Is Sabbath rest still important to God?
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus offers rest to those who are weary. He invites us to come to Him and He will give rest for our souls. He yokes us to Him so we work side-by-side, yet unlike the burdens we often willingly take on ourselves, His burden is light and service with Him is easy compared to the burdens we bear and the competitive yoke of the world and the debilitating yoke of sin and guilt.
What is the meaning of “soul” and how can Jesus give it rest? How do the verses or passages around Matthew 11:28-30 give meaning to his offer of rest?
The Sabbath at Creation
The Sabbath is an integral part of the Creation week, before there was any ethnic distinction between Jew and Gentile; yet it is reiterated at Sinai and included as part of the Jewish Law (Exo 20:8-11); it is given again in Deut 5:12-15.
What was the purpose of Sabbath in Genesis 2:1-4? How do Exodus 20:8-12 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15 apply the Sabbath to Israel’s place and time?
Matthew 12:1-14—Jesus’ Example
The only place in the entire book of Matthew where Sabbath is specifically mentioned is in 12:1-14. But these verses seem to provide a context for, and an example of, the “rest” Jesus promises. They also show God’s gracious intention and rejuvenating purpose for Sabbath.
Two periscopes are joined in vs. 1-14. In vss. 1-8, Jesus and his disciples walk through the grain fields and are accused of breaking the Sabbath. In vss. 9-14, Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath.
What example did Jesus set in these passages? What does he teach about the Sabbath?
Sabbath Rest Today
Some denominations and groups, even some Messianic Jews, argue that the Sabbath is no longer to be honored as holy, that Christ’s death on the cross abrogated such laws.
Did Jesus’ method of keeping the Sabbath expire at the cross? What could motivate someone to argue against keeping the Sabbath today? Are there good theological arguments to do so? Lifestyle reasons?
It’s possible that there has never been a generation in history more in need of rest than today. We close today with an invitation to enter into God’s rest—His finished work of Creation—and his re-creation in the redemptive work of Christ. He invites you to come unto him, all who are weary, and He will give you rest for your “whole person,” for your soul!