Jesus's Words

On the Idea That the Sabbath Must Be Kept Holy

The idea that we must keep the sabbath holy is a growing and fallacious idea brought on by those that want to seem holy by doing good works, or who want to bind people under strict and tenuous works.


Why Do People Want to Follow the Sabbath?

These well meaning people are ignoring Jesus to listen to the commands that God gave to his servants in the Old Testament. Specially, the command is found in Exodus where it reads, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.Exodus 20:8-11

Deuteronomy contains a repeat of these verses, except it end slightly differently. Instead of saying why God blessed the sabbath day, it instead gives another command: And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.Deuteronomy 5:15

God later explained why he gave the sabbath, saying, Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.Ezekiel 20:12 But, who is them in that verse? Quite simple, it is Israel.(See Ezekiel 20:5 or 20:13.)

Why Don't Disciples of Jesus Keep the Sabbath? Back to Top ↑

Quite simply, because we are not the servants of God. God said, For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.Leviticus 25:55

The servants listen to God's commands and follow them. We can see this difference when we look at how Jesus described John the Baptist, This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.Luke 7:27-28

John the Baptist was a messenger, not a brother, to Jesus. Nevertheless, he was the greatest prophet to be born of women. He surely kept the law as best as he could. In comparison, Jesus says, For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.Matthew 12:50 cf. Mark 3:35 In order to become a family member to Jesus, and thus a child of God, we must do God's will.(For a more indepth look at the will of God, see A Summary of the Will of God.) Jesus also encourages us to abandon our Earthly family by saying, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.Luke 14:26

And we can confirm this abandonment of our Earth families by seeing how Jesus treats his own family. First, he never calls Mary his mother.(He refers to her as "woman," the same term he used for the woman bowed over for eighteen years, Luke 13:12, the woman caught in adultery, John 8:10, or the Samarian woman, John 4:21. For terms Jesus calls Mary, see John 2:4, 19:26, 20:15.) Second, he is never recorded as calling Joseph anything, but says regarding fathers in general, And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.Matthew 23:9 Last, Jesus dismissed his own Earthly family during this passage: Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.Matthew 12:47-50 cf. Mark 3:32-35

Following the Will of God Back to Top ↑

Jesus spoke on the sabbath issue specifically, saying, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.Mark 2:27-28

The sabbath was a command given to the servants of God to rest. Those that know the will of God and do the will of God listen to our eldest brother, Jesus Christ. Jesus is lord of the sabbath, and he worked on the sabbath to fulfill God's will, just as we should do also.

Why Do Others Want Us to Follow the Sabbath? Back to Top ↑

So why do others try to impose this burden on their followers? Jesus spoke of those who wanted to put on heavy bonds. They are similar to the scribes and Pharisees, of whom Jesus said, For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.Matthew 23:4

Of these righteous people, Jesus said, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John.John 16:15-16a

Why Is It an Abomination to Follow an Old Law of Moses? Back to Top ↑

Quite simply, those that follow the sabbath do not follow Jesus. Jesus said, For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.Matthew 11:13 Since that time, we are to believe in Jesus. That is literally the will of God: And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.John 6:39-40

Following the sabbath does not further the will of God. Therefore, it is not the will of God for us to follow the sabbath.

Therefore, whether or not we rest on the sabbath does not matter.