Being the blunt person I am (I really don’t like beating bushes; they haven’t done anything to me, so why beat them), I’m ready to dive straight into where Sabbath part 1 left off. So, if it’s alright with you, we’re going to skip the intro (which is technically what this is; oops) and jump into part 2.
At the end of part 1 we had three questions. Two of them will be addressed first before we circle around and pick up number three, mainly because the first two can be answered simultaneously while the third needs to wait patiently for its own turn. Those first two are: ‘Does it matter what day the Sabbath is recognized?’ and ‘Who has it right: the Jews or the Christians?’ If you recall, the reason we asked the latter was because the Jews celebrated Sabbath on Saturday while Christians acknowledged it on Sunday (calling it ‘The Lord’s Day). I believe both are right, but please hear me out before deciding whether or not you disagree.
Christians acknowledge The Lord’s Day on Sunday because Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday. Thus, they work Monday through Saturday and are to rest on Sunday with worship and a sermon included. However, the Jews hold to Saturday because it’s the seventh day of the week. The truth is the Sabbath stems from what God did in the beginning. To make things a little clearer, here is the fourth commandment from Exodus:
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”Exodus 20:8-11
Today’s calendar was created by using the Earth’s rotation on its axis and its revolution around the Sun. The modern day calendar is based on a system Julius Caesar created (this is why we have July and August because both were named after him; he was just a smidge self-centered), but was later changed by an astronomer named Alosyius (whoinventedit.net). There are no names of the days as we know them in the Bible. The word simply says that the Sabbath is on the seventh day. Both sides could argue the day they hold Sabbath is the day to celebrate on (especially since Orthodox Jews don’t believe Jesus is the Messiah) and both would be right.
Now, if you’re still with me and I haven’t bored you to death with all the facts I’m dropping like a mic (because that’s a cool thing to say), let’s address the third question: ‘what about the missing ‘pain”?
In part 1 the Oxford definition of Sabbath was given and in said definition was the word pain, which I disagreed with. Further down the post, the verses of Jeremiah 17:19-23 were given and backed most of Oxford’s definition except for the term pain. The reason for why pain wasn’t included in the instructions as to how to keep the Sabbath holy can be found in the book of Matthew.
“Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’ He said to them, ‘If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.”Matthew 12:9-13
Pain was not included in God’s definition of Sabbath because He knew we couldn’t stop our own suffering, even in hopes to honor Him. In truth, He didn’t want us to try either. It’s okay to feel pain, sorrow, brokenness, depression, and anger. We live in a cruel world surrounded by seen and unseen darkness. God knows this and He wanted to make sure we rested on the Sabbath Day, not struggle all the more just to please Him.
I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful God gave us a command to rest. I also think it’s actually kind of humorous when you realize that to not rest is to sin, because sin is disobeying God. The most beautiful thing about all of this, though, is that the reason God wants us to rest is because He rested. He created the Sabbath Day to remind us that He is resting with us and it gives us a chance to sense the peace He gives. It’s like sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair with God sitting next to you on a good weathered day, just talking and relaxing as you take in the beauty of the nature around you.
In closing, I’d like to add one final thing. I recently listened to a podcast episode from Annie F. Downs. She, too, realized the importance of rest. For a year, she dedicated one day in her week to Sabbath. The episode didn’t say which day she had picked – she was still on the fence when it ended – but she was determined to relearn the meaning of rest. I encourage you to do the same, especially in this world that is constantly driving us to do more and to fill our schedules to the brim. Rest, take a breather, and enjoy a day of life. Spend a day with Jesus and know His peace.
“‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’.”John 16:33