Even a cursory reading of the New Testament (let alone the Old Testament!) will tell you that keeping the Sabbath was kind of a big deal. Now, we tend to hear that as “Go to church on Sunday.” But for the people of Israel, it was so much more!
Most will be aware that for the Jewish people, Saturday is the Sabbath. Actually, the word Saturday comes from Shabbat-Day. But it is not, first and foremost, about getting to corporate worship.
On Sunday, we will read from Deuteronomy of God’s command that the people of Israel keep the Sabbath. (Click here to read it.)
The first thing the commandment specifies about keeping the Sabbath holy is “Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work…” The original commandment doesn’t even mention going to synagogue or temple or church! In truth, the Sabbath was the first labor law!
As the text reminds us, these commandments come as the people are in the desert, on their way out of Egypt where they were slaves. As slaves, you don’t get a day off — no Sabbath. Now that they are out of bondage, they are to honor one another by making sure that everyone takes a day of rest and that resting is holy – set apart for the Lord.
How do we honor the Sabbath and keep it holy today? On Sunday, we’ll hear a bit of what Jesus said about the Sabbath and how it applies to us!
This column is from the June 3, 2018 issue of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.