Healing on the Sabbath

Christians Observing the Sabbath

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There are many churches that teach that Jesus abolished the Sabbath. These are all incorrect interpretations as verses are taken out of context and spun to fit the desired exegeses. Colossians is the most common “evidence” that the Sabbath was abolished:

Colossians 2:13-17 (KJV)

13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

In this letter, Paul is encouraging the Colossians to stay true in their faith through the persecution that is coming at them from all angles. At this time, they are being persecuted by pagans, Jews, and the government over the ways that they, the human leaders, have interpreted their laws and instituted them against the population. This is an extremely important understanding to have because those who say that the 4th Commandment was abolished by having it “nailed to the cross” are missing the point completely.

Paul is not telling them that they should not let anyone judge them over the Sabbath because it was abolished by Jesus. He is reflecting what Jesus Himself taught during his own earthly ministry, that the Sabbath was not a set of rules created by man but rather that it is a sanctified gift from God. Jesus taught that we are to keep the Sabbath day holy, that we were to do good on the Sabbath, to do as was His custom to read the Bible and pray on the Sabbath, and to not let the insane interpretations of men overshadow what the Sabbath was really meant to be.

Mark 2:27-28 (KJV)

27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

The Sabbath was established for our benefit. It has been and is still to this day a Commandment that we are to follow because we need to follow it. God knows best. He created us and knows what we need in order to live this life properly and continue on to the next life that He has planned for us.

Paul is not telling us in Colossians that the Sabbath has ended just as he’s not telling us that there will no longer be new moons. He is telling the Colossians that they should not be judged by any man over their proper adherence to true laws that were given to us. The “handwriting of ordinances that was against us” were nailed to the cross as Jesus Himself showed throughout his earthly ministry. His disciples picked food for themselves to eat. The ordinances proclaimed that they were technically reaping and threshing when they would take grains and rub them in their hands to pick out good food for sustenance, but Jesus made it clear that this sort of “labor” was decreed as such by man, not by God.

Jesus healed on the Sabbath because we are supposed to do good. Paul’s intention was to continue the teaching that Jesus did in His time on earth. By dying for us on the cross, Jesus wiped our sins away as His Father knew that we are not and cannot be pure through our own action. That does not mean that we can proactively follow a path of sin without fear of retribution nor does it mean that we will not be held accountable for our actions at the time of judgment.

The Sabbath is something that we have been told to follow from the beginning. Jesus obeyed it perfectly as He walked the earth. Paul focused on teaching that belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior was the only path to salvation. He was absolutely correct (of course). However, that is not a license that allows us to forsake what we have been told to do from the beginning.

Matthew 5:19 (KJV)

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Notice that Jesus is not saying that those who break the Commandments will not make it into Heaven. We are not given a license to sin because of Grace. We are given forgiveness because we are sinners. There’s a difference. Keeping Sabbath without belief in Yeshua as Lord and Savior will not get people into Heaven. Conversely, not keeping Sabbath will not prevent believers from being in Heaven. These facts should not be construed as an excuse to embrace sin, nor should they be used as permission to not obey the laws, including Sabbath. They are there for our benefit in this life as well as a part of the judgment before the next life.

Would you rather be called least or great in the kingdom of Heaven?

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