Jesus on the Sabbath
The Bible says in Matthew 12 that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. In Mark 2, it says the Sabbath was not made for man, but man for the Sabbath.
There has been a lot of debate over the years about the Sabbath, what it means and what we’re allowed to do within its sacred hours. The Bible tells us exactly what the Sabbath is and gives us a great example of how to carry out the day in our own personal lives. Jesus was not a Lord of the Sabbath who sat on a throne and did nothing all day. He did something–usually something BIG.
Matthew 12:1-14, ESV
At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
John 5:1-17, ESV
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath.So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.”But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’”They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.”Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
If you have a moment today, take a look at this last passage in your Bible. Focus on the words used to describe the occurrences that happened on this–what we celebrate as Easter.
What many consider to be the last of Jesus’ Sabbaths during his earthly ministry, Jesus didn’t heal. He didn’t preach. He didn’t travel or meet with Kings or priests.
On what was one of the last Sabbaths Jesus spent on earth with His people whom He loved and enjoyed, Jesus stayed in a tomb.
Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and He is our Sabbath.
We can rest in Him because He rested for us.