What Jesus taught about the Sabbath
The Bible says that anyone who abides in God must walk as Jesus walked.
1 John 2:6 The one who says he abides in God ought himself also walk just as Jesus walked.
The life and teachings of Jesus is what the Christian faith is built on, it's where eternal life is found.
John 10:27-28 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
Hebrews 5:8-9 Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.
In the teachings of Jesus, we never, not even once, hear Him do away with the Sabbath nor do we hear Him change the Sabbath from the seventh day (Saturday) to the first day (Sunday). What we do hear, in the teachings of Jesus, is Him removing all the man-made rules that the religious Jews placed on the Sabbath.
For example, the Jews taught that it was wrong to heal on the Sabbath, Jesus corrected them.
Matthew 12:9-12 Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” that they might accuse Him. Then Jesus said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Jesus said it's lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
There was another time when Jesus healed on the Sabbath, which caused the Jews to get mad. This time He called them a hypocrite because the Jews would do necessary things on the Sabbath and then condemn others for doing necessary things too. The people rejoiced when they heard Jesus teach the truth about Sabbath observance. His teachings removed all the heavy burdens that the Jews put on observing the Sabbath.
Luke 13:10-17 Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.
Notice how Jesus never said the Sabbath was done away with nor did He change it to another day. In all of Jesus' teachings, He was removing the legalistic and ritualistic burdens that the Jews put on the Sabbath. His teachings about the Sabbath caused the multitudes to rejoice. The Sabbath is supposed to be a time to look forward to because it's a time of joy and fellowship, not legalistic rituals and burdensome rules made by religious man.
Mark 3:4 Then Jesus turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him.
Matthew 12:12 Then Jesus said, "Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
There was also a time, during the Sabbath, when the disciples were hungry so they plucked some grain to eat. The Jews had a problem with that too. Jesus actually refers to the Old Testament to teach a New Testament principle in honoring the Sabbath. Jesus has the authority to make these corrections because He is Lord of the Sabbath.
Luke 6:1-5 Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grain fields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. And some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” But Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?” And He said to them, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
Jesus gathered every Sabbath, and since we walk as Jesus walked, we too should gather every Sabbath.
Luke 4:16 When Jesus came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures.
One day Jesus was talking to His disciples when He began to tell them of a prophecy in which the temple in Jerusalem was going to be destroyed. This was going to take place 40 years after His resurrection and He was still confirming the Sabbath.
Matthew 24:15-20 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.
Jesus taught His followers how to keep the Sabbath holy in light of things that come up on the Sabbath, such as, if one of your animals falls into a pit on the Sabbath.
Luke 14:1-6 Now it happened, as Jesus went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” And they could not answer Him regarding these things.
Jesus taught a lot about how to honor the Sabbath, He didn't do away with it. We know He didn't do away with it because, even after His death on the cross, His followers continued to keep the Sabbath holy according to the fourth commandment.
Luke 23:56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
The Bible reveals that the early church, both Jew and Gentile, honored the Sabbath every week. Keep in mind, this was years after Jesus' resurrection. Before you read these verses, I want you to notice how the Gentiles begged Paul to come back the next Sabbath to teach them again. If the Sabbath was changed to Sunday, this would have been the perfect time for Paul to say something, but he didn't. As a matter of fact, the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered on the Sabbath to hear the word of God. This great multitude gathering on the Sabbath was all Gentiles because when the Jews saw them, they got jealous.
Acts 13:42-45 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with jealousy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.
Most people don't know that it was God's plan to provoke the Jews to jealousy when Gentiles got saved and started obeying God, especially in keeping the Sabbath.
Romans 11:11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke Israel to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.
Israel would never be provoked to jealousy by Gentiles gathering in Sunday.
As a Gentile coming to Jesus, we get grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel and become partakers of the same promises and follow the same ways that God gave Israel.
Romans 11:17-18 But some of the branches (who are the Jews) were broken off. You who are not Jews were put in the place where the branches had been broken off. Now you are sharing the rich root of the olive tree. Do not be proud. Do not think you are better than the branches that were broken off. If you are proud, remember that you do not hold the root. It is the root that holds you.
Before a Gentile is grafted in, they are without God and without hope in the world. They were excluded from the citizenship of Israel and are foreigners to the promises of God. Through faith we can be grafted into God's chosen people and take part of God's plan of salvation.
Ephesians 2:11-13 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision’ (which is done in the body by human hands) – remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
There is only one law giver and one law for both the Jew and the Gentile.
Numbers 9:14 If a stranger staying with you wants to keep the Passover to the Lord and obey the Law of the Passover, he may do so. You will have one law, both for the stranger and for the one who was born in the land.’”
Numbers 15:15 There will be one Law for you and for the stranger who stays with you. It will be a Law forever for all your children-to-come. As you are, so will the stranger be before the Lord.
Numbers 15:16 One Law will be for you and for the stranger who stays with you.’
There is one law for both Jew and Gentile. This means it's wrong for a Gentile to keep Sunday, the first day holy while the Jews keep Saturday, the seventh day holy.
Jesus came to teach us how to do His Father's will.
Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Matthew 12:50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.
Keeping the Sabbath holy is the will of Jesus' Father for both Jew and Gentile.
Isaiah 56:6-8 As for the Gentiles, the outsiders who join the people of the Lord and serve him and love his name, who are his servants and don’t desecrate the Sabbath, and have accepted his covenant and promises, I will bring them also to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and make them full of joy within my House of Prayer. I will accept their sacrifices and offerings, for my Temple shall be called “A House of Prayer for All People”! For the Lord God who brings back the outcasts of Israel says: I will bring others, too, besides my people Israel.
Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, His teachings about Sabbath observance have authority and bring unity and liberty to His people because they remove all the heavy, legalistic burdens, that the religious Jews put on the people. This is why Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He didn't say He has no yoke and no burden, he said His yoke was easy and His burden was light. His teachings remove all the heavy burdens that the religious Jews put on the people, they don't remove the Sabbath.
Matthew 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
The Sabbath is suppose to be a special time for God's people. A time to gather as God's heavenly family to worship, sing praises, teach, preach and testify to what God is doing in our lives. The Sabbath day is protected time for all God's people to build strong relationships in Christ and with one another without all the distractions that come from the cares and burdens of the secular world. It's the time that we put down our tools of trade to come from far and near to gather as a people for worship and as an act of worship.
Leviticus 23:3 You have six days in which to do your work, but remember that the seventh day Sabbath. On that day do not work, but gather for worship. The Sabbath belongs to the Lord, no matter where you live.
Let's honor God by honoring His special day but let us do so in light of Jesus' teachings.
John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
John 12:48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
If Jesus didn't change the Sabbath and the Apostles didn't change the Sabbath, then who did and when did it happen? For the answer to this you must go to, "Who changed the Sabbath".