are some of the things that are forbidden in the Sabbath:

  • You can only tie a knot that you can untie with one hand.
  • You can’t write two letters.
  • Plowing is prohibited on the Sabbath. You can’t even spit on the ground as the religious people believe that will disturb the soil, which is considered a form of sowing.
  • Women were not allowed to look at the mirror on the Sabbath because they may be tempted to pull out their gray hair.
  • You can’t wear nailed shoes on the Sabbath as it is considered as carrying an unnecessary burden.
  • You can’t walk through the grass as it is considered threshing. 
  • If in case a fire breaks out of your house on a Sabbath, you can’t carry your clothes out of the house and prevent them from getting burned. However, as a workaround, you can wear them out of the house to save them from the fire.

These are just some of the burdensome regulations that make the Sabbath a curse for many of the Jews in Jesus’ day.

In fact, the religious authorities added 39 categories of forbidden activities, all of which, can be subdivided into more confusing and oppressive regulations.

There’s no doubt that the Jews would like to please God, but the regulations added by the religious leaders made them completely miss the point of Sabbath observance.

It is super important to know the historical background of the Sabbath because without proper perspective, a lot of Christians today misunderstood Christ’s teaching about the Fourth Commandment as we will see later.

Difference between the true Sabbath and Sunday worship.
Difference between the true Sabbath and Sunday worship.

Jesus kept the Sabbath

It may be a shock for many ordinary Sunday-keepers that the Savior and Master they worship didn’t go to church on Sundays, but rather on Saturdays!

We read the first mention of the Sabbath in the life of Christ in Luke 4:16:

“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.”

Now, this is not simply a one-time event, but the Bible tells us that it was the custom of Jesus to go to synagogues on the Sabbath.

We read similar declarations in Mark 6:2 and Luke 13:10.

It is worth noting as well that it was on the Sabbath that Yahshua introduced Himself to be the long-awaited Messiah:

And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are [b]oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

The audience of Jesus perfectly knew what He meant. Thus, they even tried to kill Jesus for this bold claim (verse 23-30). 

As we can see, keeping the Sabbath wasn’t just a custom of Yahshua, but it is also a perfect time for Him to declare His Messiahship.

Indeed, without a shadow of a doubt, the Sabbath is a meaningful day for all of us to keep!

Yahshua as the Lord of the Sabbath

If you go through the Gospel or Good News writings, the first four books of the New Testament, you will read there are a lot of instances where Yahshua had a confrontation with the religious leaders regarding the Sabbath.

To show Christ’s authority over these so-called leaders, He made a bold and powerful claim.

Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath. Who, then, is the lord of Sunday worship?

We read in Matthew 12:8:

“For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

We can read the same statements in Mark 2:28 and Luke 6:5.

This statement of Jesus is so important that it has to be repeated in three of the Gospel records.

By claiming that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, He was making an authoritative claim that He is greater than the traditions and humanly devised regulations that men had added to the Sabbath command.

With this in mind, since Yahshua is the Lord of the Sabbath, then you need to ask:

“Who is the Lord of the Sunday worship?”

If Christ is on the Sabbath, the time between Friday sunset and Saturday sunset, who is the lord people worship on Sundays?

Well, you can answer that question, but I can tell you, with all certainty, that it is not Yahshua!

How was I able to say this? Because it is in your Bible?

I didn’t make this one up. Don’t simply believe what I say or write, but you need to dig up the truth in your Bible!

How to prove the Sabbath?
How to prove the Sabbath?

The Sabbath was made for mankind

Another statement made by Yahshua that should question people’s usual attitude towards the Sabbath is found in Mark 2:27:

“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

Because of the misunderstanding of the purpose of the Sabbath, the Jews added so many meticulous and impossible to keep regulations. As a result, the Sabbath’s purpose was changed so much that it wasn’t the Sabbath God has given to us.

We must remember that God made the Sabbath for us. It is not the other way around. The Sabbath was not made to enslave us through burdensome regulations.

