The Sabbath was made for man

The traditions of the elders were very strict and were applied by the Pharisees without compassion.  Thus the Sabbath, which was intended to be the best day of the week, was converted into the worst day of the week.

The Sabbath was made for man.  The real needs of people are therefore always more important than the Sabbath.

While the disciples were with Jesus, they were in God’s service for the redemption of sinners, and thus allowed to do work required for that purpose.

By debating with the Pharisees what is allowed on that day, and by saying that “the Sabbath was made for man”, Jesus confirmed the Sabbath as a binding obligation. 

Matthew 12:1-8, Mark 2:23-28 and Luke 6:1-5

Overview

One Sabbath Jesus and His disciples walked through a grain-field.  His disciples, because they were hungry, started to pick the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating.  Some Pharisees saw this and immediately complained to Jesus, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath”.

This is one of five conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees, with respect to the Sabbath, that are recorded in the Bible, and the only one not caused by a healing miracle.

It is difficult to imagine how the Jews could consider the mere picking and eating of grain, while one is walking through a grain field, to be “work,” but this indicates how strict the traditions of the elders were.  The purpose of the Sabbath was to provide reprieve from the every-day toil to enjoy a day of rest.  But by disallowing anything that even remotely looks like work; even pleasurable activities such as picking and eating grain, the Sabbath became the opposite of what it was supposed to be.  No longer was it the best day of the week, but it became the worst day of the week.

In defense of His disciples Jesus firstly used the example of David and his men who, when they were hungry, ate the temple bread which only the priests were permitted to eat.  By means of this analogy Christ indicated that the real needs of people are always more important than the Sabbath.

To defend His disciples Christ secondly referred to the priests who break the Sabbath” by working in the temple, but remain without guilt because they did this work in God’s service.  Christ then applied this principle to His disciples by saying, “something greater than the temple is here”.  He was referring to Himself as “greater than the temple”.  By comparing Himself to the temple He was, by implication, saying that the disciples were equivalent to priests serving in the temple.  While they were with Him, they were in God’s service for the redemption of sinners, and people are allowed to work on the Sabbath if that work is necessitated by being in God’s service.

Christ thirdly accused the Pharisees of judging without compassion.  The first two arguments are two different reasons why His disciples are “innocent” (Mat. 12:7), but with this argument He attacks the Pharisees.  Because the Sabbath is intended to allow rest from the hard work, compassion is particularly applicable to the Sabbath, but the hunger which plagued His disciples did not kindle any feeling of tenderness or eagerness to help within the hearts of the Pharisees.

Christ fourthly added the principle that “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath”.  He said this because the Jews, through their traditions, made man the servant of the Sabbath.  They made Sabbath holiness the goal, and man the means to achieve this.  But the Sabbath was created for man’s benefit.  The Sabbath is the means and man’s welfare and happiness is the goal.  For that reason human needs are always more important than the Sabbath.  To forbid hungry travelers to pick heads of grain is to pervert the Sabbath’s intended purpose.

Christ concluded, “so the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath”.  The word “so” means that the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath (v. 28) because the Sabbath was made for man (v. 27).  The title “Son of Man” comes from Daniel 7:13-14, where “One like a Son of Man” receives “everlasting dominion” over “all the peoples, nations and men of every language”.  Putting these thoughts together, He is Lord of the Sabbath because He is Lord over man, while the Sabbath is part of man’s existence. 

Some find in Christ’s claim, to be the Lord of the Sabbath, a statement to the effect that He will change or abrogate the Sabbath.  However, by debating with the Pharisees, on the basis of the Old Testament, what is allowed on the Sabbath, He confirmed that it is a binding obligation.  He was here defending His disciples who were accused of breaking the Sabbath.  This would have been an ideal opportunity to say that the Sabbath was or will be abrogated or changed soon.  But He gave no such indication.  To the contrary, His statement that “the Sabbath was made for man” implies that the Sabbath will remain for as long as man exists.

In conclusion His arguments can be divided into two principles.  The reference to David and His men, His demand for compassion and His statement that “the Sabbath was made for man” can be combined into a single observation, namely that the Sabbath exists for man’s benefit and must serve man’s needs.

This principle applies in all circumstances, but His other principle is specific to the unique circumstances of the incident, namely that the “Lord of the Sabbath”, who is “greater than the temple”, “is here”.  His presence transformed His disciples into the equivalent of “priests in the temple“, who are allowed to work on the Sabbath.  The principle is that work in God’s service, which is work for man’s redemption, is allowed on the Sabbath.

