Jesus Is Our Sabbath Rest

Preached at Riverview Baptist April 9 2017/ 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN


Matthew 12:6-8 (KJV) But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the Temple. 7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Our Lord Jesus often battled with the Pharisees, the keepers of the Law. The Pharisees and Scribes studied the Bible, the Old Testament, the writings and the prophecies. That’s a good thing to do. I wish more professing Christians studied their Bibles. If the Church were to ever get serious about studying and applying God’s Word I believe that we would see light come back to America. “It is time for judgment to begin at the House of God” (1 Peter 4:17).

The problem with the Pharisees was not that they studied the Bible, but that they never understood how to apply that which they studied. I have met people like this all my Christian life. They studied, but never with Christ. They learn great truths, but never applied them. They are fundamentally correct in doctrine but woefully ignorant in application. This is why Jesus often stated:

But I Say Unto You”

Twelve times in the Book of Matthew alone Jesus states “but I say unto you”. As the Incarnate Word of God (see John 1:1,14), the “Word made flesh Who dwelt amongst us” Jesus understood the proper application of the Scripture. Like the Pharisees and Scribes He had book sense. At the age of 12 he sat in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52) “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and answering questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.” But Jesus not only had book sense, He had God sense or wisdom. He knew how to apply these Scriptures because He was involved in the writing of them. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (Revelation 1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13). He is God among us. And as God Christ established the Sabbath.

What Is The SABBATH?

Matthew 12:1-2 (KJV)1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.

In this episode of “The Pharisees vs Jesus” we see our Lord passing through a corn field. The disciples plucked ears of corn and began to eat them. Now they didn’t set up a fire, get a pot of water, and boil these ears of corn. They just shucked the ears and ate the raw corn off of the cob. The act of eating from a neighbor’s cornfield was not unlawful. The Scripture says:

Deuteronomy 23:25 (ESV) If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain.

God’s people were to show love to one another. This meant that if a person was hungry, that person could take a few ears of corn or a little wheat to fill their bellies. God loves His people, and decreed:

Leviticus 19:9-10 (ESV) When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

God’s people are to love one another. There is nothing wrong with eating some of your neighbor’s crop if you are hungry. The Pharisees were not upset because the disciples were eating, but because they were plucking and shucking corn on the Sabbath.

Now what IS the Sabbath?

The Sabbath was established in the Old Testament at the very beginning of creation. The Bible says:

Genesis 2:1-3 (ESV) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he RESTED on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God RESTED from all his work that he had done in creation.

The Bible says “God RESTED”. The word “RESTED” is the Hebrew שָׁבַת shabath. I want you to notice that the Sabbath or “Day of Rest” is largely symbolic. God does not get tired. The Bible says this:

Isaiah 40:28 (ESV) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. HE DOES NOT FAINT OR GROW WEARY; his understanding is unsearchable.

God rested not because He was tired, but because the work was finished. God did the work, and there was nothing to add to it or to take away from it. Creation was not an act of evolution, but of Divine Design, and God finished it HIMSELF. So God rested. Many years later when God gave the Law of Moses to Israel He decreed in the Fourth Commandment:

Exodus 20:8-11 (ESV) Remember the SABBATH day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the SEVENTH DAY IS A SABBATH to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore THE LORD BLESSED THE SABBATH DAY AND MADE IT HOLY.

God made the seventh day – Saturday – a Sabbath to His people. They were not to work on the Sabbath. And God was serious about the Sabbath. We read in …

Numbers 15:32-36 (NKJV) Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. 34 They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him. 35 Then THE LORD SAID TO MOSES, “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36 So, as the Lord commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and STONED HIM WITH STONES, AND HE DIED.

The Sabbath was a day of rest, a time to dwell on God and to worship Him for His finished work. In addition to the seventh day Sabbath there were Special Shabbatoth that precede certain Jewish holy days.

