Sabbath Perspectives

Jesus and the Pharisees wrestled over one of their sacred cows. In addition to tithing and giving alms, the rigid observance of man made Sabbath law came to define them. What they apparently missed was the fact that God intended the day to be one of rest and relaxation, not stress over whether or not you had done something wrong. The average Jew on the Sabbath was like the average American traveling abroad; constantly on the verge of violating local etiquette. The Pharisees just had it all wrong when it came to God’s intention for the Sabbath. Originally it was created for man (Jesus uses the generic word for mankind) as a means to an end, namely the good of mankind. It applied to both the man and the woman. It was time to cease from labor in the field and in the home. The intended result was a blessed rest filled with joy, laughter, peaceful meditation, and appreciation for the grace of God. In many ways the Sabbath was the grace of God to mitigate the effects of the curse. Sin resulted in the curse of hard work, but by grace it was only for six days and not seven. This gave everyone a mandatory opportunity to reflect on the goodness of God. The opposite of joy and rest was the burdensome and silly restrictions that the Pharisees imposed. God meant it for good. They made it loathsome. Pharisees (ancient and modern) place additional limits on pleasures created by God to mitigate the pain of the curse.

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