Somebody else’s grain

To walk through somebody else’s grain field and eat the grain was an accepted practice in the Jewish society.  The Law expressly laid it down that the hungry traveller was entitled to do that, on condition that he only uses his hands and not a sickle (Deut. 23:24-25; cf. Lev. 19:9; 23:22; Ruth 2; cf. Mishnah Peah 8, 7).  But to do this on the Sabbath was interpreted by the traditions to be an act of desecration. Not only was picking the heads of grain regarded as reaping, but the rubbing of it in the hands was regarded as threshing.

Christ’s Responses

Jesus responded with four or perhaps five statements.  All four statements are provided by Matthew 12, but only the first and the last by Mark 2 and Luke 6.  However, the fourth statement is given more fully in Mark 2 than in the other two gospels:

Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; how he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?

Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.

But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.

Harsh Traditions

As stated above, the Sabbath was created to be the best day of the week, but the extremely harsh traditions, combined with the strict policing by the proud and terrifying religious rulers, made it the worst day of the week.

Many people still today keep the Sabbath; either on Saturday or on Sunday, but make the same mistake.  In their eagerness to ensure that they comply with the law they disallow even pleasurable activities, such as swimming or hiking.  The poor children suffer the most.  The purpose of the Jewish Sabbath was to be a day of joy.  There were some animal sacrifices prescribed for the Sabbath, but it was not prescribed as a day for religious activities.  It was a day to cease the hard work of the other days and to rest and enjoy.  If it is you view that you must keep the Sabbath, please ensure that you keep it as a day to enjoy.

To Do Good

In the healing Sabbath controversies Christ argued that “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath”.  “To do good” implies doing something for somebody else.   In the current instance, since the disciples were picking grains for themselves, He did not use this justification.

David and His Men

In response Jesus firstly used the example of David and his men who, when they were hungry, ate the temple bread which only the priests were permitted to eat (Mat. 12:3-4; Mark 2:25-26; Luke 6:3-4).  This example presents us with an order of priority: easing the hunger of David and his men, in their hour of crisis, was more important than the prescripts with respect to the showbread.  By implication Christ was saying that to ease the hunger of the disciples was more important than the Sabbath.  Generally stated, the real needs of people are always more important than the Sabbath.

Priests in the Temple

Christ secondly referred to the priests who “break the Sabbath” by working in the temple, but remain without guilt because they did this work in God’s service.  (Mat. 12:5-6).  For instance, the priests baked bread (Ex. 16:23; 1 Sam. 21:3-6) to replace the week-old bread of the presence (Lev. 24:8; 1 Chr. 9:32) and performed many other tasks related to the maintenance of the temple and sacrificial system. The same labor in a secular context would not be allowed on the Sabbath.  The principle is that work is allowed on the Sabbath if that work is done in God service of redemption; to provide forgiveness and salvation to sinners.

Christ applied this principle to His disciples by saying, “something greater than the temple is here” (Matt. 12:6).  He was referring to Himself as “greater than the temple” (compare Mat. 12:41, 42).  The temple and its services were mere symbols of Christ and His mission.  By comparing Himself to the temple He was, by implication, saying that the disciples were equivalent to priests serving in the temple.  While they were with Him, they were in God’s service for the redemption of sinners, and people are allowed to work on the Sabbath if that work is necessitated by being in God’s service!

This principle must be distinguished from the argument which Jesus used to justify His Sabbath healing miracles in the gospel of John, where He said that, by healing on the Sabbath, He is doing the work of the Father.  Healing is directly doing God’s work to redeem and restore men.  The picking of grain was not directly doing God’s work, but doing other work done while in God’s service.

Compassion

Christ thirdly said:

But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” (Mat. 12:7)

Christ here quotes from the prophet Hosea, who rebukes his people for “seeking the Lord . . . with their flocks and herds” (5:6) as if God could be appeased by the many and costly sacrifices (cf. 1 Sam. 15:22), stating that compassion is more important than sacrifices.

With this quote Christ accused the Pharisees of judging without compassion.  The first two arguments are two different reasons why His disciples are “innocent” (Mat. 12:7), but with this argument He attacked the Pharisees.

Compassion can be defined as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others; a feeling of sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Because the Sabbath is intended to allow rest from the hard work, compassion is particularly applicable to the Sabbath, but the hunger which plagued His disciples did not kindle any feeling of tenderness or eagerness to help within the hearts of the Pharisees.  Instead they were quick to condemn the disciples.  As Jesus said at another time:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness” (Matthew 23:23).

