The Sabbath in Jesus’ Day, Part 3
Was Jesus Guilty for Breaking the Sabbath?
Those who hold that Christ abolished the law teach that He broke the Sabbath and justified His disciples in doing the same. Thus they are really taking the same ground as did the caviling Jews. In this they contradict the testimony of Christ Himself, who declared, “I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:10. Neither the Saviour nor His followers broke the law of the Sabbath. Christ was a living representative of the law. No violation of its holy precepts was found in His life. Looking upon a nation of witnesses who were seeking occasion to condemn Him, He could say unchallenged, “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” John 8:46.
The Saviour had not come to set aside what patriarchs and prophets had spoken; for He Himself had spoken through these representative men. All the truths of God’s word came from Him. But these priceless gems had been placed in false settings. Their precious light had been made to minister to error. God desired them to be removed from their settings of error and replaced in the framework of truth. This work only a divine hand could accomplish. By its connection with error, the truth had been serving the cause of the enemy of God and man. Christ had come to place it where it would glorify God, and work the salvation of humanity.
The Lord’s Day—A Day of Blessings
“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,” Jesus said. The institutions that God has established are for the benefit of mankind. “All things are for your sakes.” 2 Corinthians 4:15. “Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:22, 23. The law of Ten Commandments, of which the Sabbath forms a part, God gave to His people as a blessing. “The Lord commanded us,” said Moses, “to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive.” Deuteronomy 6:24. And through the psalmist the message was given to Israel, “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” Psalm 100:2-4. And of all who keep “from defiling the Sabbath,” the Lord declares, “Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer.” Isaiah 56:6, 7.
“Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord’s day. It belongs to Christ. For “all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, “I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them,”—make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God.
And the Lord says, “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, . . . then you shall delight yourself in the Lord.” Isaiah 58:13, 14. To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
The Desire of Ages, pp. 287-289
Next part: God’s Unchangeable Law
All Scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version, including those originally quoted by Ellen White from the King James Version.—Editors