Because the Sabbath was made for man, it was designed to benefit us both physically and spiritually.

Notice one important biblical truth that we must know about the Sabbath.

The same verse says:

“The Sabbath was made for MAN.”

Jesus didn’t say the Sabbath was made for the Israelites. He didn’t say the Sabbath was made for the Jews. He didn’t say the Sabbath was made for the animals.

He said, “The Sabbath was made for man.”

Other Bible translations made the intent here clearer:

  • The Good News Bible – “The Sabbath was made for the good of human beings.”
  • New English Bible – “The Sabbath was made for the sake of man.”
  • The William New Testament – “The Sabbath was made to serve man.”
  • New Living Translation – “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people.”
  • Contemporary English Version – “The Sabbath was made for the good of people.”
  • Aramaic Bible in Plain English – “The Sabbath was created for the sake of man.”

As you can see, the Sabbath was made to BENEFIT all of humanity and not just a select few.

Now, if you are part of the human race, then the Sabbath is for you!

That’s one of the best pieces of news that you will hear. This means that God loves you so much, whether you are a Jew or not, that He gave you one day of the week to give your body rest and to know more about Him as your Father.

Now, if you don’t consider yourself as part of the human race, then feel free to break God’s Sabbath because it is not made for you.

Plain and simple.

In Summary

As you can see, Yahshua’s clear teaching about the Sabbath is that we still need to observe it.

Jesus made an irrefutable claim that He is the Lord of the Sabbath and that the Sabbath was made for man.

Christ kept the Sabbath.

So, why wouldn’t you?

Christ kept the Sabbath and set a vital example for us to emulate.

If you’re truly a follower of Jesus, then you should also follow His customs and part of that custom is keeping the Sabbath.

Like Yahshua, He didn’t think of the Sabbath command as optional, but He saw to it that He keeps it in the way His Father intended it to be — a blessing to all humanity!


FREE BOOK

How to request your copy

To request a free copy of the book, “The Shocking Truth About the Sabbath Day,” please send me a message to joshuainfantado@gmail.com.


2 thoughts on “What did Jesus teach about the Sabbath?

  1. There was once you asked your reader who commented on tithing topics, it was Boldproclaimer On Feb 24, 2020. You said “Can you give me a verse in the bible that says we shouldn’t tithe on the money we earn that it should only be on agricultural products. ” Now i will give you the same argument, can you give me a verse in the bible on the time before Moses that God commanded man to observe sabbath? I believe there is none. There is no proof.

    Indeed, God said in the book of Genesis chapter 2 that He rested on the seventh day. But who wrote the book of Genesis? It was Moses who wrote the book of Genesis and so it was only in the time of Moses when God declares that. If God gave that commandment at the very begining that man should observe sabbath, it should be mentioned from the time of Adam to Jacob that they observe sabbath. If it is a commandment from God then it will be observed and it will written. One proof i can say is the offering of firstlings or first fruits and the burnt offering of fatted animal, it was mention as early as Abel. The offering of clean animals was mention from the time of Noah. The offering of the lamb from the time of Abraham. In fact Noah built the ark for so many years but there is no mention of day of rest. You emphasize that observance of sabbath is included in the ten commandments of God, all the more that it should be mentioned on the time before Moses because sacrifices is not written in the ten commandments.

    Another thing to note is that, you said that sabbath is a day of rest and we should observe it but in John 5:17 Jesus himself said that He is working. He did not mention what kind of work but whatever He is doing He proclaimed that He is working and His father is also working on that day and it was sabbath.

    Another note from this article is there’s no mention that sabbath is the day of worship so there’s no reason to compare the sunday worship of today’s christian religion to sabbath observance. Sabbath is day of rest and sunday is day of worship.

    You also said that Jesus observed sabbath. What specifically He did so we can conclude that he observed sabbath? As the scripture says Jesus read a scripture and give instructions to people (as His customs), He heals people, help those who are in need, cast out demons and spread the word of God. All those things are the same things He did outside of synagogue in ordinary days. There is no special things being done during sabbath except He is in the synagogue because all jews are in the synagogue during sabbath.