To pretend to speak for God and then to judge people harshly is a horrible sin, because it misrepresents God as cruel and harsh, and what sin could be worse?  It drives people away from God and away from the Truth.  Let us rather mimic the One that said to the woman caught in adultery:

“I do not condemn you, either” (John 8:11).

Let us also judge people with compassion.  Christ also said: “in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Mat 7:2).  Do you want to be judged the way that you judge other people?

The Sabbath was made for Man

Christ fourthly added this principle:

The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).

Christ here referred to the creation account, where it is stated that the Sabbath was created to be a blessing (Gen 2:3); in other words, for man’s benefit.  “The Sabbath was made” by God by resting on the seventh day and then by blessing and sanctifying the day.  God was not tired after six days of work.  He did not have to rest.  He rested to set an example to man.  The Sabbath is not merely a reminder that God rested on the seventh day; God rested to create the seventh day.

The Jewish traditions made man the servant of the Sabbath.  It made Sabbath holiness the goal, and man had to ensure this.  But the Sabbath was created for man’s benefit; for his welfare and happiness.  Therefore human needs are more important than the Sabbath.  Wearisome rules with respect to how the Sabbath is to be observed, defeats it purpose.

Compassion is a fundamental principle of God’s kingdom, but the principle that “the Sabbath was made for man” provides particular support for Christ’s demand for compassion for the sufferings or misfortunes of others when judging people with respect to what they do in the Sabbath.

Lord of the Sabbath

Christ concluded:

So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28; Mat. 12:8; Luke 6:5).

Why did Christ find it necessary to say that He is “Lord even of the Sabbath”?

Some propose that He said it to indicate that He will change or abrogate the Sabbath, but there is no indication of this in the text.  To the contrary, His statement that “the Sabbath was made for man” implies that the Sabbath will remain for as long as man exists.

It is proposed here that He did not say that He is “Lord even of the Sabbath” to say something about the Sabbath, but to say something about Himself.  In the same context He also said that “the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Mark 2:10). that “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father” (Mat 11:27) and that He is “greater than the temple”, “greater than Jonah” and  “greater than Solomon” (Mat. 12:6, 41, 42).  And frequently He identified Himself as the “Son of man”.  This identifies Him as the “One like a Son of Man” who will receive “everlasting dominion” over “all the peoples, nations and men of every language” (Daniel 7:13-14).

Conclusion

In conclusion His arguments can be divided into two principles.  The reference to David and His men, His demand for compassion and His statement that “the Sabbath was made for man” can be combined into a single principle, namely that the Sabbath exists for man’s benefit and must serve man’s needs.

This principle applies in all circumstances, but His other argument is specific to the unique circumstances of the incident, namely that the “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mat. 12:8; Luke 6:5), who is “greater than the temple”, “is here” (Mat. 12:6).  His presence transformed His disciples into the equivalent of “priests in the temple“, who are allowed to work on the Sabbath (Mat. 12:5).  The principle is that work while in God’s service, for man’s redemption, is allowed on the Sabbath.

TO:  Sabbath Table of Contents

NEXT: Bethesda – John 5

TO: General Table of Contents

Jesus heals the blind man in John 9

The traditions did not permit healing on the Sabbath, but Jesus heals the blind man specifically on the Sabbath.  He thereby:
(1) Illustrated the nature and work of the Father, namely to heal, redeem and restore;
(2) Provided support for His astounding claims, such as that He has the authority from the Father to give up His life and to take it up again;
(3) Condemned the Jewish system of authority, which was based on their traditions; and
(4) Declared that the purpose of the Sabbath is to heal and restore;

Overview:

One Sabbath Jesus heals the blind man.  He was blind from birth.  Jesus made clay, applied it to the man’s eyes and told him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam.  So he went away and washed, and came back seeing (John 9:6-7).

Most of John 9 describes the dialogue between the blind man, his neighbors, his parents and the Pharisees, without Christ being involved (9:8-33).  The realistic nature of these exchanges, for such an unusual situation, assures us that this miracle really happened.

The Pharisees concluded, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath“.  Jesus not only healed the man, He also made clay to put on the man’s eyes and He told the man to wash his face in a pool.  All three these actions were perhaps classified, by the extremely strict traditions, as work that was not allowed on the Sabbath.

In this incident Jesus did not justify His Sabbath works, except to say it is the Father’s work.  When Jesus heals the blind man, it was the Father at work.  God’s purpose and perpetual work in this world is to redeem and restore man, healing sinners both spiritually and physically.    In Christ the Father came near to us:

It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (9:3).

