It would be difficult to find someone who has lived on the earth for any length of time who has not pondered the questions “Why is there suffering in the world” or, in more personal terms, “Why do I suffer”? … Continue reading
What about the Sabbath?
This week we looked at the wonderful truth found in Matthew 5: 17-18 that Christ did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill (“fill full”) them. We established that the principles of the 10 Commandments are still in effect while Christ fulfilled the judicial and ceremonial law.
One question came up about the 4th Commandment. It reads as follows:
Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 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: 8-11)
The Sabbath is observed by Jews on Saturday, the 7th day of a week. The word “Sabbath” comes from the Hebrew root word “sabat” which means “to stop, to cease.” The Sabbath was established by the LORD in the Ten Commandments as a reminder that 6 days of labor by the Creator was followed by a day of rest. Of course, it was not for the purpose that God needed rest, but that He was finished with His Creative activity. God blessed that day and set it aside from the other days as holy to Him.
The Law had been augmented with burdensome requirements concerning what it meant to rest and to cease from work. Jesus confronted this issue when He was criticized for allowing His disciples to pluck grain for food on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-8; Mark2: 23-28 and Luke 6: 1-5) in which He stated two important principles regarding the Sabbath:
(1) “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27). Jesus was stating that the Sabbath was made to bless man with a day of rest and not to overburden him with strenuous regulations.
(2) “The Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5) Jesus is claiming His right as Lord God to decide how the Sabbath is spent and is not a slave to the Pharisee’s regulations.