“Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus replied, “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” The man asks which ones he must obey. Jesus states the last 6 commandments; “Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. – You shall not murder. – You shall not commit adultery. – You shall not steal. – You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. – You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Matthew 19: 18) Why did Jesus not reply with all 10 commandments? Why did Jesus only quote the last 6? Something special regarding these commandments? Did Jesus only quote the last 6 because the others no longer apply? We know this not to be the case, so why? I can only wonder for at this point I have no clue.
The first 3 Commandments though not directly restated are implied throughout the New Testament. Does this apply to #4 – Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy. 6 days you shall labor and do all your work, but the 7th day is a Sabbath day, to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in 6 days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the 7th day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
In this writer’s mind, it most certainly does apply. Not to the letter of the law, but to the letter of the heart. Throughout the Gospels we see many examples of the Pharisees attempting to accuse Jesus of sin for actions taken on the Sabbath. In Matthew 12, Jesus’ disciples being hungry picked some heads of wheat. As a result they are accused by the Pharisees of wrongdoing. In response to the Pharisees accusations, Jesus reminds the Pharisees of a time when King David and his men, finding themselves hungry, went into the temple and ate consecrated bread, which was not lawful for them to do; Jesus reminded the Pharisees also, that on the Sabbath the priests in the Temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent. “I tell you that one greater than the Temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath. In Luke chapter 13, we read, “The leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, ‘there are 6 days on which work at to be done; so come on those days, and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day’. Then Jesus answers him, saying, you play actors “hypocrites”! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath lose his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead it out to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for 18 years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? In Luke chapter 14 in response to a direct question by one of the ruling Pharisees regarding the right or wrongness of healing on the Sabbath, Jesus replies, “Which of you, having a son or a donkey, or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not at once pull him out on the Sabbath day? And in Mark chapter 3 Jesus asks the question “Is it lawful and right on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to take it? It is the condition of one’s heart which Jesus is more concerned.
In Jewish culture the Sabbath begins Friday evening and ends Saturday evening. All Jewish days begin at sunset. This is based on the wording of the creation story and Genesis 1. At the end of the description of each day, we find the phrase; “and there was evening, and there was morning…” Since evening is mentioned 1st, the ancient rabbis deduced that evening is first.
In the Book of Acts we read of the activities and formation of the first churches. The news of Jesus Christ is spreading across the Continents and the Sabbath is referenced on several occasions. For example: Acts: 13:14, 42, 44; 15:21; 16:13. Many of these Sabbath references are linked to activities taking place in the Synagogue. I believe when the word Sabbath is used in connection to the synagogue it is referring to the traditional custom of Friday evening through Saturday evening.
Christian’s do not celebrate the traditional Sabbath. Why? Does it matter? What about the Sabbath rest yet to come mentioned in Hebrews?
More to come,
Until next time,
Mark 2:27 “and Jesus said to them, the Sabbath was made on account and for the sake of man, not man for the Sabbath.”