One Purpose for the Sabbath

Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27-28


This week as Chris and I did our daily Bible reading we read through Old Testament law regarding the Sabbath. Friday evening Chris made the comment that these people took this serious, and the punishment was severe if you didn’t keep the Sabbath. So, we set out to accomplish our work on Saturday instead of Sunday this week.

I wish I could tell you that I didn’t work on Sunday, but I had a midnight deadline on Sunday and I didn’t get done Saturday. So after church Sunday, I went back to work. 

I felt a little guilty, but I had a responsibility to meet the deadline. 

This morning as I did my daily Scripture reading, I came across Mark 2:27. Now, I’m pretty positive it doesn’t have anything to do with me going to work at school yesterday, but it sure did get me thinking about what Sabbaths are supposed to be used for.


How many Sundays does your family argue, fuss, and leave for church angry with each other? You fume the whole drive to church. Certain that the Spirit won’t be visiting today because your family is so full of sin that He can’t find a sacred place to fill. Is that what the Sabbath is for?

Or are you overextended on Sunday and you scramble to get a Sunday School lesson pulled together, the bulletin printed out, a casserole cooked for a shut-in, and then when you get to church you agree to fill in for the greeter that called in sick and teach a class for the kids Sunday night. Oh, and apparently you forgot today was the first Sunday of your month of children’s church. Is this what the Sabbath is for?

Maybe you grudgingly make it just in time to slip into a pew two notes before the final worship song comes to a close and the pastor stands behind the pulpit. You would really rather be sleeping, but it will keep your parents happy. Is this what the Sabbath is for?

What about the Sundays we just survive the schedule? You know. Sunday school. Worship. Board/training meetings. Sunday evening service. And somewhere in there we try to squeeze in a meal or two and a bit of family time. All of the sudden Sundays are just as busy and stressful as a full day at work.


So this morning when I came across verse 27 I paused. What is the purpose of the Sabbath? Well, we go to church to keep the Sabbath. We worship corporately. We serve one another according to our gifts.

And yet that ‘to meet the needs of the people’ kept grabbing my attention. You and I are the people.

Yes, we have to do our part, use our gifts, serve, but our needs are to be met too. 

I have to do my part not all the parts. 

Because the Sabbath is to meet the people needs, not for me to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. Not for me to earn my salvation. Not for me to work my way to heaven.

The Sabbath is to meet my needs.

photo credit: simplerich via photopin cc

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