Revelations from the Word

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The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. And the Pharisees said to Him, Look, why do they 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 [kurios] of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:23-28).

God ceased from His work on the seventh day, "God blessed the seventh day, and He sanctified it [kadash, put apart], because on that day He ceased [shabbat] from all His work that he had created to be done [by man]" (Genesis 2:3), and He ordered His people to do the same, "Observe the day of rest [shabbat], to sanctify it, as the Lord, your God has commanded you" (Deuteronomy 5:12). And He Himself defined what the Sabbath is: a day set aside for God, a day when one ceases one's usual work in memory of coming out of the slavery of Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:13-15). The day of the Shabbat therefore does not consist in pleasing oneself by doing what pleases us, but in doing with this holy day what delights God so that His Name is glorified (Isaiah 58:13-14) and in doing good to those around us, particularly our loved ones.

For 6 days God prepared works for us to do (Genesis 2:3), they are the good works of which the apostle Paul spoke in Ephesians (Ephesians 2:10). Then Jesus came onto the earth to accomplish the works of His Father, and those works witnessed that it was indeed God who had sent Him (John 5:36). In the same way, when we are a new creature in Christ, we can accomplish the works that God prepared for us from the foundation of the world. And the works of Christ consist in manifesting the Kingdom of God, "The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor" (Matthew 11:5-6).

When Jesus said, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath", He said, "The Son of Man is God of the Sabbath". And so Jesus confirmed that He was Emmanuel 'God with us' and that the day of the Sabbath belonged to Him and was destined for Him. At the time of the Fall, man lost the authority over the earth, but Jesus came to take it back. That is why He accomplished the works of God on the Sabbath day by healing the sick, manifesting in that way that He had again taken back this authority. Jesus came to set man free from the legalistic vision of the Sabbath so that this day might become a day of intimacy with Him and in His honour. And so the Sabbath becomes a feast for God.