After the miracle Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and told them that He is one with the Father, that He was sent by the Father, that the Father is in Him, and He in the Father, that He is the Son of God, that He is the door to God’s people, that He is the good shepherd and that He has the authority from the Father to give up His life and to take it up again.  Christ appealed to the miracles to support these astonishing claims:

the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me” (10:25).

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (10:37-38; compare 9:3)

Another purpose of His Sabbath healing miracles was to condemn the religious rulers as religious thieves and robbers, coming to steal and destroy.  This was one of Christ’s major messages in these chapters in John.  He said to them, “you do not believe because you are not of My sheep” (10:26).  By healing on the Sabbath, in direct contravention of the traditions (9:15, 16), He condemned the Pharisees’ rule and the foundation of their authority, which was their traditions.  It was not necessary for Christ to make clay to heal the man.  Perhaps He made clay on the Sabbath to deliberately contravene of the extremely strict the Jewish traditions.

Since Christ so often healed these non-emergency cases on the Sabbath, without being asked, in deliberate contravention of the traditions, it should be concluded that He was thereby saying something important about the Sabbath:

Firstly, that doing the Father’s work is allowed on the Sabbath.  “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Mat 12:12), and healing is a good example of the “many good works from the Father” (John 10:32).

Secondly, that the purpose of the Sabbath is to restore man.  It was for this purpose that the seventh day has been set aside.  Since Christians are people that abide by the “Law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2), which is His teachings, Christians should cease other work on the seventh day to focus on this work; to restore man.

The Sabbath healing miracles are therefore merely part of His message, supporting His claim to be sent by the Father, but also condemning the Pharisees, while also showing what the Sabbath is supposed to be; a day for the “good works from the Father”.

Jesus heals the blind man

Most of the chapter (9:8-33) describes the dialogue between the blind man, his neighbors, his parents and the Pharisees, without Christ being involved.

The people who knew him were amazed (9:8-11).  They took him to the Pharisees (9:13), who did not believe that the man was born blind (9:18) until they interrogated his parents (9:18-21).  Because it was a Sabbath on which Jesus made the clay and told the man to wash his face, some of the Pharisees concluded that Jesus worked on the Sabbath and therefore that He was a sinner (9:14-16).  But others were not sure (9:16), causing division in the ranks of the Pharisees (9:16).  Interestingly, they then asked the blind man for his opinion about Christ (9:17).

But eventually the consensus amongst the Pharisees was that “we know that this man (Jesus) is a sinner” (9:24).

The brave and wise words from the blind man, when they interrogated him for a second time (9:25; 27; 30-33), indicate the working of the Holy Spirit.  He witnessed to the Pharisees that Jesus was “from God” and questioned Pharisees’ legitimacy, seeing that they did not know where Jesus is from.

Therefore the Pharisees excommunicated the blind man (9:34, compare 9:22).  Later Jesus went to look for the man, and introduced Himself to the man as Daniel’s “the Son of Man” (9:35).

Causes and reasons of suffering and illness

When His disciples first saw the blind man, they asked:

Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” (9:2)

This question reflects the general Jewish view of the time, namely that every illness was God’s penalty of some wrongdoing; either of the sufferer himself or of his parents.  This view is also reflected in the statement later made by the Pharisees to the blind man:

You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” (9:34)

Correcting His disciples, Jesus said:

“It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (9:3)

Different people have different views with respect to what causes suffering, for instance:

  • Many people think that God causes suffering and disease.
  • Others think that it is caused by Satan.  They may use the history of Job in support of their view.
  • Still others view it as the natural result of sin.

People that believe that God causes suffering and disease also have different views with respect to His purpose.  Some view it as God’s punishment for sin. Others view it as discipline.  Discipline is, like punishment, the consequence of wrong things done in the past, but the purpose of discipline is to correct behavior to harvest good things in the future, while punishment has no future purpose.

In 9:3 Jesus seems to oppose the idea that suffering is God’s penalty for the sins of the past, “but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him”.  This raises a number of questions.  Does this mean that all illness is intended to display “the works of God”, or was this man a special case?  Did God cause his blindness from birth to display “the works of God”?

There is another way of interpreting Christ’s words here.  Note that the words “it was” in 9:3 are added by the translators.  By deleting these words and by replacing the full stop with a comma (there are no punctuation marks in the original text), it reads:

but so that the works of God might be displayed in him, we must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day”. (9:3-4).

