Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath

by: Bill Bratt


"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} He was in the beginning with God. {3} All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made".... {14} "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:1-3,14 ).

The English word for "Word" comes from the Greek word "Logos" which means spokesman, speaker, talking, exhortation and message. The "Word" in this passage is talking about Jesus. Jesus is the Spokesman for God.

We see in verse 1 that Jesus was with God the Father and He was also God, a member of the God Family.

From this passage, in verse 3, we learn that Jesus is the Creator of all things. He created the heavens, the earth and the sea and all that is in them, and THEN - HE RESTED.

Letís notice this in Exodus 20:11: "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."

When we read the Bible, what is the first thing that we find that Jesus made holy? The answer is: a 24 hour period of time called a day. Letís notice, it is not just any day, but the seventh day. Letís read Gen. 2:3-4 (NIV) "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. (3) And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."

Letís notice the three things that Jesus did on the seventh day: He rested on the seventh day, He blessed the seventh day and He made the seventh day holy.

Jesus even blessed the seventh day by giving it a name. The seventh day of the week is the only day that Jesus gave a name to. He called it the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11).

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath

Jesus had many confrontations with the Pharisees. Letís look at the following passage and see how Jesus condemned them for their wrong use of the Sabbath and we will see His proclamation that He Is Lord of the Sabbath.

Letís begin in Mark 2:23 (): "Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. {24} And the Pharisees said to Him, "Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"

To the Pharisees, this was unlawful that Jesusí disciples had plucked some grain. They challenged Jesus on this question. The Pharisees were legalists and saw no difference between the act of plucking one head of grain, or harvesting their whole grain field. Obviously there is a difference and that difference is in your intent, your attitude and your frame of mind.

The Pharisees made a false statement that Jesusí disciples did "what is not lawful on the Sabbath" by plucking a few heads of grain. God made provisions for the poor and the strangers by commanding the farmers not to totally reap their grain fields and their vineyards: "'When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. {10} 'And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God" (Lev 19:9-10 ).

The corners of their fields were left unharvested to meet a human need for those who were poor and hungry.

You can read the book of Ruth to see how beneficial this law was in providing for the poor and the strangers. Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi were the recipients of these provisions.

Jesus and His disciples were not doing anything unlawful on the Sabbath by picking a few heads of grain.

Letís continue verse 25: "But He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: {26} "how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat, except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?"

The showbread was placed on the table of showbread in the tabernacle. It was renewed every Sabbath by one of the priests, and the old showbread was then removed and eaten by the priests (Leviticus 24:5-9, 1 Samuel 21:6).

David and his men were hungry and here was an exception to the rule. The exception to the rule was that there was a human need, they were very hungry, and on a rare occasion, this human need can take precedence over the law. This does not set the law aside, it is an exception to the rule.

Letís continue in verse 27: "And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. {28} "Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.""

The Sabbath was made for man. The Sabbath is one of the greatest gifts that God and Jesus has given man. It is a day of freedom from work and the daily "rat race" that most us have to endure. It is a time when we can focus on God in extra prayer and Bible study. It is a time of fellowship with other people of like-minds. The Bible admonishes us: "not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together" (Heb 10:25).

The Sabbath is a time to worship God in singing songs of praise to Him and hearing His word expounded.

Jesus said that He, "the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath." Jesus is our Lord and Master. He is the member of the God family who created the Sabbath at creation (Genesis 1-2). Since Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, that makes the Sabbath the true "Lordís Day."

Jesus Kept the Sabbath

"So He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read." (Luke 4:16 ).

Notice that it was Jesusí custom to keep the Sabbath.

Jesus has a commitment to love and protect the Sabbath, as a husband is to love and protect his wife (1 Peter 3:7). Jesus never spoke negatively about the Sabbath. He observed the Sabbath and showed how it should be kept and observed.

We Should Follow Jesus and Keep the Commandments
Jesus set a perfect example for us and we should follow Him.

"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Pet 2:21 ).

The Apostle John tells us that we should walk as Jesus walked. He also tells us that we must keep His commandments. "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. {4} He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. {5} But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. {6} He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (1 John 2:3-6 ).

Jesus made the Sabbath at creation and included it in the Ten Commandments. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. {9} Six days you shall labor and do all your work, {10} but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. {11} For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8-11 ).

Jesus Healed on the Sabbath

Jesus did many "good works" on the Sabbath. Many people were healed by Jesus on the Sabbath. One of the things that the Sabbath pictures is freedom, and healing on the Sabbath gave the people who were healed freedom from their afflictions.

In Matthewís account of when Jesus said that He was Lord of the Sabbath, an example of healing follows: "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. {9} Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. {10} And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"; that they might accuse Him. {11} Then He said to them, "What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? {12} "Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." {13} Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. {14} Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him" (Mat 12:8-14 ).

Notice that in verse 12, Jesus said that "it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

Prophecies regarding the Sabbath

At the end of Jesusí ministry, a few days before He was crucified, He indicated that the Sabbath would continue after His death. In prophesying the destruction that was to come upon Jerusalem in 70 A.D., which was forty years after His death, Jesus told His followers: "And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath" (Mat 24:20 ). This statement shows that the Sabbath would continue as a commanded holy day for Godís people. Jesus indicated that an emergency flight, though not strictly prohibited, would not be in "keeping the Sabbath" with Godís purpose of His holy day.

In the future, Jesus will return to this earth and will reign as Kings of kings and Lord of lords and will establish the Kingdom of God and He will rule from Jerusalem for one thousand years. Letís notice what day the people will worship Jesus on: "And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD" (Isaiah 66:23. ). Also see Ezekiel 44:24.

The writer of Hebrews in chapter four is using the theme of "rest" in comparing the reward of the saved, which is the millennial Kingdom of God, to God resting on the Sabbath Day. We have had six thousand years of Satan inspired human mis-rule in a world totally deceived by Satan the devil (Rev. 12:9). Students of prophecy will recognize the day for a thousand year principle that is related here. The seventh day Sabbath then pictures the time that Jesus will return, set up the millennium Kingdom, and will rule for a thousand years. We will then have a thousand years of "rest" from Satanís way of life. This theme of "rest" reaches a conclusion in Hebrews 4:9: "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9 NIV). The Greek word for "Sabbath-rest" is "Sabbatismos," which means "to observe the Sabbath!" The Jewish New Testament Commentary on page 673 says: "This passage shows that Sabbath observance is expected of believers."

In Conclusion: Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath because He created it, He rested on it, He made it holy, He blessed it, He kept it, He gave it a name and He made it a part of the Ten Commandments.

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath!