Tuesday: Jesus and the Sabbath

Read Mark 2:2728.

Jesus With Ten Commandments

Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

What crucial truth about the Sabbath does Jesus reveal here? How can we take this principle and apply it to our own Sabbath experience?

Jesus and His disciples had just walked through a field of grain, and the disciples, hungry, had picked some of the grain and eaten it. The act of picking grain while one was passing through a field was not a problem, as the rules of the society permitted this. Food is a necessity, and it was perfectly acceptable for the disciples to relieve their hunger by eating what they found as they walked along. The problem was that religious leaders regarded their own made-up rules for Sabbath observance as more important than was human need. This was a continuing point of controversy between Christ and the Pharisees. Jesus’ response indicated that their priorities were wrong. The Sabbath should be a day for human blessing, not used as an excuse for prolonging suffering.

What other activity did Jesus do on the Sabbath, despite the controversy that it engendered? See Matt. 12:9-13Luke 13:10-17John 5:1-17.

Nowhere in all the Sabbath controversies recorded in the Gospels does the question of the validity of the Sabbath ever arise. The issue, instead, was how should the seventh-day be kept, not whether it was to be abolished or superseded by something else.

Jesus’ example shows not only that the Sabbath remains something that should be observed but also shows us how the Sabbath should be kept. And one thing we can clearly see from His example is that work done on the Sabbath to help relieve human suffering does not violate the Sabbath. On the contrary, if anything, His example shows that doing good for others is exactly how the Sabbath should be kept.

In what ways could your Sabbath keeping better reflect the principles seen in Jesus’ example to us?

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Tuesday: Jesus and the Sabbath — 22 Comments

  1. The sabbath was giving at creation to date.When Jesus came he kept the sabbath.During the sabbath days,he went to the synagogue to preach the gosple.The pharisees confronted Jesus for breaking the sabbath on the wilderness when his disciples pluged some maize and also when Jesus came to the temple he encontered a sick woman and heal her.This brought some kind of misunderstanding between Jesus and the pharisees for Jesus healing on the sabbath.They said that Jesus had break the sabbath.Jesus then said to them that "because of man the sabbath was made but not man for the sabbath"MARK 2:27,28.This make legible notion on the sabbath keeping.

  2. Powerful lesson indeed. the other issue that i see is Jesus does not do the healing or only acts of helping individuals on the Sabbath, but He also goes in the Synagogue as His custom was, LUKE 4:16. I see a balance here. But other people only do acts of charity throughout claiming it is good to do good on the Sabbath, meanwhile, they are protecting their job. For example, Adventist Nurses in my society. I stand to be corrected though. Is it right?

    • Yes it is very right for them to do their job on Sabbath, because like Christ, they are doing a work of healing and it is good. People dont stop being sick because its Sabbath and we do well to not neglect them.

      Powerful and eye opening lesson indeed!

  3. Indeed Doing good on Sabbath is called for. We can see the disciples who were hungry , and. as such began to plucking the ears of corn and to eat. Mathew 12:1. Now I have been asking myself, is it wrong to cook on the Sabbath?

  4. The sabbath was made for the benefit of man. As we keep it we are to work for the benefit of our fellowmen and for the glory of God. As sabbath keepers we need to be more careful how well we guard its sacred edges. I have a question, what about attending a non-adventist wedding on the sabbath? Is this in order? Say you have been invited by a close,non-adventist relative or friend on the sabbath to their wedding, how should you deal with it? I ask this in order for us to get as practical about sabbath keeping as possible. Whats the principle to follow in such a case?

    • Hi Chris,

      Chris, I've been a SDA for 32 years and during that time have attended a few weddings or some other important events on Saturday. It's not my usual practice and it's only for relatives or very close friends. People often marry once so I have wanted to show my support. I think this is a grey area that each one of us has to decide for ourselves because these are only a few events in a lifetime.

      Perhaps someone else could give us the principle.

    • obviously there are overarching principles involved in such a case as this. But the first question i would ask the HOLY Spirit to give me wisdom to discern is whether i would be breaking the sabbath by attending. by using the dictates of conscious the HS will convict us of what the Lord would have us do.HE may desire you there to be a witness for HIM. there to demonstrate God's love in a real and tangible way. For God the motivations of the heart are of utmost value. in choosing are we looking to advance the cause of Christ, or are we more concerned of what others will think of us. weather you go or don't go God is able to arrange it so that you can demonstrate God's supreme regard and love for them,for their marriage and their future

  5. When the disciples were hungry they plucked food. They could have prepared food before the Sabbath and carried it along but did not and plucked food on the Sabbath. How do you explain this? If i am thirsty on the Sabbath can i buy water on the Sabbath Day?

    • Well I dont have much background to what happened that day but I suspect that if Christ and the disciples could have prepared something before the sabbath they would. The reference Christ gives to the incident that David ate holy bread shows that in times of necessity when emergencies come, God expects us to graciously work for the benefit of our fellowmen by meeting their need. If we could have avoided finding ourselves without water(in reference to your example) by getting the water before the sabbath then we are wrong to now buy it on the sabbath but if for some good reason we couldnt do the purchase outside holy hours then it would be ok to do the purchase as far as I see. This is my humble opinion in this matter. I may be wrong.

