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Why Sabbath?

March 9, 2018Articles

Many of us are burned out, soul-weary.  Our relationships are shallow and dissatisfying.  We’re distracted, depressed and fragmented on so many levels. We feel chased down and breathless. We long to exhale and simply be. Jesus offers us that pause.  He offers us Himself.   

 BUT, the Sabbath is an old Jewish tradition that Jesus TOTALLY disregarded during His ministry, we object. It’s one of the 10 commandments and Jesus set us free from the Law, didn’t He?

The rhythm of 6 days of labour and 1 day of rest comes from way earlier than the Law of Moses, that’s why when Moses fetched the 10 Commandments the one about the Sabbath begins with the word “Remember”. It’s a reminder.

The Creator God Himself instituted it in Genesis not because He was weary, but as an example, an age-old invitation.   “And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested (ceased) on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it [as His own, that is, set it apart as holy from other days], because in it He rested from all His work which He had created and done”. Genesis 2:2&3

He sanctified one day and set it aside as holy. The opposite of “holy” is ordinary.  Common.  Same as.  So one day out of seven was to be different from the other six.  Six days we labour, one day we don’t! The Sabbath, like all the other laws, is a gift.  Not a freedom-stealer, but a freedom preserver!

Sabbath is a celebration. It begins with the recognition that we belong to God.  A good God whose kindness extends to the righteous and unrighteous.  A God whose witness includes “giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” Act 14:17

What’s not to appreciate? A God who gives the kitchen staff a whole day off each week!  Exodus 16:23 In effect he says, bake and boil all you need for today and tomorrow, for tomorrow you rest. It’s a reminder that you’ll have to put in some planning and preparation, if you’re to enjoy and benefit. It’s not the day you catch up on all the things you didn’t get done in the week.  It’s a day we acknowledge that God is good and what we have from His hand is enough.
A day of grateful, happy, pause.
Jesus didn’t disregard the Sabbath, but He did redefine it.  He reminded people that God is not served by the keeping of the Sabbath, but that we are! “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Mark2:27. That’s why He did some of His finest work on the Sabbath. Healing and restoring.  I believe He still does.

Because Paul reminds us that this matter, like food preferences, is a personal matter of your conviction (Col 2:16 and Romans 14), it should never be a measure for judgement and anytime you’re tempted to, DON’T!  We don’t have to Sabbath.  We get to!

Everyone’s Sabbath will be tailor-made to pause you and your household.  There’s no prescribed way to do it, I think that’s what made the rule-keepers crazy in Jesus’ day.
Hang out with your “easy people”.
Eat and visit, sleep and read.
Savour God.

Heed the invitation of Jesus.

Come to Me, you who are weary and heavy burdened.
I will give you rest.

Matt 11:28

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