I recently heard a sermon in which the speaker pointed out that in Hebrews 4:9 (“Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people”) there is a special Greek word for the Sabbath: sabbatismos, where all the other references to rest in Hebrews 4 used another Greek word, katapausis. Unfortunately, the speaker went on for a solid 20 minutes, at least, explaining why we didn’t have to keep the Sabbath, essentially because it was part of the old covenant. He may have gone on longer. I can’t say for sure, because 20 minutes was about all I could take and I turned the speaker off.
I offer the following three points as a cathartic rebuttal to his comments:
First, the Sabbath predates the law by quite a long time.
Second, Jesus said that He came to fulfil the law, not to destroy it.
Third, those of us who believe in the plenary verbal inspiration of God’s Word (which is most of conservative Christianity, at least theoretically) believe that the word sabbatismos is there because that is what God meant.
I do believe in the Sabbath!
Imagine, for a moment, that you were under the old covenant. Would you wonder if you were good enough? Would you worry that maybe God wasn’t quite pleased with how well you performed last week? Or maybe if you had worked just a bit harder, it might have pushed you over the top?
How wonderful to have the Sabbath day as a reminder that Jesus is enough, that His righteousness is our righteousness, that God is pleased with me just as He was pleased with Jesus.
How kind of our Creator to give us a day of physical rest, too. How nice to be able to stop without feeling the pressure of crossing another thing off the list, or being productive with your time. We can legitimately stop to enjoy His people and His creation.
After what has been an extra busy week, I am glad to remember a God who sees me, knows what I need, and so abundantly provides it.