Sabbath Was Made For You

In Mark’s gospel story the theme of sabbath comes up on a number of occasions. Most of these instances include controversy. The religious teachers are prodding Jesus about his views on Sabbath and looking to catch him breaking the divine command. Early in Mark’s gospel Jesus makes this statement regarding Sabbath

Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!” (Mk 2:27-28)

This statement drives to the heart of God’s intention for the Sabbath. It was not merely a command to be obeyed but a provision to be enjoyed. It was created to meet a human need. Sabbath is gift and imperative. It was made for you. You were not made for the command.

This confirms a reading of Genesis 1-2 that understands the 7th day as a gracious open ended invitation to enter God’s rest. Understanding one of the ten commandments in this light begs the question. Are the other nine gifts rather than burdens? Were they made to meet the needs of people?

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