    You also said from your article entitled What is the sabbath day ” If you want to receive God’s blessings, you need to keep the sabbath” but i haven’t read in any scripture that Jesus says blessed are those who observe sabbath. Can you tell us what is your standard when it comes to God’s blessings? How can you tell that a person is blessed by God?

    Another thing to note. The same comment i made to your article about tithing, you said not giving tithes is stealing from God and that is disobedience to the law of the ten commandments. Same with this article, not observing sabbath is disobedience to the law of the ten commandments. Therefore, based on your articles, people who does not give tithes and does not observe sabbath will go to hell. I know you will say it again that you did not mention that in your article but can you tell us what will happen to people who disobey the ten commandments?

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    • Hi BhelaiM,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The Sabbath has been instituted since the creation week. Notice:

      1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. Genesis 2:1-3

      God didn’t just bless the seventh day, but He also sanctified it. It means He has set it apart. Why would the Scripture says this and you expect Adam and Eve not to observe the Sabbath? That’s just against logic. From the beginning of time, God has already pronounced a blessing on the Sabbath. Now, why do we stubbornly want to disregard the Sabbath?

      Moreover, the fourth commandment started with the word “REMEMBER”. Now, if you need to remember something, it is something that has been happening in the past! The Sabbath has been kept before the establishment of the nation of Israel. That’s why God says remember.

      Moreover, even before the giving of the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20, in Exodus 16, God has already been commanding the Israelites to keep the Sabbath.

      Now, you can’t use the argument that if it is not mentioned, it didn’t happen. For one, the Sabbath was mentioned, but if you insist on using this argument, you will also be surprised that God didn’t condemn Jacob for having 2 wives. Does that mean that God approves polygamy? God didn’t mention bestiality in the NT, does that mean God approves of it? God didn’t mention gambling, smoking, cocaine — does that mean that God approves of these things? Obviously, no.

      John 5:17 tells us:

      But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

      This was Christ’s defense when He was accused of breaking the Sabbath by healing.

      It is worth noting that most people have a misconception about the Sabbath. While the Sabbath is a day of rest, it is not a day of idleness or laziness. In fact, the priests in OT Israel did a lot of work during the Sabbath and High Days. They slaughter big animals and made sacrifices. If you haven’t slaughtered animals before, you don’t know the amount of work involved.

      My point is that doing the work of God on the Sabbath does not violate the fourth commandment. Now, this shouldn’t be taken to the extreme as well. We need to apply wisdom in identifying ox-in-the-ditch situations. Remember, it is the spirit of the law that is more important.

      The Sabbath day is not just a day of rest, but also a day of worship. Why do you think Christ and His community would keep the Sabbath by going to the Synagogue? Part of their services include worshiping God.

      23 And it shall come to pass
      That from one New Moon to another,
      And from one Sabbath to another,
      All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD. Isaiah 66:23

      Worship is part of the Sabbath.

      I’m not sure what’s motivating you to deny the Sabbath and even deny the FACT that Christ kept the Sabbath. Yahshua KEPT the Sabbath and it was His custom. It was a special day for Him and it should be for us as well.

      This is something that you won’t really understand about the people today who are not going to hell because you have to see the big picture. God is only working with a small group of people today. In fact, Revelation 14 tells us that there will only be 144,00 people who will be saved during this time. The rest of humanity is deceived. Just like Christ who didn’t come to save and convince everyone to submit to Him during His first coming, God is also not trying to save the world now. Once Christ returns here on earth, together with His saints, He will then teach the people of God’s way of life. This will happen during the Millenium. After the Millenium, the rest of the day will be resurrected. They will finally be given a chance to choose between the way of God or the way of satan.

      This is a huge topic, but if you want to learn more, let me know by sending me a message joshuainfantado@gmail.com. I’ll give you more resources to read.

      Regards,
      Joshua

      Like

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