Summary: More on the Sabbath, this one from Mark

Is the Sabbath Really a Big Deal Today?

Mark 2:23-28

April 2, 2006


Today, we’re going to look at one of those issues that quite frankly, can serve as a dividing line between believers.

For some, when you think of the Sabbath, you think straight-jacket – a bunch of rules meant to restrict you from having any fun.

For others, it might mean that it is complete freedom to live for yourself to the fullest, with regard to no one or no thing else.

Well, I think that by the time we get done today, you’ll find that the Sabbath is really neither one of these.

My hope is to lay down some principles from Scripture that will help you as you think through this deal.

It could be that you’ll get some questions answered about just how you should observe the Sabbath. But to be very truthful, you may end up leaving with as many questions as you had before.

Why? Because this is an issue that at some fronts doesn’t have many answers from Scripture.

So if you’re looking for some clear-cut instructions on what you should or shouldn’t do on the Sabbath, then you’re in for a bit of a disappointment.

Our passage for today is Mark 2:23-28. If you’re using the Bibles in the seats, this is found on page 708.

23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"

25 He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions."

27 Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

Let’s pray – Father, I don’t want to get all flowery about this. I just want to know your heart about this Sabbath thing.

And I pray that for all of us today. Give us your heart – and help us love you in words and action as we look at this. Work on us today, I pray. Amen.

As I mentioned last week, the Sabbath is important – at least important enough for Jesus to set down some thoughts that challenged the prevailing regulations that the Pharisees and rabbis had put down over time.

I mentioned last week that the Sabbath has been pushed to the background of Christian thought and experience, because we don’t want to be seen as legalistic and because I think that because in Christ we are free from the law, we think that the Sabbath doesn’t apply anymore.

But is that really the case? Well, let’s look at three questions I want to explore today regarding the Sabbath that I think will help us get a grip on what it means for followers of Jesus. Ready? Here’s the first question:

What was the original purpose of the Sabbath?

The Sabbath was God’s idea in the first place – did you all know that? And the principle is derived from the very beginning of creation.

God created everything in six days, and he rested on the seventh, and made it holy.

Why would God need a rest? Was creation so hard for God?

God: "Hey! I just created a 24-hour period of alternating light and darkness on Earth."

Angel: "What are you going to do now?"

God: "Call it a day." (

Was he just bushed after a hard week’s work?

I mean, he’d just created everything out of nothing, and on the last day, he put people on it, creating them out of the very dust he had just created a few days earlier.

Come to think of it, maybe knowing what people were going to do just kind of took it out of him. Whaddya think?

Folks, God didn’t need to rest because he was tired. He rested because he was done.

Now some of you have no idea what that’s like because you’ve never finished anything you’ve ever started, or at least you know people like that, right?

People have a very hard time knocking off every week, don’t we?

And that is one of the reasons God instituted the Sabbath. Remember Jesus’ words? “The Sabbath was made for man.”

The term “sabbath” literally means “rest.” And that is the essence of the Sabbath – rest.

God created people in such a way that they would need rest every seven days.

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Engleburg Toney

commented on Jul 30, 2008

I liked your theme in the purpose for keeping the Sabbath however you are incorrect with regard to the actual Sabbath Day. The Fourth Commandment states that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, not Sunday. No where in Scripture do we find a change of the Sabbath by Jesus or the Apostles, and since the New Testament was enforced after Christ died, wouldn''t it be "illegal" to change His last will and testament after He died? I implore you to study the issue further, keep the faith! Until He comes, love, Engleburg

Larry Jelley

commented on Mar 27, 2009

The sabbath was given to the children of Israel under the Law of Moses. As part of the Old Law it has been nailed to the cross. It doesn''t apply to Christians. We observe the Lord''s Day on the first day of the week as the apostles and other early Christians did. It has nothing to do with the sabbath.

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