Doctrinal Studies > Hebrew Roots &
Following Jesus' Example?
© Tim Warner
One argument often used by
Sabbath-keepers is that we should follow Jesus' example, and He kept
the Sabbath. The problem with this argument is it ignores the change in
dispensation that occurred at the crucifixion and resurrection of
Jesus. Jesus and the disciples observed the Law regarding Sabbaths and
Feasts during Jesus ministry.
If one is consistent, he
would have to agree that such a position also requires that he go up to
Jerusalem three times a year, as commanded by the Torah, and observe
all of the feasts - because Jesus did. Here is what the Law demanded of
all Jewish males.
16 "Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your
God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at
the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not
appear before the LORD empty-handed.
And it seems Jesus
followed the commandment.
41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the
42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem
according to the custom of the feast.
23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many
believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.
45 So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen
all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone
to the feast.
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to
2 Now the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. ...
10 But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the
feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they
heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
17 Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the
disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, "Where do You want us to
prepare for You to eat the Passover?"
So, it is clear that Jesus
observed the commandment, and went up to Jerusalem three times a year
for the festivals. But, notice what He told the Samaritan woman:
19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.
20 "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in
Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."
21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when
you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship
22 "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for
salvation is of the Jews.
23 " But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers
will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is
seeking such to worship Him.
24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and
Jesus prophesied that the
Mosaic dispensation was closing, and a new way of worship was about to
commence, that of worshipping "in spirit and in truth."
This type of worship does
not require legalistic observance of particular days. That is why Paul
wrote the following.
4 Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands
or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him
5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day
alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not
observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats
to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the
Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival
or a new moon or sabbaths,
17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
Paul said not to let
anyone judge us regarding these Old Covenant things. They are NOT the
reality; Christ is the reality. They were only a shadow. The reality is
in Christ. Those of us who rest in Him are keeping the real Sabbath.
1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let
us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but
the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard
did not combine it with faith.
3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I
declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" And
yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world.
4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words:
"And on the seventh day God rested from all his work."
5 And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my
6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who
formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of
7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long
time later he spoke through David, as was said before: "Today, if you
hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later
about another day.
9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;
10 for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just
as God did from his.
11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no
one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
The writer of Hebrews was
saying that the "Sabbath rest" that remains for Christians is our
future reward in the Kingdom of God. The Jews of the Old Testament had
the "promised land" as their future hope of "rest." Yet, because of
unbelief, most could not go in. We have as our hope of Sabbath-rest
entrance into the Kingdom of Christ when He comes. And the writer
encourages us to remain faithful.
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