A Sabbath Preceded The Feast Of The Passover
A Sabbath Preceded The Feast Of Purim
A Sabbath Preceded The Feast Of Shuvah

There was also a Sabbatical YEAR where the Jew was to let the land rest and not plant, a time to rely on God. Every Sabbath that Israel celebrated was not primarily focused on being idle, but was focused on TRUSTING GOD. A Sabbath meant that you would cease your labor and rest in God’s mercy, loving Him for what He has given us.

God did not want His people to go hungry on the Sabbath. It is God Who made the corn grow, and kept it growing even on the Sabbath. It is God Who gives us oxygen to breath, and lets us absorb His blessing even on the Sabbath. When the Pharisees attacked Jesus for letting His disciples eat raw corn on the Sabbath Jesus told them:

Matthew 12:3-5 (KJV) … Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

The Shewbread (Hebrew: לחם הפנים lechem haPānīm‎‎, literally: “Bread of the Presence”) was twelve loaves baked and placed on display in the Temple on the Sabbath Day, eaten by the priests at the end of the week. When King David was running from his enemies he and his men ate the shewbread that only the priests should eat. God does not want His people to starve.

The priests often had to sacrifice in the Temple on a Sabbath day. God established the animal sacrifices as a foreshadowing of the Messiah. The priests did not violate God’s Law when they sacrificed on the Sabbath. Then Jesus told them this:

Matthew 12:6 (KJV) But I say unto you, That IN THIS PLACE IS ONE GREATER than the Temple.

Jesus is the Messiah to come. He is the One Who gave the Sabbath, and the One that the Sabbath looked toward. Jesus is the Sabbath Rest of His Children. He is our Sabbath. He is our Rest.

Jesus Is The Sabbath Of His People

He is greater than the Temple. Jesus also refers top Himself here as “The Son of Man”:

Matthew 12:8 (KJV) For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Jesus is not say A Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”. He is saying THE Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”. We have already read in Scripture how a son of man was gathering sticks on the Sabbath and was stoned to death for it (read again Numbers 15:32-36). No one asked this man why he was gathering sticks. He was secluded, judged of God, and then killed for his insolence. Jesus said “there is Someone GREATER in THIS PLACE than the Temple”. That is Jesus. Jesus said “THE Son of Man is LORD EVEN of the SABBATH”. Our Jesus is the “Son of Man” – a title for the Messiah first found in the prophecies of Daniel:

Daniel 7:13-14 (KJV) I saw in the night visions, and, behold, ONE LIKE THE SON OF MAN CAME WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

The Son of Man is a prophetic title for the Messiah. Jesus is referred to as “The Son of Man” 88 times in the New Testament. He is THE Messiah, the One Whom God would sin to be our Savior. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Eternal God come to redeem us from our sins. Jesus is fully God. The Father said to Him:

Hebrews 1:8 (KJV) But unto the Son {the Father} saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.

Jesus is not a Rabbi with followers. He is God in the flesh, Christ among us, the Messiah manifest. The Sabbath symbolized the coming Rest that is Christ. God sanctified the Sabbath, and commanded that man rest in it. God sanctified Christ, and commanded that we rest IN HIM. Jesus is THE Lord of the Sabbath. He is the One “Whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world” (John 10:36). Jesus came to heal us of our sin. Jesus came to bring us into communion with God. Jesus is what the Old Testament Sabbath symbolized.

You were commanded to rest in the Sabbath.

You are now commanded to rest in Christ.

The Sabbath forced you into Communion with God.

The Christ brings you into communion with God.

During the Sabbath you rested from your works.

In Christ you rest from your works.

In the Sabbath you were cut off from God if you did not observe it.

In Christ you are cut off from God if you do not believe in Him.

Matthew 11:28 (ESV) Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I WILL GIVE YOU REST.

We rest from our sins in Christ, for He hath made Him to be sin for us Who knew no sin, that we might have the righteousness of God through Him. We have access to God through Christ.

Ephesians 2:18 (ESV) For through {Christ} we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

We stand before God clean because we have received Christ as Lord and Savior. We who believe no longer must keep the ceremonial laws of the Temple. There is no Temple in Jerusalem, but now we who are God’s people are His Temple.

