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7th Day Rest - Sabbath

Lord of the Sabbath

What does Jesus mean when he claims to be "Lord of the Sabbath?” Listen in as Tim and Jon discuss this key claim to understanding Jesus’ identity within the theme of Seventh-Day Rest.
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Episode Details

December 23, 2019
70 min

Episode Details

December 23, 2019
70 min

Show Notes

QUOTE

"We're getting into the scandal that Jesus represented—which wasn’t offering an alternative religion; it was saying that he was bringing the whole storyline of the Scriptures to fulfillment."

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Jesus' claim to be "Lord of the Sabbath" was a key part of his understanding of his own identity.
  • Jesus’ resurrection is literally and metaphorically the first dawning of a new week. He was literally raised on the first rays of a new week, and metaphorically, this represented Jesus and all who follow him entering a new age of communion with God.
  • The Sabbath practice and the traditions that surround it has always been a controversial topic. As Gentiles who had no Jewish or Sabbath background fell in love with Jesus, the church began to practice or not practice Sabbath in a variety of ways.

SHOW NOTES

In part 1 (0-7:15), Tim and Jon review the conversation so far. Jesus is claiming to bring the eternal seventh-day rest into reality.

In part 2 (7:15-21:15), Tim dives into words of Jesus in Matthew.

Matthew 11:25-30

“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in your sight. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal him.

“‘Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’”

Tim quotes from Samuele Bacchiocchi.

“The metaphor of the ‘yoke’ was commonly used to express subordination and loyalty to God, especially through obedience to his law. Thus Jeremiah speaks of the leaders of the people who knew ‘the law of their God, but they all alike had broken the yoke, they had burst the bonds’ (5:5; cf. 2:20). In the following chapter, the same prophet says to the people: ‘Find rest for your souls’ by learning anew obedience to God’s law (6:6; cf. Num 25:3). Rabbis often spoke of ‘the yoke of the Torah,’ ‘the yoke of the kingdom of heaven,’ ‘the yoke of the commandments,’ ‘the yoke of God.’ Rabbi Nehunya b. Kanah (ca. 70) is reported to have said: ‘He that takes upon himself the yoke of the Law, from him shall be taken away the yoke of the kingdom and the yoke of worldly care’ (Pirke Aboth 3:5). What this means is that devotion to the law and its interpretation is supposed to free a person from the troubles and cares of this world.”

(Samuele Bacchiocchi, “Matthew 11:28-30: Jesus’ Rest and the Sabbath,” p. 300-303.)

The quote continues:

“Matthew sets forth the ‘yoke’ of Christ, not as commitment to a new Torah, but as dedication to a Person who is the true Interpreter and Fulfiller of the Law and the Prophets. The emphasis on the Person is self-evident in our logion: ‘Come to me . . . take my yoke . . . learn from me ... I will give you rest.’ Moreover, the parallel structure of vss. 28 and 29 indicates that taking the ‘yoke’ of Jesus is equivalent to ‘come to’ and ‘learn from’ him. That is to say, it is to personally accept Jesus as Messiah. Such an acceptance is an ‘easy’ and ‘light’ yoke, not because Jesus weakens the demands of the law (cf. Matt 5:20), but because, as T. W. Manson puts it, ‘Jesus claims to do for men what the Law claimed to do; but in a different way.’ The difference lies in Christ’s claim to offer to his disciples (note the emphatic kago) the rest of Messianic redemption to which the law, and more specifically, the sabbath, had always pointed.”

(Samuele Bacchiocchi, “Matthew 11:28-30: Jesus’ Rest and the Sabbath,” p. 300-303.)

In part 3 (21:15-30:00), Tim moves into the next story in Matthew.

Matthew 12:1-14

“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and his disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, ‘Look, your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.’ But he said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? But I say to you that one greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, “I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,” you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.’

“Departing from there, he went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’—so that they might accuse him. And he said to them, ‘What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand!’ He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.”

Tim says that the controversies caused by Jesus on the Sabbath are not meant to show Jesus as divisive. Rather, when Jesus says he is “Lord of the Sabbath,” he is saying fundamentally the same thing as when he declares, “The Kingdom of God is here.” Both of these phrases are declarations by Jesus that he is beginning the restoration of creation.

In part 4 (30:00-38:00), Tim and Jon have a quick discussion about practicing the Sabbath, taking one day out of seven to rest. Did Jesus value this? Yes! Jesus went to synagogue on Sabbath. But Jesus seems to place a greater importance on the concept of the Sabbath. Jesus is effectually saying that what the Sabbath pointed to—a time of constant communion between God and man—is here because he is here.

In part 5 (38:00-61:30), Tim talks about instances of Sabbath practice in Paul’s writings.

Romans 14:1-12

“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

“‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,

and every tongue shall confess to God.’

“So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

Tim also shares from Paul’s writings in Colossians.

Colossians 2:16-19

“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 a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”

Tim notes that eating kosher and Sabbath practices were controversial issues in the early Church as they are now. Tim also notes that once the Christian movement became majority non-Jewish, the Christian movement quickly lost respect for its Jewish roots and traditions.

Tim then asks, based on Paul, whether modern Christians should have some sort of Sabbath practice? It seems that Paul was flexible. He always went to synagogue and even fulfilled Jewish vows. But he also stood up for Gentiles who had no history or desire to begin practicing Sabbath law. Instead, Paul was excited to build a Christian community where all experienced equality under the lordship of Jesus.

In part 6 (61:30-end), the guys quickly talk about the resurrection narrative at the end of the Gospel of Mark.

Mark 16:1-3

“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’”

Jesus’ resurrection is literally and metaphorically the first dawning of a new week. He was literally raised on the first rays of a new week, and metaphorically, this represented Jesus and all who follow him entering a new age of communion with God.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Show Resources:

Samuele Bacchiocchi, “Matthew 11:28-30: Jesus’ Rest and the Sabbath,” p. 300-303.

Show Music:

Yesterday on Repeat by Vexento Ohayo by Smith the Mister My room becomes the sea by Sleepy Fish

Show Produced By:

Dan Gummel

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