Sabbath For Man, Or Man For Sabbath

There is one teaching of Jesus Christ which is often misunderstood and misinterpreted by people. Now let us loot at the verse and find out the true meaning of the verse.

Mark 2:27  Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Seemingly in this verse Jesus teaches us that we don’t have to keep the Sabbath. They interpret this verse like this: What is imporant is theman and even the Sabbath was also made for man. Therefore, the bottom line is not in keeping the Sabbath, but in man who believe in God. So it is wrong  to blame a man for not keeping the Sabbath. But is this true?

Food and Man

Is food made for man orman for food? Definitely, food was made for man, not the other way round. If there is a food which requires the sacrifice of man, propably many people would be reluctant to eat it. However may a food be delicious and delicate to the tongue, how many would enjoy the food if someone had to dieto make the food? No food is worthy enough to demand the life of man to make it. That is why we can say food is for man, not man for food. We can find similar testonies in the bible too.

King_David_and_his_mighty_men
David and his mighty men

Once David was so much thirsty he wanted to drink some water, but at the moment the well was surrounded by enemies so nobody could go there to get the water. But three of David’s generals broke through the enemy base and got the water for David.

1 Chronicles 11:17  David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead he poured it out before the Lord. “God forvid that I should do this!” he said, “Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risks of their lives.” Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it.

If the food you are eating is given by the blood of someone, who would willingly eat the food? Beacuse what is important is man, not the food. No food should be made at the sacrifice of the life of man. In other words, food is for man, not man for food. Paul teaches the same thing.

1 Corinthians 8:11  So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

Eating a food is perfectly OK, but he says we refrain from eating the food if what we eat cause someone to stumble. What is important is man, not food. Do not eat a food-even though it is fine to eat it and he enjoys it a lot, if a brother  or a sister feels uncomfortable about the food. It is beacuse we must do and practice what is favorable for the common good. If what I do is not desirable for the salvation of our brother, we should not do it.

No Need of Food?

This is perfectly true. Food for man, not man for food. But just because of this, can we say food is unnecessary and futile, so we don’t have to eat food? Even though food is not as much important as man, but still food is essential for man to survive. We should restrain from certanin food if it cannot set a good example for others, but it does not mean we must abstain completely from food. We must take in food for our life.

It is the same with the Sabbath. When Jesus said that the Sabbath is for man, not man for the Sabbath, he was intending the same thing. The teachers of the law was rebuking many things about Jesus and his disciples, especially, about their working on the Sabbath. Jesus and his disciples were working on the Sabbath by preaching, healing the sick, and doing many things for the gospel. By saying the Sabbath was for man, Jesus was teaching them not to criticize him and his disciples for doing good and righteous things on the Sabbath because the Sabbath was given to man so that they can be blessed.

Jesus Healing on the Sabbath
Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?

In those days the pharisees and teachers of the law strictly kept the Sabbath by taking rest without doing anything according to the Law of Moses. In their eyes Jesus and his disciples were desecrating the Sabbath by working on the Sabbath for the gospel. They thought like that because they did not know the work of God on the Sabbath to make people holy. Jesus was showing the work of God on the Sabbath how God is working to heal us, cleanse us and make us holy. And he was teaching them it is God’s will to work on the Sabbath and it is perfectly OK to work for the gospel and it is a righteous thing.

Keep The Sabbath Holy

In conclusion, Jesus was not abolishing the Sabbath with his teaching, but he was fulfilling the law of Sabbath by teaching them how to keep the Sabbath according to God’s law, the Law of Christ, not to the Law of Moses. Rather, he taught hid disciples to keep the Sabbath even in the time of the last disasters. (Matthew 24:20) Now let us take look at the verse one more time.

Mark 2:27  Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

He said that the Sabbath is given for man. Just as the food was given for man and it is essential for life, in the same way the Sabbath was given for man for their salvation. He was not saying that the Sabbath is not necessary; but rather he was teaching the Sabbath is given for the sake of man so that they can receive salvation; therefore, do not criticize them for working on the Sabbath, which was against the Law of Moses. In the Law of Christ, however, they were doing the work of God which God intended for the salvation of his people. Therefore, according to this teaching of Jesus, he was teaching to keep the Sabbath, not the other way. Therefore, we have to keep the Sabbath Holy.

Related Topics:

Sabbath: The Day of Rest

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