Lord Over the Sabbath
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath’” (Mark 2.27 NLT).
The first mention of Sabbath comes after God frees the Israelites from slavery. God requires the Israelites to rest on the seventh day of every week (Exodus 16.23). That Sabbath given in the Old Testament offers us an amazing foreshadowing of the Finished Work of Jesus on the Cross in the New Testament. Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word, Shabbath, which means Day of Atonement. When something is atoned, it is absolved from all wrong and the penalty of sin is paid in full. So when God tells His Children to rest on the seventh day, He is giving them a picture of Jesus, Who is Lord over Sabbath. Finally, Jesus would absolve each of us of our wrong and pay the penalty for our sin through His sacrifice. We don’t have to prove ourselves to God anymore because God sees us through the blood of His Son. We are perfect and holy in God’s eyes, and now we can have the Holy Spirit living in and among us. The religious leaders of Jesus’ time had twisted the Sabbath, making it a burden to God’s people. They didn’t realize there was a spiritual meaning to the Sabbath along with the physical rest. Sabbath is not just a day; it is a reality that Christians can enjoy every moment. We can rest from our constant human striving, knowing that Jesus’ blood atones for our imperfect efforts making our work pleasing to a holy God. The Sabbath meets our most dire need: We are reconciled back to our Holy God, and even in our imperfect state we can have a personal relationship with Him!
“For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12.8 NIV).