Read in this way Christ is not saying that God caused the man’s illness, but rather that He (Christ) will use the man’s disability to display the works of God.  It is therefore proposed that 9:3 by itself is insufficient to come to general conclusions with respect to the causes and reasons of suffering and illness.

The Father’s Works

Jesus said:

We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” (9:4-5)

This is Christ’s only justification in this chapter for the Sabbath healing that is described in the next two verses (9:6-7).  He justifies it as “the works of Him who sent Me” (9:4) which are “good works from the Father” (10:32).  This is the same justification as for the Sabbath healing in John 5, where He said, “My father is working still, and I am working” (5:17).  Both statements refer to the Father’s work and both say Christ is doing the Father’s work.

We sometimes put the Father in the background, but Jesus was the Father’s agent.  He has been sent by the Father (9:4).  When Jesus heals the blind man, it is the Father at work.  God’s purpose and perpetual work in this world is to redeem and restore man, healing sinners both spiritually and physically:

the Lord Jesus Christ … gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal 1:3-4)

Night and Day

Consider again Christ’s words:

We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” (9:4-5)

The word “day” links to the word “Light”.  In other words, “day” here refers to the time when Jesus was in the world.  “Night” probably refers to death.

Light is something that makes it possible for us to see.  Christ is the “Light of the world” because He made it possible for the world to see spiritual truths.

Similar to John 5

This incident is in many respects similar to the healing at Bethesda:

Both healed men have been ill for a long time.  Neither was an emergency.  One was an invalid for 38 years (5:5) and the other was blind from birth (9:2).  In both instances the healing could have been delayed to the next day.

Neither of the chronically ill men asked for or expected to be healed.

Both miracles were performed in Jerusalem (5:1; 8:2), but not in the temple (8:59), nor in one of the synagogues.  Consequently in neither case Pharisees witnessed the healing, but both incidents were later reported to the Pharisees.

In both instances Jesus later went to speak to the man again (5:14; 9:35).

Pools are involved in both miracles.  The paralytic was lying on the edge of the pool in Bethesda while the blind man had to wash in the pool in Siloam.

In addition to healing, which the Pharisees viewed as work that is disallowed on the Sabbath, both miracles also included other activities which the extremely strict traditions perhaps classified as work.  In the first Christ instructed the paralytic to carry his pallet, and in the second Christ “made the clay” and instructed the man to go and wash his face in a pool (9:14-16).

After both miracles the Pharisees accused Christ of breaking the Sabbath: “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath” (9:16).

Support His astounding claims

The healings in both John 5 and John 9 are followed by Christ’s teaching.  Christ’s teachings cover 30 verses in John 5 (5:17-47) and 20 verses in John 9-10 (9:41-10:18).

After Jesus heals the blind man in John 9, Jesus told the Pharisees that He is one with the Father (10:30), that he was sent by the Father, that the Father is in Him, and He in the Father (10:38), that He is the Son of God (10:36), that He is the door to God’s people, that He is the good shepherd and that He has the authority from the Father to give up His life and to take it up again.  Because of these claims some Pharisees concluded that He has a demon, but because of the miracles some were inclined to believe Him.  This was one purpose of the miracles, namely to support these astonishing claims:

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (10:37-38)

Opportunity to speak

Another purpose of the miracles was simply to create controversy to create the opportunity for Him to teach the religious rulers.

Condemn the Jewish authorities

One of Christ’s major messages in these chapters was to condemn the Pharisees as religious thieves and robbers, coming to steal and destroy.  He said to them:

If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains”  (9:41).

“You do not believe because you are not of My sheep” (10:16).

I am the door of the sheep” (10:7), “he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way (implying the Pharisees), he is a thief and a robber” (10:1).

I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd (by implication the Pharisees), … sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees … because he … is not concerned about the sheep.” (10:11-13)

The Sabbath healing miracles had the same purpose.  By healing on the Sabbath, in direct contravention of the traditions (9:15, 16), He condemned the Pharisees’ rule and the foundation of their authority, which was their traditions.

Doing good is allowed on the Sabbath.

By healing on the Sabbath and by explaining this as the Father’s work (9:3-4; 10:25, 32, 37-38), Christ implied that all work necessary on the Sabbath to accomplish the Father’s purpose to redeem and restore man is in harmony with the Sabbath.  In the healing of the man’s withered hand Christ’s defense was that He is doing good, and that “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Mat 12:12).  To “do good” is to assist people or animals that are in distress.  Healing is a good example of doing good.

