Sabbath Day redefined

John 9:14: And it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.

The preponderance of the miracles of Jesus on the Sabbath Day was a deliberate divine attempt by God to give a new meaning to the Sabbath. Rather than have his people fixate on what should not be done on that day, He draws our attention to how the Day shows Him leading man to “rest” from the weight of sickness and disease (Luke 6:1-12).

Rather than the Sabbath being a focus on self, in Christ, it becomes a focus on God. And rather than being defined by a designated 24 hours, it is a person – Jesus.

In the New Covenant’s recommendation for the observance of the Sabbath, it became elevated from practice to principle: as what God causes to happen to man, bringing him from the works of sin, to the abundant rest in the presence of God (Acts 3:19).

Rest is a person and He has said, “Come unto me all you that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-29).” Through that he redefined the Sabbath. At first it connoted a day to cease of physical labour, but now it means rest in Christ, from the rigours of earthly living; cessation of the sweat-curse of labourious living that the children of Adam were subjected to (Genesis 3:17-19), together with all other strains on humanity.

Sabbath therefore ceases to be a 24-hour period in a week, but an eternal “period” in Christ.

Christ elevated the Sabbath’s observance. It was changed from the mundane focus on the cessation of the activities of man, to a precondition for the activity of God. that means you must rest in God to allow his activity to manifest in your life.

In the beginning, Sabbath meant the rest of God when there was perfection (Genesis 1:31-2:1-2). Now, however, due to the imperfection of man (whose activity [unrest] spoilt things by sin), God suspended His rest time because there was work to be done to restore man to the pre-fall state.

In a defense of his performance of healing miracles on the Sabbath Day, Jesus hinged his argument on a precedent set by God the Father saying, “My Father is still working even now, and so I am working (John 5:16-18).”

Now, Sabbath is an attitude of mind where God is allowed to be God; working to correct all the anomalies caused by the activity of man in sin and disobedience.

The Sabbath-rest is belief, it is faith; it is resting on the finished works of Christ for the correction of all the anomalies in you (Hebrews 3:7-12, 4:1-11).

The application of the Sabbath brings about the clearest distinction between the religious system of Judaism and the relationship system of “Jesusism.” The Judaists’ Sabbath is focused on what man should not do, while for the “Jesusists,” we focus on what God can do: self-focused versus God-focused.

Jesus redefined the Sabbath, therefore, in three ways

1. No longer a day but a person: it is a relationship
2. No longer the physical inactivity of man but the spiritual activity of God: the key to transformation.
3. No longer self-focused but God-focused: not passivity but a pursuit of God

Therefore the Sabbath redefined is a relationship, a blessing and a pursuit of God and all the best He represents in our life. The Sabbath Day is not a shift in focus for 24 hours but a shift in focus for a lifetime, in preparation for eternity.

Since the Sabbath Day is not a “24 hour day” but a person: Jesus, we are invited to a relationship with him above all others types of relationships. He gave an open invitation that we should all come to him, that he would give us rest by becoming like Him.

When the writer of the book of Hebrews said we should look unto Jesus, it is so that we can learn of him, how he handled his difficult situation, so that even in our difficult situations we would have rest.

When Jesus was preparing His disciples for his departure and the persecution they would afterwards face, he said they should not be troubled because he overcame the world (John 16:33). The peace of God pervading your heart (Philippians 4:7), no matter what, is an indication that you are experiencing rest and that comes from a vital relationship with Christ, with our gaze is on him and he produces the Sabbath-rest reality within.

Self-focus only produces a sense of inadequacy. But looking unto Jesus makes you realise that His grace is sufficient for you (Hebrews 12:2 ,2Corinthians 12:9). He said that he gives us peace not as the world gives (John 14:27), we can therefore be peaceful and restful in this world through our relationship with him. Peace in some biblical usage means a state of “undisturbedness.” With that understanding, you get to see the meaning of rest in Christ as emotional stability.

Maybe it is your lack of emotional stability that has hindered the expression of your spiritual potentials and others too. God does not want to build anything on a volcanic fault, which is what you are if you are prone to emotional eruptions; sorry, disruptions. Why not embrace Christ as representing your rest from all internal wrangling, by the peace that comes from seeing things, situations and people from his perspective? This happens through a close (not a casual) relationship with him leading to rest indeed.

Sabbath as mentioned earlier is a movement away from your own activity to experiencing the activities of God. Paul puts it this way: “God is at work in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).”

Maybe you are wondering how you can be the best you can for God and you are restless about it. In that situation you are not experiencing God’s Sabbath-rest. “God is at work in me,” should be your sing-song. He has the timing, he has the process, he has even you in his control, and he has all the facts, the visible and invisible facts. There is no what-if about Him, his counsel will stand (Isaiah 46:10).

Don’t try to control things but yield to God’s control in you. Another definition that could be given for God’s rest is “yielding to God.” Things may be quite around you, but that may be when God activity is at its peak and the fullness of time for you is around the corner (Galatians 4:4). Therefore stop your agitations and allow God to work; He can only work in the atmosphere of faith in Him (Matthew 13:58).

The Sabbath kind of rest translates to a pursuit of God. Being God-focused is not sitting on your easy chair, eyes closed, while you think of the fluffy colours of heaven’s gates. Instead, it is engaging all the forces in you in seeking God. You think that is a contradiction? No its not. While Jesus was on earth, He operated in the fullest measure of the rest of God by that translated to him seeking Him all the more.

Entering God’s rest means you cease from all your works (Hebrews 4:10), but God works an increasing hunger for himself in you, that ensures you seek Him. Rest means: I am free from all mental and social weights (Hebrews 12:1) and all encumbrances that tie me down and cause me to fall short in my devotion to God. It means that I am free, at rest, to express the love of God in me in fervent devotion that knows no bounds.

Sabbath-rest means nothing is agitating me, I am looking at Jesus and being at rest, I could utilise all my energy (since nothing else is draining them) to pursue Him.

WordFromGod: Where are my Seekers? They are those who have found their rest in me and are not seeking it in any other place, thing or person.

 

2 thoughts on “Sabbath Day redefined

  1. Thank you for linking to my blog post on this Sabbath, I do stand in agreement with mush of what you said here but also still believe that the Sabbath 24 hour period is still very much important as a set apart day to God. For me the key thing isn’t about making it religious but a whole person experience where the entire person (body, soul and spirit) is in a place of joyful celebration and peaceful rest because of what the Sabbath mean for humanity.

    Shalom

    Liked by 1 person

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