The Truth behind Sabbath--Rarely Taught, but Transformational (Deut 5 & Matt 11)

  • Few truths will bring more peace and joy in this life than the connection between Jesus and the Sabbath.
  • This is essential teaching for all Christians, and is the gospel for unbelievers.

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Video cover image by John Tyson Upsplash

Goal for today:

For us all to connect to one of the most transforming teachings about the Christian life
that can bring amazing peace and joy.

What the Sabbath was really about, and how we keep it today

  1. What it Was and What it Meant in the O.T.
  2. How Jesus Treated it
  3. Sabbath today: the Very Core of the Gospel, and of the Christian Life

1. What it Was and What it Meant in the O.T.

Deuteronomy 5 CSB

  1. Be careful to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy as the Lord your God has commanded you.
  2. You are to labor six days and do all your work,
  3. but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Do not do any work ​— ​you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your ox or donkey, any of your livestock, or the resident alien who lives within your city gates, so that your male and female servants may rest as you do.
  4. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

The Key Idea

On the seventh day they were to stop working and watch how all their needs would be met by their covenant Maker.

Ex 31 —The Sign of the Covenant

  1. The Lord said to Moses,
  2. “Tell the Israelites: You must observe my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, so that you will know that I am the Lord who consecrates you CSB

Leviticus 25 CSB

  1. The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai:…
  2. You may sow your field for six years, and you may prune your vineyard and gather its produce for six years.
  3. But there will be a Sabbath of complete rest for the land in the seventh year, a Sabbath to the Lord: you are not to sow your field or prune your vineyard.
  4. You are not to reap what grows by itself from your crop, or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. It is to be a year of complete rest for the land.

Leviticus 25:19–22 CSB

  1. If you wonder, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year if we don’t sow or gather our produce? ’
  2. I will appoint my blessing for you in the sixth year, so that it will produce a crop sufficient for three years.
  3. When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating from the previous harvest. You will be eating this until the ninth year when its harvest comes in.

2. How Jesus Treated it

John 5 CSB

  1. The man went and reported to the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
  2. Therefore, the Jews began persecuting Jesus because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.
  3. Jesus responded to them,“My Father is still working, and I am working also.”
  4. This is why the Jews began trying all the more to kill him: Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.

Luke 13 CSB

  1. As he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, 11 a woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit for over eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.
  2. When Jesus saw her, he called out to her, “Woman, you are free of your disability.”
  3. Then he laid his hands on her, and instantly she was restored and began to glorify God.
  4. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, responded by telling the crowd, “There are six days when work should be done; therefore come on those days and be healed and not on the Sabbath day.”
  5. But the Lord answered him and said,…
  6. Satan has bound this woman, a daughter of Abraham, for eighteen years ​— ​shouldn’t she be untied from this bondage on the Sabbath day? ”

Mark 2 CSB

  1. Then he told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.
  2. So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath

3. Sabbath today: the Very Core of the Gospel, and of the Christian Life

Four Views

  1. Strict Sabbath requirements continue on a Saturday
  2. Strict Sabbath requirements continue, but now on a Sunday—the “Lord’s Day”
  3. There is still value in setting aside special times for God, especially for meeting together
  4. Any requirements are “law’ which is all gone since we are under Grace
    (All that’s left is a general principle that rest is good and God wants rhythm in our lives.)

Luke 23,24

  1. Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes.
    On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
  2. But then on the first day of the week… They found the stone rolled away from the tomb.

Acts 20 CSB

  1. On the first day of the week, we assembled to break bread. Paul spoke to them, and since he was about to depart the next day, he kept on talking until midnight.

Colossians 2 CSB

  1. Therefore, don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day.
  2. These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is Christ. —

Matthew 11 —
A New Kind of Rest

  1. “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy ladened, and I will give you rest.
  2. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
  3. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

What burdens are you carrying?

  • “This is all too much for me”
  • “I haven’t worked hard enough and I am so behind!”
  • “I am a failure”
  • “There is something wrong with me”
  • “I’m not good enough”

How do I keep the Sabbath?
It is Faith!

  1. By giving to God the time and resources he asks of us, and not worrying about how much we have left.
  2. By simply resting in his love for us, and trusting him.


  • The Sabbath was about resting in the joyful freedom God brought them.
  • The day belonged to him because he wanted them to be constantly reminded of what he had done without their effort.
  • In creation they were powerless and now enjoy his work.
  • In Egypt they were powerless and watching him work.

Our “Sabbath” is about resting in the joyful freedom God brings us.
He wants us to be constantly reminded of what he has done without our effort.
In our powerless, we watch him work, and trust him in FAITH.

Does not create Laziness

  • This does not mean we don’t work hard!
  • We give our very best
  • but we don’t stress
  • We do what we can, and then rest in Jesus



Image source: John Tyson

“On the seventh day they were to stop working and watch how all their needs would be met by their Covenant Maker
and now Jesus Christ calls all to come to him because he is their rest.
It is only by casting our burdens on him that we can get through this life.
For it is in doing so
that we see his provision for all our needs”
Sabbath Rest PCC 1997