Let’s see, God made the universe, the earth, the plants, animals, sun, moon… then he made a man, whom he assigned the task of naming the animals, then he made a woman and created the institution of marriage. All of this in six days. Then he invented the “day of rest.” What did God do on this day? He rested and blessed the seventh day, making it holy. Some years later, Moses had a conversation with God and He gave Moses 10 commandments to share with “the people.” One of these was specific instructions to do no work on the sabbath.
So, the sabbath is the last day of the week. Traditionally, this has been Saturday. However, few people in the Christian community observe the ordinances of this special day, and those that do tend to observe it on Sunday, the first day of the week. What is the story with this?
I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading and researching it. It seems that by the time of Jesus, the laws for observing the sabbath were quite strict, comprising 26 chapters and 150 pages of very detailed rules outlining exactly what can and can’t be done and what is and isn’t work.
What did Jesus have to say on the matter? Apparently there are things more important than the sabbath law. But his answer to the pharisees is difficult to understand on its own. Fortunately, God provided a clarification elsewhere in the scriptures. Romans 6 (esp 14, but don’t take that without 15ff) says we are free from the law. Titus 3:9 re-enforces this idea. Hebrews 4:1-13 tells us that there is a sabbath, but it is not on the seventh day of the week for Christians. We will get that day of rest, but not until after we die.
So what should we do to observe the sabbath now? What is the intent of God’s word, is it to force us into strict rule following? No, remember the most important commandment as expressed by Jesus: Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul and all of your strength, and likewise love your neighbor as your self. Also, remember the command taught throughout the old and new testaments to teach your children about God’s word. Spending time with friends and family and worshiping God in a Bible preaching church are all excellent applications of these commands.
However, I think that saying that we (Christians) should do no work on Sunday (or Saturday) is a gross misapplication of scriptures. I would love to have your comments on the issue.