I probably should have posted this yesterday (on Sunday), but it didn’t work out that way. So here you go, this is part 1 of 2 because I started writing about this and realized it was way too much for one post. I’m going to be posting about why it’s important, and how we can make it more of a priority in our lives.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
Before the fall of man into sin, before marriage, before woman was even created, God sets an example that will become a holy law for mankind: the Sabbath rest. It becomes a command in Exodus when God provides miraculous provisions for the Israelites in the desert. Moses directs the people to gather twice as much manna on the sixth day because he says, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD.’” (Exodus 16:23a).
The Sabbath is a big deal in scripture. If you read through Exodus you start to feel like it could be THE most important thing to God. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Ex 20:8). “But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Ex 20:10-11) It’s mentioned in the Bible over 100 times, and 56 times in the New Testament alone. You may recall that it was a big deal to the Pharisees and they kept accusing Jesus of violating it.
In Mark 2:27-28 Jesus makes two statements about the Sabbath. He says, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” What is he saying? Well the context of this story is that Jesus and his disciples were plucking grains in the field and the Pharisees said this was “work” and so accused Jesus and his disciples of breaking God’s law. Jesus’ statement about the Sabbath being made for man is not Jesus derogating Old Testament law, but rather a confirmation and fulfillment of God’s purpose in the Sabbath. God created the Sabbath, not for us to be slaves to it, but for our benefit. Man is not to be confined by the Sabbath but rather it is given as a gift to man for spiritual and physical refreshment (ESV study notes). And Jesus, the Son of Man, has authority over all mankind. If the Sabbath is for mankind and if Jesus is the lord of all mankind, then Jesus is lord of the Sabbath. When we honor the Sabbath, we honor Jesus.
Next week I’ll talk more about how we can make the Sabbath a priority in our lives.