Some of you who follow me on social media always see me saying “Happy Sabbath” every Friday evening or Saturday. I know some of you must be thinking, what is the sabbath?
Scripture says that the Lord made the earth in six days and that the Lord did something special on the seventh day.
“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work, which God created and made.” – Genesis 2:1- 3 NKJV
The seventh day is mentioned again in scripture.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” -Exodus 20:8- 11 NKJV
Now that we know what the sabbath is, when does it start and end? All of the world has grown accustomed to believing a new day begins at midnight, but scripture tells us differently.
“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day” Genesis 1:3-5 NKJV
The light is Day and the darkness is Night, so a day actually ends when the sun goes down. The sabbath begins at the end of the sixth day and ends at the end of the seventh, as said in Leviticus 23: 32, “from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath”. In Mark 1:32, when the sun set on one sabbath day, many who were sick and and demon possessed were brought to Jesus to be healed. Mark 15: 42-47 records how Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Christ, removed Him from the cross, wrapped Him in linen, and laid Him in a tomb because the Sabbath was approaching.
I have been blessed to have employers who have allowed me to have Saturdays off to worship. Sometimes I didn’t even have to ask the employer because the job didn’t require me to work on that particular day. I believe that was God looking out for me because He knew I desired to be with Him during that time. Two things have always helped me to ensure I had the Lord’s day off. First, I prayed about it. As James 4:2 says, we have not because we ask not. Don’t be afraid to talk to God about anything, especially if you are seeking to honor His commandments. Second, I talk to the employers. You don’t have to be rude about it, but just letting them know during the interview or whenever the matter comes up again lets them know. Offer to make sure yourself available as much as you can on any other day. Believe that God can come through for you.
Sounds like a burden, you think. If someone I know is in need am I supposed to turn them away just for the sake of keeping this selected time holy?
Jesus as we know was always helping others; doing good for others in need. The sabbath as scripture records was not a day in which Christ insisted on taking a day off from being compassionate. Why should we? On a Sabbath day, Jesus healed a woman who was crippled in the synagogue where he was teaching. The leader of the synagogue said there were six days that one should work, but not on the sabbath. Christ had a good comeback though.
“The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.” -Luke 13:15-17 NKJV
In Mark 2:23, Jesus and the twelve disciples were walking through a grainfield during the Sabbath. As they walked the disciples were plucking the grain and eating it. The Pharisees asked Jesus “why they would do what is not lawful on the sabbath.”
“But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?” And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”” -Mark 2:25-28 NKJV
Mark 3 records how Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the sabbath day. Those Pharisees, who were constantly looking for any opportunity to accuse Jesus were baffled that he would do such an act. Was He just supposed to send the man away until sabbath hours were done?
It is good to do good for your others on the sabbath. Feed those who are hungry. Put gas in someone’s car. Give someone a lift. Put clothes on someone’s back. Help someone on the side of the road. Go beyond your church and witness to someone who is in need of spiritual food. Help heal the sick and afflicted just as Christ did. To all those in the medical field, keep caring for your patients on any day. And don’t think you’re too knowledgeable to call on Christ during the healing process, because He is the Physician of all physicians. He knows the human body better than we do.
John 14: 15 says, “If you love me keep my commandments.” During His ministry Jesus also gave another commandment regarding our treatment of one another to show that we are His disciples.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.””- John 13:34-35 NKJV
Keeping the sabbath alone cannot save you or guarantee a place in God’s kingdom, but keeping it along with the other nine commandments; loving God with all your heart, mind, and soul; as well as loving others as yourself is the way to show your love to God. He is worth loving, and He loves us.