What was the PURPOSE of the Sabbath?  In the Ten Commandments, immediately after we are told to keep the Sabbath, we are told WHY we are to keep it . . .

‘For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.’ (Exodus 20:11)

When Jesus said that He was ‘Lord of the Sabbath’, He was saying that He was THAT Lord, THAT Creator . . . the very one whom the Sabbath Day was supposed to honor!

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.’

 ‘He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.’ (John 1:1-3, 10)

How foolish for the Pharisees to want to dispute over what could and could not be done on that day, when the Creator Himself–whom the day was made to honor–stood before them in the flesh!

Jesus did not say that we no longer keep the Sabbath (his disciples and mother kept the Sabbath, waiting to embalm him until the Sabbath had ended). What He said is that HE (and whatever works He was doing) is/were greater than the Sabbath.

Here’s a modern day parallel: John is going away to war, but asks his family and friends to remember him once a week. He asks them to set a plate at the table for him, and pray for him every Tuesday night. Finally, the day comes that John returns home. He wants to celebrate his return with his family and friends by having a picnic in the park. His family refuses, saying that they must eat solemnly in the family dining room, because it is Tuesday night. They must honor ‘John’ that night and say prayers for him.

John is a little bewildered, because he is now WITH them, yet they prefer to cling to their tradition, instead of spending time WITH him in a way that he would enjoy. They have gotten so caught up in the ‘what’ . . . the tradition . . . that they have forgotten ‘why’ . . . missing and honoring John, and praying for his safety. Now that John has come, in the flesh, his presence should overshadow their tradition. Spending time WITH him should be more important than just thinking ABOUT him. Setting aside the tradition to be with him would show their love more completely–now that he is with them in the flesh–rather than keeping the tradition and virtually ignoring him.

‘This isn’t very realistic’, you might say. ‘What family would act like that?’. But it fairly represents the situation that Jesus encountered, so I hope that you can see the parallel.

People confuse the ‘how’ with the ‘why’–the same now as then. Getting all caught up in what can and can’t be done on the Sabbath is missing the point–the ‘why’: the Sabbath was made to honor God as Creator!

When He was present on the Earth, spending time in Jesus’ presence and following His lead was the best way to honor Him. Now that He has gone back to the Father, the Sabbath rest is to continue to be a visual reminder, every week, to a world that still does not know Him.

He created this world and everything in it for our use and pleasure . . . in a way, the Sabbath is a type of ‘tithe’ to Him in return for that.


Please note:  this author in no way recognizes, supports, or condones the Seventh Day Adventists or Hebrew Roots movement.