Sabbath

Lindy Lyon

Sabbath

Jesus, the fulfillment of the Sabbath Day Rest!

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. “  

Colossians 2:16-17 (NIV)

Everything in the Old Testament was awaiting the fulfillment of the Messiah, pointing to a redemptive time for God’s people. The Old Covenant was only a glimpse, a mere shadow, of God’s true nature and plan for His people to enter and stay in a Sabbath rest. A rest He had intended for them from the beginning of Creation. A rest that will ultimately and only be accessible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Understanding what happened in the beginning is the only way to fully understand the rest. The Sabbath Rest, that is! 

From the beginning of the Bible we see the mysteries of God unfold. We see God rest not because He was tired, but because His work was complete. He called the day of His finished work, the Sabbath day.  

“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  (Genesis 2:2)       

And again in Exodus.                                  

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.“ (Exodus 20:11 NIV)

From the start, God was illustrating that true rest only comes through completion. 

A completion mankind lost access temporarily, but one Jesus regained for us when He defeated all the powers of Sin and darkness, and uttered His last words, “It Is Finished.” We see throughout Genesis what life was supposed to be like for mankind. We see God’s role as the complete source of provision and what is expected of man in return.

Scripture clearly shows God was the giver of every good thing, all for the benefit of man, and man created nothing.  

“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ Then God said, ‘I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’“  (Genesis 1:28-29)

Genesis goes on to show us an endless list of what God gave to man. He created for man and then freely gave everything they could need to live life in a state of rest. It sets the stage for the life God intended us to live. A life with full provision for mankind. A rest in natural provisions in the earth realm, and more importantly a resting place for their souls through their relationship and direct access to God. Adam and Eve had it all, and not because they had worked for it, or earned it. It was the love and provision of a good God, a loving Father who’s heart for His people was not one of self preservation and endless toil. 

It was not the will of God that mankind be left to their own efforts to meet their needs.  

Self provision and separation from God was never His intention, but rather a result of free will and the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Unfortunately, We know this part of the story all too well. Adam and Eve were deceived by the serpent (Satan), and thus disobeyed God. They ate the forbidden fruit, forfeited their authority over the earth and welcomed onto mankind every curse unimaginable because of Sin. Scripture says “by the sweat of our brow” provision will come now (Genesis 3:19), essentially telling us that life is going to be incredibly hard. The Fall welcomed in the earth-curse, a reality full of pain, pressure, fear and lack. Where man now lived life outside of intimacy with God, with no supernatural provision and no peace for their weary souls. 

Until the New Covenant and rescue plan of Jesus Christ, God was limited in His ability to intervene in mankind’s affairs. He had given His Authority to man, and when they lost it He was bound by the power of His Word to get it back to them. To live life in the original state of rest was not possible yet. His continued heart of blessing though was still evident through His commandments, and the blessing that comes through obedience. We see a further glimpse of God’s future plan to rescue His people from the earth curse (the Fall) when He gave Moses this commandment and said, 

“Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” Deuteronomy 5:15 (NIV)

Even under the Old Testament Law, God’s will was still for His people to enter into a degree of rest. He commands them to observe the Sabbath day, to rest from their work and to remember that He had delivered them. That they were no longer slaves. 

The Sabbath day, limited as it was under an inferior covenant, was a foreshadow of what was to come for those who believe. A permanent resting place to live from spiritually, emotionally and physically. A place where we are no longer slaves to sin, under the rule of the enemy, but free children of God, and Co-heirs with Christ Himself. 

“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. (Colossians 2:9-10 NLT)

We are made complete in Christ! He fulfilled every need we would ever have on the cross and He gave us back our Authority over the earth realm and the enemy. He became Sin for us so we could be reconciled back to God. We have intimacy and relationship with The Holy Spirit, the living active God and nothing can stand between us ever again. 

Our completion in Christ enables us to live a life of steadfast rest. A life full of peace, purpose and provision.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

Just as provision was established by God in creation, it now comes through the Atonement of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven He has freely given us. He promises to supply our every need according to the riches of His glory! (Philippians 4:19) We do not labor the way the world does without peace. 

We are on kingdom assignments, led by the Holy Spirit to obtain wealth for His purposes and are blessed to be a blessing to others. 

“Entering into this fullness (this rest) is not something you figure out or achieve.” (Colossians 2: 11 MSG)

To live a life at rest is not something that can be obtained by self-effort, by working for God’s approval, trying to keep His commandments or by observing the Sabbath day Law.

It is a free gift through Christ that comes by faith alone, soaking in His presence as His beloved ones. Entering into the Sabbath rest was never intended to be about what we had to do for God. The intent from the beginning of time was always to show God’s love and desire to completely meet the needs of His children. When the Pharisees tried to condemn Jesus and His disciples for not following the Sabbath rules, Jesus says,

“The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of the people, not the people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27 NLT)

It can be unpopular in religious environments, as it was with the Pharisees, to talk about a God who would desire to meet the needs of His people instead of demanding the people work for God. We often struggle to enter into the rest Jesus offers us because we can’t believe or can’t accept that God would offer such a profound gift. It seems backwards, our flesh and mind can’t comprehend such a love and therefore, we’re convinced it can’t be right. We go on in life striving, painfully toiling after provision, trying to obtain something that was already freely given. He gave us all things and He gave us everything we would need for the abundant life. (Romans 8:32/2 Peter 1:3). It was for our sake that Jesus died. It doesn’t matter what that thing is causing unrest or what areas of life you need freedom. He has already established your victory on the cross. It is a done deal, finished and complete. 

The true fulfillment of the Sabbath day rest is Jesus and He is waiting for you to receive it. His invitation awaits as His promise remains. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)