The Voice of the Lord

The Son of Man is Lord even of Shabbat (Mark 2:28).

Yeshua's conflict with the Perushim (Pharisees) came over the definition of what constitutes work on the Shabbat (Sabbath). His disciples were plucking ears of grain to eat on Shabbat, clearly legal according to the Torah (Deuteronomy 23:25). According to the Scripture, "work" would have been putting the sickle into the harvest and gathering it. The Perushim, however, had added additional laws, including those that forbade the plucking and chafing of grain on Shabbat. These laws— which constituted a "fence" around the Torah—were added to prevent the Hebrew people from violating God's mitzvot (commandments). Perhaps because of this, the Perushim had fallen into the trap of following the letter of the Torah and missing its spirit. Yeshua challenged their interpretation of God's mitzvot, saying, "Shabbat was made for mankind, not mankind for Shabbat" (Mark 2:27). Just as God stands above his laws and they are subject to him, so the law of Shabbat was subject to Yeshua's judgment.

As the Messiah, Yeshua is the fulfillment of the Torah and the Prophets, including the Shabbat. How does Yeshua enrich the meaning of Shabbat? Shabbat means "rest," and truly Yeshua's atonement is the only way that God's rest can enter into our hearts and lives. The Messiah said, "Come to me, all of you who are struggling and are burdened, and I will give you rest.... you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29). How do we enter the Messiah's rest? It begins by coming to him, totally yielding ourselves to him in every area of our lives.

Let us seek to serve God in all we do and to find God's will in all matters. When we do this, Yeshua promises that we will find a true Shabbat for our souls.

...yield every area of my life to you, Lord, that I may come into the Shabbat rest of the Messiah (Hebrews 4:1-11).


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The Voice of the Lord, Copyright 1998 by the Lewis and Harriet Lederer Foundation, Inc. Published by Messianic Jewish Publishers, Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources, All rights reserved. Used by permission. No part of this article may be reproduced in print or on the web, or transmitted in any form, without the written permission of the publisher.