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Having looked at the origin and roots of Sabbath in the OT, we now want to turn our attention to its ongoing development in the NT, looking specifically at the three main references to Sabbath in the teaching of Jesus; the first coming at the start of his ministry, the second as he debates with the Pharisees about its primary purpose, and the last as he addresses Israel just days before his death and resurrection.
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The fourth commandment comes to us, not lightly, but as a strict and memorable principle. “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy,” thundered God from Mount Sinai to the nascent Israelite nation gathered to hear his words. (Exodus 20:8-10). Strict, because over the centuries the church has resolutely upheld this principle of mandatory rest and memorable because it still conjures, in the minds of many, images of toys not played with, races not run, and televisions blacked out on “The Sabbath Day”. Coming from Canada, where things were a lot less rigid, I shudder when told of swings being chained together to prevent children from, God forbid, breaking the Sabbath by having fun.
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