The purpose the seventh day is to restore man.

By healing these non-emergency cases so often on the Sabbath, without being asked to do so, Christ furthermore implied that the purpose of the Sabbath is to restore man.  For this purpose the seventh day has been set aside (Gen. 2:3).  Since Christians are people that abide by the “Law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2), which is His teachings, Christians must cease other work on the seventh day to focus on this work.

Conclusion

The miracle healings are therefore simply part of His message, supporting His claim to be sent by the Father, but condemning the Pharisees and their traditions, specifically telling them that their interpretation of the Sabbath is wrong, and showing them what the Sabbath is supposed to be; a day for the “good works from the Father” (10:32; compare 9:4; 10:37).

NEXT: Deliberately breaking the Sabbath

TO:  Sabbath Table of Contents

TO: General Table of Contents

Sabbath – Table of Contents

The Seventh Day – blessed at creation, counted by Noah, made a Sabbath by Moses, corrupted by the Traditions, liberated by Christ and avoided by Paul.

This page lists the articles that are available on the Sabbath:

THE OLD TESTAMENT SABBATH

What does the Old Testament teach about the Sabbath?

Blessed And Sanctified At Creation – The specialness of the seventh day is part of what God created and permanently engrained into human existence.

Evolution –The view that God created man over millions of years by guiding evolution makes the Bible’s core message null and void.

From Creation To Moses – Evidence exists for a seven day cycle before Moses, but not that the seventh day was a day of physical rest.

The Sabbath in The Law of Moses The Sabbath was a Symbol of Liberation, a Day of Rest, a help to Israel remember the Lord and a Test of Obedience.  It was not a day for church meetings or a day to seek the Lord.

JEWISH SABBATH TRADITIONS

The Jewish Traditions are extremely detailed laws that the Jews added to the Old Testament. It was intended to help them keep God’s Law, but by representing God as a tyrant, it eventually separated them from God.

THE LAW OF CHRIST

The Law of Christ (1Cor.  9:21; Gal. 6:2)Christ replaced the Law of Moses with a higher law – the Law of Christ.  This is the law that existed “from the beginning” and reveals the Father’s heart.

CHRIST SABBATH INCIDENTS

First Two Sabbath Healing Miracles (Luke 4; Mark 1)Early in His ministry Christ publicly contravened the traditions by healing a man on the Sabbath.  This prepared the ground for the later confrontations.

The Man With The Withered Hand (Matthew 12:9-14 and Mark 3:1-6)Jesus healed the man, saying, “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath”.  The Pharisees went out and immediately began to conspire as to how they might destroy Him.

The Crippled Woman (Luke 13:10-17) – The Pharisees became angry because Jesus healed the woman.  Jesus then asked, “should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?

When His Disciples Picked Grain (Matthew 12:1-8, Mark 2:23-28 and Luke 6:1-5)His disciples were accused of breaking the Sabbath.  He defended them by saying “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath”, and claimed to be “Lord of the Sabbath”.

The Invalid At Bethesda (John 5) – He justified the healing by saying: “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working … the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing” (5:19).

The Man That Was Born Blind (John 9) – The miracle healings supported His astounding claims, condemned the Pharisees and explained the Sabbath as a day for the “good works from the Father”.

CHRIST AND THE SABBATH

A number of articles have been written and are published on this website that each deals with a specific Sabbath incident from the gospels. The current series of articles is a topical overview of the main principles.

Why Christ Deliberately Contravened The Sabbath – The Jews defined healing as work that is disallowed on the Sabbath.  Still Jesus deliberately healed on the Sabbath.  The message therefore is important.

The Real Reason They Killed Jesus – He contravened the Jewish traditions, and therefore was a threat to the authority of the religious rulers.

Opportunity To Teach – The miracles gave credence to His astounding claims, such as that the Father is in Him, and He in the Father, and created the opportunity to teach.

What Did Jesus Teach About The Sabbath? – What did Jesus teach may and must be done on the Sabbath?

Jesus Taught A Different Sabbath. – Moses made rest the goal.  Christ shifted the focus to the purpose, namely to free people from Satan’s bonds.  Rest is for this purpose, and remains.

Is the Sabbath commandment repeated in the New Testament?  What are the implications?

THE SABBATH IN PAUL’S LETTERS

A Typical Interpretation

Romans 14:5-6  One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike.  Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. (NASB)

 

 

The intention is to populate this page more fully over the next months.

TO: General Table of Contents