Final thoughts on keeping the Sabbath in the 21st century
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.” God created/designed the Sabbath for us. Keeping the Sabbath is more about our relationship then about what we do or don’t do. Because Christ died on Sunday, the first day of the week, Christians began meeting on that day as a way of honoring Jesus. I can’t help but wonder if this did not come about as a way to set apart those who still do not believe the Messiah came, and those who followed Jesus. Jews today, who still await the Messiah, observe the traditional Hebrew Sabbath or Shabbat.
I find it interesting the word restore begins with the word rest and ends with the word ore. We humans think we are tough and made of iron. Yet, without God we are mere dust. I believe the idea behind keeping a Sabbath day was for us to rest, to focus our attentions on God, to keep our relationship with him restored, renewed and aligned. Man over the course of time has distorted God’s original intention. God never intended the Sabbath day, to be about what we don’t do or what we do, do. I can almost hear you say, but the verse goes on to say, “On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter …. “ God was clarifying his instructions; he was saying, “for example”. In essence God was saying you work hard 6 days; give it all you got, you and your household. On the 7th day set it all aside and rest. On the 7th day I want you to come to me; rest and abide in me. Allow me to restore you as you spend time with me. “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30 “… Abide in my love.” John 15:9. God’s word has many passages which instruct us to come, abide, be restored, rest, etc.
I don’t believe God ever intended for the Sabbath to become a legalistic ritual of do’s and don’ts. God created and designed the Sabbath as a day for us to draw near to Him, and to give us a glimpse of eternity. “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Colossians 2: 16–17 and “So, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” An eternal Sabbath day, I can only imagine.
I started out to answer the question should New Testament Christians keep the Sabbath? Yes, I believe we should. One day out of 7 set apart for God. One day a week to come into His presence and experience a small taste of Heaven; to taste the Sabbath’s rest yet to come.
Until next time,