Thursday: Jesus and His Sabbath: Part 2

“It is finished”(John 19:30).1

Jesus, through His Sabbath miracles, demonstrated what the Sabbath is really about. It is a day for healing and restoration. Jesus intended for the Sabbath to call to mind God’s creative power. Thus, the Sabbath is the day when He frees the captives (Luke 4:31–37), makes the lame walk (Luke 13:10–17John 5:1–9), and restores sight to the blind(John 9).

For Jesus, the Sabbath was more about people than about rules, which is no doubt partly why He made His famous statement about the Sabbath being made for humankind and not humankind for the Sabbath. At the same time, as we saw earlier in the week, if properly kept, the rules protected people.

Jesus not only reinforced the validity and importance of resting on the Sabbath while He was alive, but He did it in death, as well. Read Matt. 27:57–28:1Mark 15:42–16:1Luke 23:52–24:1, and John 19:31–20:1. What’s the one common point all four Gospel writers make here? More important, what does this tell us about the Sabbath, especially in the context of the question of whether the Sabbath is still valid or not? 

After He cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), that is, after His work of Redemption (prior to His heavenly intercession) was done, what does Jesus do?

He rested on the seventh day. Sound familiar? Where have we already seen that? Of course, in Genesis 2:1–3. After God’s work of creation, He rested on the seventh day. Now, after His work of Redemption, He does the same thing.

Also, in light of the whole question of Jesus’ moving humanity away from the seventh-day Sabbath, His example of resting in the tomb on the Sabbath is, indeed, another strange way of getting that point across. If anything, especially because His death sealed the new covenant, and the new covenant supposedly supercedes the seventh-day Sabbath, one is hard pressed to understand the logic of those who believe that the Sabbath commandment was abolished after the Cross. If it were abolished, why would resting on Sabbath be the first thing Jesus did after the Cross?

Thus, both in life and in death, Jesus showed us the continued validity and importance of the Sabbath.



Thursday: Jesus and His Sabbath: Part 2 — 13 Comments

  1. Hi thanks for the phrase "it's finished"
    Now it came very clear to me as you well said. Same as when He finished creating the world in six days. great insights.
    God bless.

    • Henry, in a way that is a loaded question depending on exactly what you are asking so I am going to attempt to answer it the way I see it.

      To me the real question is the second one, "which rest did He take?" If we consider the fact that the Jesus who was on earth for 30 years was a product of the incarnation then we must consider the two natures that He possessed. He was fully man and fully God. The man part could get hungry, sleep, bleed, and die. The God part could not, at least as far as we know.

      When His disciples laid Him in the tomb the man part was in the sleep of death physically and rested over the Sabbath. The God part rested as He did after the week of creation. Obviously God worked in keeping everything going that first Sabbath and He did the same after the crucifixion.

      That is my simple answer without getting into a lot of presumptuous theology.

  2. Thanks a lot for the elaboration of the IT IS FINISHED in John 19:30, it makes it clear that Redemption is creating over again, only He that created man could redeem him. The one crucified Lord is that Creator of the heaven and earth. We thank Him for the Sabbath which is a sign that God is our Creator and redeemer-2 Corinthians 5:17,Romans 8:29.

  3. Henry, the problem with Genesis 2:3 is that the Hebrew is most often translated into the English with the word "rest." However, in English the word rest has the connotation of recovering from being tired, of recuperation. The Hebrew doesn't necessarily mean that, although it can. That is determined by context not by literal word-for-word translation.

    In the context of Genesis 2:3, it makes no sense to say that God was tired or needed to recover from His work. That being the case, it makes more sense to translate the word as "stand still" or better yet "stop what is being done." Neither of these would necessarily carry the implication of tiredness or the need to recover in English like "rest" does.

    When we apply this to the Sabbath commandment in Exodus 20, we can perhaps translate it as:

    8"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

    9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

    10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt stop what you are doing, thou, thy son, thy daughter, thy manservant, thy maidservant, thy cattle, and thy stranger that is within thy gates:

    11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and stopped what He was doing the seventh day: in that way the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

    Is this perhaps what you were alluding to, Henry?

    • I like the way you put it, Stephen! But it's so deep it's hard to explain. God stopped what He was doing, but He also created the Sabbath, sanctified it and blessed it. It's part of creation, so it's part of the week. It's just that He didn't make any more things that day. Creation was complete. Maybe that's one way of putting it, in my own words anyway.

  4. Hi Onkoba, thank you for your direct response to that direct question, really assuming the question meant to be direct. I believe what the Bible says and this is a plain statement that indeed God rested on the Seventh Day.

    Having said that, the clarification by Stephen Terry is very helpful (assuming Henry's question is much more than what meets the eye). Rest is certainly well explained amd makes so much sense, considering our God does not wear out as you and me do.

    Henry, did you find these ideas helpful in your search for answers to this subject. May god bless you all brethren. Happy sabbath.


  5. I wouldn't say I know much, but one thing that keeps coming to me is that God wants us to have joy, and He isn't against it. "In His presence is fullnes of joy" (Ps. 16:11); and, "....that your joy might be full" (John 15:7-11; John 16:24; 1 Jn. 1:1-4.) If we fellowship with Him, we are in His presence.


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