To Sabbath or not to Sabbath? Saturday or Sunday?

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, along with everything in them. On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce.” Genesis 2: 1-3 CJB.

Recently, I was ever so gently convicted. The Lord led me to the very last chapter of Mark.

It was Saturday. The second day without their teacher, friend, loved one, redeemer…Messiah. And this wasn’t just anyone….this was the Son of God, the Word of God wrapped in flesh, the Lamb of God without blemish, the full expression of all that is Holy.

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.” Mark 16: 1 NIV

Saturday evening, after the sun had set and Sabbath was over, the three bought spices. I am in awe of their reverence. I am in awe of their strength. If Mary, Mary and Salome waited till Sabbath was over to buy spices for the Savior of the world and Son of God then why do I compromise on Sabbath.

The Sabbath isn’t just for the old testament.

There is a way to take something beautiful, holy and eternal and make it legalistic. This is not the goal of this post.

Sabbath is about trust. Do we trust the Lord enough to rest on the seventh day?

Sabbath is about reverence. Do we revere the Creator of the Universe enough to respect His design?

Sabbath is about intimacy. Do we thirst for His presence enough to turn down the noise and draw near?

Let’s look at what the Word of God has to say about Sabbath:

“The LORD asked Moses, “How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? They must realize that the Sabbath is the LORD ’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place.” Exodus 16: 28-29 NLT
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God.” Exodus 20: 8-10 NLT
“The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation. This is a covenant obligation for all time.” Exodus 31: 16 NLT

This was not a man made regulation. This was a gift that we are commanded to keep for all generations and written by the very finger of God.

“If you hold back your foot on Shabbat from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call Shabbat a delight, ADONAI’s holy day, worth honoring; then honor it by not doing your usual things or pursuing your interests or speaking about them.” Isaiah 58: 13 CJB

Again, this was not meant to be an empty legalistic show of obedience. This was a gift. A sign of covenant that shows our trust, reverence and love by honoring our Father in heaven’s design.

“Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30 CJB

Jesus addressed the temptation to turn the holiness and purity of Sabbath into legalism here:

“At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent?” Matthew 12: 1-5 NIV

Does this mean that Jesus has broken the Sabbath? No. Jesus is our great High Priest. Here, He further explains:

“I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice, ’you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12: 6-8 NIV
 He desires mercy because sacrifice without mercy is dead.
“Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, ‘Stand up in front of everyone.’ Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.” Mark 3: 1-5 NIV

To do good, to save a life, to heal is encouraged by our Savior who is Lord of the Sabbath.

This is not about legalism nor condemnation.

This is about looking to the Savior of the world who is the Word of God wrapped in flesh for example. The finger of God wrote to keep the Sabbath Holy for all generations. He celebrated this rest Himself. He rested from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4: 9-15 NIV

I love this: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet He did not sin.”

Jesus, filled with compassion, provided the grains in the field for his children, healed and was merciful even on the Sabbath. However, He who is Holy kept it Holy.

I encourage us all to take a moment to reflect and pray to our Heavenly Father about our hearts and how we honor Him on the Sabbath. Are we keeping it Holy? Our innermost thoughts and attitudes of the heart is what matters most to Him. He knows whether what we do or don’t do on the Sabbath is out of distrust or out of mercy.

So as always, take it to the Throne-room and He will be faithful to answer!