So, what do these verses mean?
Simply put, the Sabbath was made for man- or mankind, for his blessing and benefit. It is a time that God has set apart for us to rest from our labors and come together to worship Him.
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It is a time that we are commanded to come together and honor our Creator in worship and fellowship. He said the Sabbath is a sign, between He and His people. A sign that sets His people apart from the rest of the world, when we observe it.
He said the Sabbath was made for man- not man for the Sabbath.
In other words, the Sabbath was created to serve man, not man created to serve the Sabbath.
We have one Master and that’s God! That’s who we serve. We are slaves to God, not slaves of the Sabbath. Therefore, WE OBSERVE THE SABBATH AS GOD INSTRUCTS, for He, is our Master.
The Sabbath was created for us, not us created for the Sabbath. If we’d been created for the Sabbath, then there would be no wiggle room to show any works of love, mercy, and compassion, to sustain life on the Sabbath.
Because, by the letter of the Law, the Sabbath demands strict adherence to it’s NO WORK – COMPLETE REST orders. There’s no wiggle room specified anywhere in those demands.
But, we weren’t created as servants of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created to serve us in the form of spiritual and physical blessings.
Therefore, Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, taught us that ONLY works of Mercy and Compassion, where there is a life sustaining need, were permissible and lawful works on the Sabbath.
For example, if you had an animal that fell into a pit on the Sabbath Day, it is permissible to momentarily break your Sabbath observance, while you go and rescue your animal. Once you do, however, you must resume your commanded Sabbath observance.
Likewise, you are permitted to momentarily pause your Sabbath Day observance, to feed and water your animals, but must resume God’s commanded Sabbath observance, as soon as you’re done.
Or, if you have a garden of vegetables and someone knocks on your door begging for food because they’re hungry, it is lawful to show mercy and compassion on the Sabbath Day. So it would be permissible for you to fetch some vegetables from the garden and give to them. But immediately resume your Sabbath observance afterward.
So, as Christ clarified, aside from works of mercy– works that would sustain life, alleviate pain, hunger, and suffering in that moment in time- NO OTHER WORK is permitted on the Sabbath.
Lev_23:3 – On six days work may be done; but the seventh day is a special day of rest, a time for worship; YOU MAY DO NO SORT OF WORK: it is a Sabbath to the Lord wherever you may be living.
So, Saturday the Sabbath, must still be kept Holy as God Commands. That goes for everyone.
And notice, Christ said He was Lord of the Sabbath. He didn’t say He was the Lord Sabbath… or that He was our Sabbath Rest… or that He was replacing the Sabbath.
Even Christ kept the Sabbath!
Luke_4:16 – So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. AND AS HIS CUSTOM WAS, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
Christ, not only showed us that He kept the Sabbath according to the Law, but also taught us that it was lawful on the Sabbath to exercise works of love, mercy, and compassion to those in immediate need.
Yes, we have a merciful God who gave us His Holy and Blessed Sabbath, as a sign, that He is our God, and we are His people. But, only by observing it, as He commanded, do we acknowledge it and become part of that two-way relationship with Him.