(Colossians 2:13-17) And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. … Therefore, let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a SABBATH. THESE ARE ONLY A SHADOW OF WHAT IS TO COME; BUT THE SUBSTANCE BELONGS TO CHRIST.

Following the death and resurrection of Christ (Jesus rose from the dead “early in the morning ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK” (see Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1) the early Church began to worship not on the seventh day but on the first day of the week (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). Why?

Because the symbol of the Sabbath has come.
Christ is our Sabbath.
Christ is our Rest!
Jesus Now Illustrates That He Is Our Sabbath

Matthew 12:9-10 (KJV) And when he was departed thence, he went into their SYNAGOGUE: 10 And, BEHOLD, there was a man which had his hand withered. ..

Jesus did not run away, but went to the Synagogue, the place where the Jews had their Church services. While in the Synagogue on the Sabbath day a man was there with a withered hand. Now don’t miss this.

It was not a withered EYE.

It was not a withered LEG or FOOT.

He did not have a withered EAR.

He had a withered HAND. A HAND. A HAND.

Do you get that? It was a HAND. With our hands we work. With our hands we try to work our way to God. Yet our hands are withered. Our works are imperfect. God says to us:

Isaiah 64:6-7 (KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

Romans 3:10-12 (ESV) … no one is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.

This man with the withered hand is a good illustration of every person born into this world. Our works are far short of God’s perfection. We are born in sin. The child disrupts because of sin. The toddler disobeys because of sin. This man had his hand withered. We are born in sin, corrupted because of Adam. But Christ is there. Christ is there.

The Pharisees pounce.

Matthew 12:10 (KJV) .. they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.

The knew that Jesus was going to heal this man. Now think about this. I don’t have the power to heal anyone. You don’t have the power to heal anyone. The doctors, no matter how well educated, have no ability to heal anyone. Only God can heal a person. We can bandage and medicate and operate and pontificate, but we cannot heal. Only God can heal. “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Well, only God can heal, so it MUST be lawful. It is lawful to do good, to bless, to lift up, to encourage, to heal, to help. Jesus did not point out the absurdity of their question, but instead told the Pharisees:

Matthew 12:11-12 (KJV) … What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore IT IS LAWFUL TO DO WELL ON THE SABBATH DAYS.

If a sheep fell in a pit, we would lift it out even if it were the Sabbath. This man – a metaphor of humanity – has fallen into a pit. His hand is withered. He cannot use it. He is in a pit he cannot get out of, and is desperate for the touch of God. He needs the Sabbath rest of God. He needs Christ.

Matthew 12:13 (KJV) Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. …

Jesus said “stretch forth thine hand”. Reach out TO ME. Try and touch ME. Christ is the Messiah Who saves whosoever will. He came to save the sinner, the withered, the heartbroken, the lonely. Jesus came to call a people to Himself so that we can rest in Him. This man had, I’m sure, tried to stretch out his hand many times. I’m sure he had gone to doctor after doctor trying to find relief. His hand was WITHERED, the Greek ξηρός xēros – kind of sounds like ZERO doesn’t it? There was nothing there. His hand was dessicated, without water, shrunken, wasted. There was no blood flow to it.

It was dead.

Stretch it out toward Me” Jesus said. Did the man say “Lord, I’ve tried to stretch it, and can’t. Why do you think I can stretch it now?” Did the man argue with Christ. Did he debate the Messiah? Did he say “I was sitting here minding my own business when You came in the Synagogue”? No. The man said nothing. He didn’t say a “Sinner’s Prayer” nor hunt for a baptistery.

He reached out to Jesus.

He focused on Christ, not on himself.

And he was healed.

Matthew 12:13 (KJV) … And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

If you wish to be whole, you must come to Christ. You must hear His Voice. You must respond to His Gospel. He is our Sabbath Rest. He is our Savior. And He wants you to love Him as He loves you. May God touch your hearts to reach out in faith to Him this very day!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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