Keeping The Sabbath Holy

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Keeping the Sabbath Holy Did Jesus change the rules of no working on the Sabbath? Exodus 20:8-11 commands us, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." Deuteronomy 5:12 repeats this. So, exactly what does this mean? Did Jesus break the fourth commandment? Let's go back and see how the Jewish society and leaders considered what keeping the Sabbath holy meant.

In Jewish culture, observing the Sabbath was the largest practice of the day. It applied to everyone, whether Jew or slave. What was considered "work?" Gathering food, cooking, and making fires were all considered work and were prohibited. But Sabbath offerings were allowed. In the days of the Maccabaean revolt, many Jews refused to defend themselves when attacked on the Sabbath, so were killed. Many of them suffered torture and death rather than break the Law. They sometimes even thought this helped atone for the sins of the people. Then some groups had even stricter laws. They went as far as to say how many cubits you could walk from your home on the Sabbath and so on (Sanders 6). They had hundreds of regulations to determine what was work on the Sabbath and what wasn't. A doctor could help a man who had had an accident and could do...