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Jesus and the Sabbath

Jesus and the Sabbath

Many people claim that the seventh-day Sabbath is not relevant because Christ did away with the law. But this has some problems. Wouldn’t such a teaching be inconsistent with God’s changeless character? And Jesus came to be our example in all things—should our Sabbath day be different than His?

Christ said in His famous Sermon on the Mount, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). In Jesus’ day, Sabbath-keeping was a challenging task; religious leaders had created rules and regulations for every part of the day, making it difficult for the laity.

But Jesus worked to restore the Sabbath to its original beauty and purity. He demonstrated that God designed the Sabbath to be a blessing for humanity—not a burden.

In His ministry, Jesus revealed over and over that the goal of the Sabbath was to bring health and wholeness. (See John 7:21–23.) He often brought on the ire of religious leaders because He healed on the Sabbath. But in response to their threats and accusations, Jesus said, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). In His life, Jesus followed the example of His Father.

In His discourse on the signs of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world, Jesus especially encouraged His followers to “pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath” (Matthew 24:20). He insinuated that the Sabbath would still be honored by His disciples at least seventy years after His resurrection.

As our Example, Jesus lived His life in harmony with God’s great Law, telling His followers, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10). If we love Him, doesn’t it make sense that we should follow His example?

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