I just love presents. When I think of the Creation week, I see all the gifts God made for us; from the lush meadows, to the spectacular stars, to food (yes, lots and lots of food!). On the seventh day God made something wonderful for us to enjoy, the Sabbath. He fashioned it, modeled it, and set it aside as special (Gen. 2:1-3). What makes the gift of Sabbath unique?
Sabbath Is a Promise
Jesus relished the Sabbath (Luke 4:16), and asserted God’s intent in designing it for us (Matt. 12:1-12). Jesus frees us to enjoy the promise of Sabbath the way He intended.
Keeping the Sabbath is keeping a promise--for both God and us (Eze. 20:12). It reminds us of our relationship and its importance, amid all that demands our attention (Ex. 31:16, 17). From Friday sunset to Sabbath sunset we have a “week-a-versary” when God affirms His commitment to us through His blessings, His faithfulness, and His joy (Eze. 20:20; Isa. 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14).
Sabbath Is a Prescription
In the beginning Jesus set the Sabbath aside by modeling rest and relationship (Ex. 20:8-11). He desired to create a sacred holiday on which work was sacrificed and restoration afforded (Lev. 23:3; Heb. 4:1-11).
We see a rhythm in the seasons--the way the earth sprouts, produces, and rests (Lev. 25:4). Observing the Sabbath is following an ancient prescription to heal the grind of living. Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, offers us His rest and shares with us the balanced rhythm of life in Him (Mark 2:27, 28; Matt. 11:28-30).
Sabbath Is a Praise
Jesus praised His Father continually, in every facet of His life. The way He embraced the Sabbath as a gift was no different (Mark 1:21). He worshipped, healed, and taught--basically doing good things that honored God on Sabbath (Luke 6:1-10; 14:1-7).
Sabbath offered Jesus a sacred space to glorify His Father. Every moment of Christ’s life was sinless, but on this special God-created day Jesus made it holy with His focus on worshipping God in assembly and compassion (Matt. 12:12; Mark 3:4; 6:2). Sabbath reminds us of God and His goodness (Deut. 5:12-15). By honoring God on Sabbath, we are rehearsing for eternity, eagerly bringing praise and worship to God alone (Isa. 66:22, 23).