The Sabbath was a command given by God through Moses to the nation of Israel. In this old covenant civil/religious covenant the specifics of the Sabbath were given (see Ex. 20:8-11). All were to rest on the Sabbath, and judgment came upon those who did not (Num. 15:32-36).
Jesus did observe the Sabbath, and he did it perfectly. By his day there had risen many traditions from the elders. Some of these made additional "laws" concerning the Sabbath, but those laws were not of God. No man had the right to bind where God had not bound! And, no man had the right to loose where God had not loosed! Jesus kept the Sabbath law perfectly.
When Jesus was nailed to the cross the old law was fulfilled while the new law of Christ began (Col. 2:14; Heb. 9:15). Since the law of Moses was no longer binding, the law of the Sabbath was no longer binding either. In fact, Paul later made that very argument when he told the Colossian church to not let anyone judge them in respect to Sabbath days (Col. 2:14-16). Why? Because it was not part of the law of God in effect since the cross.
Yes, Paul and the apostles did go to the synagogues on the Sabbath. But their purpose was not an observance of the old law but as messengers to God’s people that the promised Messiah had come. Where better to go preach then where the prepared people of God were assembling. And, it is also obvious that they did not disrupt the synagogue service more than was necessary in their preaching. Paul became Jew to the Jew, and without law to those without law, yet was under law to Christ. Why? That he, through preaching the gospel, could save some (see 1 Cor. 9:19-23).
It was on the first day of the week the church assembled (1 Cor. 16:1, 2). They encouraged one another and worshiped God in this assembly. They did not take the specifics of the Sabbath observance to the Lord’s Day, Sunday, and neither should we. There is no such day as the "Christian Sabbath".
By Greg Weston
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