  6. Not wanting to belabor the posts on Sex and Marriage - Sacred or Sinful, but I was wondering if the notion of sex on the Sabbath day still considered a sin? If sex and the Sabbath were created by God, then why do many people object to husband and wife engaging in sex on the Sabbath?

    • Maureen, the way I understand it, if one is doing it to please and make their spouse happy then it is okay on Sabbath, but if they are doing it just to gratify themselves then it is wrong on any day of the week.

  7. I am so thankful for these stories of how Jesus kept the Sabbath and the wonderful healings that he bestowed upon this special day. I pray that I may appreciate the Sabbath more, and learn to truly keep it holy. I know there are blessings I enjoy only on this day!

  8. As I thought about this lesson Mary and Martha came to mind. Martha's interest was in serving others while Mary's was to relax and listen to the great teacher. Jesus didn't condemn the necessity of serving as Martha saw it but said, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her" (Lk. 10:41-42 NKJV). Jesus was prioritizing things without disregarding the minor necessities. The question has to do with what yields the greatest harvest in the end. Yet that can seem rather cold if we don't keep the kind of balance Jesus had in mind.

    Another incident that occurred with Jesus was one of His interactions with the Pharisees, "For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone" (Matt. 23:23 NKJV). Jesus again is prioritizing. He doesn't say that tithing the small things is wrong but rather that we should pay more attention to the "weightier matters of the law."

    Again when Mary anointed Jesus with some very costly ointment some disciples complained that it was a waste and that it should have been given to the poor. In response Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always" (Jn. 12:7-8 NKJV). Obviously He was not saying that we shouldn't give to the poor but was again prioritizing what was the most important for them considering the big picture.

    Now to the question of what we should be doing on the Sabbath - maybe everything in proper balance. To me the question is what should be our priority?

  9. In response of what nurses are doing, I think if they work unpaid it is good because they a doing good on the Sabbath of which is permitted, Jesus Christ did it too in Bethesda when He was healing the man who was sick for a very long time Matthew 5. He healed the man free of charge. Then if nurses healing people free of charge(meaning there will be no increase on their salary) they are doing good but if they expecting payment the truth is they are doing they own business. They should go and report to the management that they are not working they are helping people they don't have even to sign the register for being present because they are not there for business purposes and they have to visit other hospitals. In matter of buying water to drink on the Sabbath we have six days to prepare for the Sabbath and we know our needs if you know that you will need water you better buy it on Friday.

  10. Adventist Christian can actually mingle with unbelievers,do good to them on the sabbath but not conform to their ways and when you gain their interest, you direct them to Jesus.(Mark 2:27)

    • Does mingling with them mean doing everything they are doing that is right in your sight? I think not. There is a limit to everything and once the action is one that will desecrate God's Sabbath, then it should not be done. Some play soccer (football) with friends on Sabbath and called it mingling. Their aim is to win others to Christ. But this is dangerous precedence - why not play ball with them on another day of the week? I think while we are very zealous of following Jesus' example, we in our selfish pride run the risk of putting our desire for pleasure above God's command - thus our actions are not comparable to Christ.

  11. All thing are easy with the Jesus. luke 23:54 "And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on". For we which have believed do enter into rest.

  12. Sabath day should be a day of rest but use it to read the bible because usually during the week we are so busy in office we return home very tired. On sabbath is purely a day to enjoy, relax and rejoice and care for those who are sick in hospitals with family and friends avoiding situations that cause one to fault on sabbath.

    My question too? Is it correct for Church elders to discuss strategic planning on sabbath afternoon at church then after interlude discuss church annual plans on sabbath?

  13. I thank you all for the good comments but to me i see it hard observe the sabbath day holy as the lord jesus requires me but the only task is to fall inlove with him then Jesus the author of the sabbath will cover all my mental, spiritual and physical weakness towards sabbath and do what is right.

  14. Hi Maria,

    Your question is an interesting one. I presume that you are talking about academic graduation. I faced that situation many years ago and chose not to go to the graduation program. At the same time I know of other Adventists who have gone to their graduations when they have occurred on Sabbath. Their argument was that it was God who had blessed them during their academic program and the graduation service gave them the opportunity to give thanks for his blessing. My most recent graduation occurred during the week and consequently I did not face the issue. However, I would have given serious consideration to going if it had. I suggest that a lot depends on the individuals circumstances. One needs to weigh up whether your graduation is a bit of adulation for yourself, or an opportunity to praise God for his goodness. Ultimately you will need to decide that yourself.

  15. Dear Maria:

    I appreciate Maurice opinion, but do not quite agree. Attending graduation on the Sabbath is wrong, ask yourself, how does this programme assentuate Jesus, lift up Jesus, glorify Jesus. At a graduation, do they ever sing praises to God, do they even start with prayer to thank God for blessing the students, come on now, think..... would you go to sit an exam on the sabbath? well it is the same God who gives you the intellect to replicate the information in the examination room, do you have to go to a graduation to thank him for allowing you to be successful. Whether or not you attend the graduation you will receive your certification of completion, it is my belief that you will only be attending for self gratification. Go to church and fellowship with the brethren tell the elder you was successful in your course of study, and you will like to give a testimony in church that will help strengthen those who may be struggling and give encouragement to them. Let the elder pray with you and for you that you may be blessed.


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