The True Meaning of Sabbath
John 19:31 "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away."
The Sabbath was first mentioned in scripture in Exodus 16, when the Lord miraculously provided manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness. The Israelites were commanded to gather twice as much manna on the sixth day because God would not provide any on the seventh day (Ex. 16:5, 22-30).
Shortly after this, the Lord commanded the observance of the Sabbath day in the ten commandments that were given to Moses on two tablets of stone on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 20:8-11). In this command, God connected the Sabbath day with the rest He took on the seventh day of creation.
According to Exodus 23:12, one of the purposes of the Sabbath was to give man and his animals one day of physical rest each week. Today's medical science has proven that our bodies need at least one day of rest each week to function at our peak.
Deuteronomy 5:15 also clearly states that the Sabbath was to serve as a reminder to the Jews that they had been slaves in Egypt and were delivered from bondage, not by their own efforts, but by the supernatural power of God. However, in the New Testament, there is an even clearer purpose of the Sabbath stated.
In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul reveals that the Sabbath was only a shadow of things to come and is now fulfilled in Christ. Hebrews 4:1-11 talks about a Sabbath rest that is available to all New Testament believers, but is not necessarily functional in all New Testament believers.
This New Testament Sabbath rest is simply a relationship with God in which we cease from doing things by our own efforts and let God work through us. The Old Testament Sabbath is a perfect picture of the New Testament relationship.
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