Well, it was some months ago when we were in the gospel of Mark early in the summer that we covered the end of chapter 2 and the beginning of chapter 3 in which Jesus violated the Sabbath by the standards of the Jews. And when they confronted Him, He said two things, He said, "Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for man." Which was to say that the Sabbath was not to be a burden which men had to conform to but the Sabbath was to be a delight which men could enjoy. The Jews had turned it in to an almost unbearable burden.
The second thing He said which was even more shocking was, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath," and thus He declared His sovereignty over the Sabbath.
How are we to understand the place that the Sabbath plays, if any, in the life of the people of God? Turn in your Bible for a moment to Exodus chapter 20. This is the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. And near the middle of the Ten Commandments is the fourth commandment. We begin to read about it in verse 8. "Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servants, or your cattle or your sojourner or stranger who stays with you, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
There is no question about the other nine commandments being permanent and binding. We are to have no other gods. We are never to make an idol. We are to worship only the true and living God. We are never to take the name of the Lord in vain. We are not to dishonor our father or mother, but rather give them honor. We are not to murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet. Those are all moral mandates, moral commands, with the exception of verses 8 through 11, the fourth command regarding the Sabbath. And the question that is often posed is a simple one. If all the other commands are permanent, is not this one permanent as well?...