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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.