He had been born blind. In his world, in his very being, there
was only darkness, sadness, and hopelessness. To survive, he sat on street corners, hands extended,
waiting for the compassion of others.
But on this day all would be transformed—because Jesus came
into his life. And Jesus always makes a difference. Between shadows and
despair and hope, between sadness and joy, between emptiness and
fullness, between death and life, Jesus is the difference.
Unfortunately, human beings have
such difficulty discovering this truth.
The blind man’s encounter with Jesus was life altering.
Suddenly his eyes were opened and he could see the sparkling water in
the pool, the cobblestone streets,
the trees in the courtyards, and the smiles of children. On this
happiest day in his life, he felt like singing, praising God, and
celebrating. He wanted to give
thanks and worship because his life of darkness, sadness, and misery
had ended, and a new dimension of light and happiness had begun. He
would never forget
that Sabbath (Saturday according to the Bible). For this man, every
Saturday that followed would be a day of celebration and thanksgiving,
for on such a day
salvation had come to his life.
The divine miracle that brought so much joy to this blind man
was, however, a cause of misunderstanding, accusations, and criticism
toward Jesus. Some of the
Pharisees accused, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the
Was Jesus a transgressor of the Sabbath? Did our Lord do
away with the principle of Sabbath rest, established from the
beginning of the world? Jesus was often
accused of devaluing
the day of rest, but He himself stated with
conviction, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the
Prophets; I have not come
to abolish them but to fulfill them.”2
If He came to fulfill, why was Jesus accused of disobeying the law?
Because He brought life to a principle that had
degenerated into cold words and ceremonies.
Jesus healed on the Sabbath
It is by design that the gospels record seven miracles
performed by Jesus on the Sabbath.3
Each one involves a healing. They reveal that the Savior did not keep
the Sabbath by refraining
from action; instead, He kept it by bringing life to people who were
burdened by death. This was the direct opposite of the Pharisees’
teaching that keeping Sabbath appropriately meant total inactivity.
Jesus’ life-giving activity contradicted their tradition and aroused
their resentment. After the
healing of the paralytic at the fountain of Bethesda, the biblical
account says, “So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath,
the Jews persecuted
It’s interesting to note that most of the arguments between
the Jews and Jesus involved what was lawful to do on the Sabbath, but
even more noteworthy is that
they never argued whether the Sabbath (Saturday) was the day of rest.
By the silence of that issue, the Gospel narratives and the rest of the
New Testament leave
no doubt that the only day of rest acknowledged by Jesus, the apostles,
and the early church was the seventh-day Sabbath. The history of the
church during the
first centuries of Christianity shows the manner in which Sunday came
to be considered the day of rest by the majority of Christians. But
neither the ministry of
Jesus nor the New Testament Scripture gives the least support of a first-day Sabbath.
Jesus worshiped on the Sabbath
To the contrary, the apostle Luke tells about Jesus’ respect
and obedience toward the keeping of the Sabbath throughout His
ministry. “He went to Nazareth,
where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the
synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.”5
The phrase “as was his
custom” is noteworthy.
The miraculous healings Jesus performed on the Sabbath were
not accidental. Jesus had a purpose in mind that went beyond healing.
His attitude toward the
Sabbath shows that He wanted to uphold the sanctity of the day of rest,
and to bring it out from under the human traditions that had made it a
day of prohibitions
and senseless regulations, far from a day of delight, holiness, and
honor.6 In performing miracles of
healing and redemption on the Sabbath, Jesus was affirming
the Sabbath as “a day of good news, a day of salvation.”
Another interesting dimension of the Sabbath in its
relationship to Jesus is revealed in the Creation narrative, where we
that God created the world in six
days and that He rested on the seventh.7
Before resting, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”8 The work of creation was finished.
was perfect. But it didn’t remain perfect. Eventually, the enemy came
and disfigured God’s wonderful work.
Jesus rested in the tomb on the Sabbath
Was the world condemned for eternity by this distortion of
God’s original plan? Of course not, and Jesus was God’s answer to the
enemy of the soul. By His
miracles of healing, Jesus revealed that He came to this world to
restore a creation that
had deteriorated from sin. And when His earthly ministry came to a
close upon the cross of Calvary, Jesus completed not only His work of
creation—but also His work of redemption. Before dying, He proclaimed
The work of salvation having been completed, on the Sabbath
Jesus rested in the tomb, according to the commandment. From that
moment on, the Sabbath
would not be merely a memorial of creation, but also a memorial of
salvation. Even in His death, Jesus gave us the example of putting
aside the Sabbath as a
Even today, the Lord Jesus opens His arms wide and invites us
to come to Him and rest: “Come to me, all you who are weary and
burdened, and I will give you
rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and
humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”10
Rest. Isn’t that what we wish for? This world is full of pain
and sadness. Life without Christ is a difficult burden. We struggle; we work hard—with little to
show for it. We search desperately for a little peace but find conflict
instead. We lie down to sleep at night, but the deafening noises
from our past keep us
awake. We are afraid, but don’t know exactly why.
Don’t you want rest? Jesus is waiting for you with open arms.
Go to Him and find rest for your weary heart—but also come ready to
learn from Him.
Remember that He said, “I have set
you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”11
How did Jesus relate to the Sabbath? How did He keep it? He
gave us His example; He restored the vitality and holiness that had
been taken from it. “There
remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; Let us, therefore,
make every effort to enter that rest.”12
Do you want to enter into such rest? Do you want to enjoy the
blessings that God promised to those who keep the Sabbath? Respond to
Jesus and give Him all
your sadness and your burdens—your entire being. But don’t delay, for
the Scriptures urge us, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden
Alejandro Bullon writes from Brasilia, Brazil.