When Jesus Broke the Sabbath
Thru the Bible – Sunday Sermon with Dr. J. Vernon McGee
Matthew 5:17-19 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Verse 17 introduces the context to this verse as the LAW and the PROPHETS.. The LAW and the PROPHETS refers to the Book of the Law, i.e. the Torah, and the writings of the Prophets. The Book of the Law contains 613 commandments. It was to this that Christ said, “one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
The LAW and the PROPHETS were fulfilled at the moment the veil was rent in twain from top to bottom and Christ cried with a loud voice, “IT IS FINISHED!”
Below is a pdf containing all 613 commandments in the LAW and the PROPHETS. Every “jot and tittle” that has not been amended into the New Covenant has passed from the law.
Below is a sample image. CLICK HERE to download the PDF
Should Christians REALLY follow Christ example in all things?
Those who do not understand the Old and New Covenants in the Bible fall victim to Old Testament Theology because of things Jesus and the Apostles did. Some keep the Jewish Sabbath, and others go to greater extremes and observe the feast days. Having an awareness of the following things will aid you whenever you read the Gospels and the Book of Acts, to better understand the time in which they occurred.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
- Jesus observed the Jewish Sabbath. Luke 4:16
- Jesus kept the Passover and every other Jewish feast day too! Mt 26:17-18
- Jesus commanded to keep all the ceremonial Laws of Moses! Mt 23:2 “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe”
- Jesus commanded to offer animal sacrifices: Luke 5:14 (Mark 1:44) And He ordered him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.”
JESUS COMMANDED A LEPER HE HEALED, TO PERFORM ANIMAL SACRIFICES BEFORE THE PRIEST AT THE TEMPLE.
After healing a leper “Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. Matthew 8:4.
Read Leviticus 13:2-46 and you will see just how deeply the animal sacrifices were involved in the “gift that Moses commanded,” those cleansed leprosy. Why did Moses include 44 verses for something that was at the time INCURABLE? Elisha aided in THE MIRACLE that cured a man of leprosy in his day, and Moses family witnessed such tokens from heaven. However NO ONE ELSE was ever cured of Leprosy in Bible times without a miracle from God. Christ commanded the leper to give these animal sacrifices because at the time they were still under the authority of the law and the prophets and Christ wanted the people to know that he was obedient to the Torah. Secondly this served as “a testimony unto them,” that God through Christ Jesus had healed this man, just as God through Moses and Elisha witnessed healing in their day. This proved Christ was sent from God.
After Jesus was risen we find in Luke 24:44
“And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.”
AFTER CHRIST WAS RISEN THE APOSTLES BEGAN TO TEACH OTHERS HOW CHRIST FULFILLED THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.
And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. Act 28:23
Christ had fulfilled so many things in the law and the prophets that it took all day to go over them with the people.
Example of the Apostles of Observing the Book of the Law
“And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment”. Luke 23:56
- The Sabbath commandment was so restrictivethat these women could not remain at the tomb after sunset to grieve!
- The Sabbath commandment was so restrictive that these women could not return to the tomb at any time on Saturday to pay their respects!
- The Sabbath commandment was so restrictive that these women had to rush to their homes before the sun set!
- The Sabbath commandment was so restrictive that these women could not properly care for the body of Christ until early Sunday morning! They could not even return Saturday night, so that they could “guard the edges of the Sabbath”
See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. Exodus 16:29
And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
the very next verse….
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
- Early Sunday morning was the soonest they could return to care for Christ, all do to the heavy restrictions of resting “the sabbath day according to the commandment.”
- Did you notice the Bible did not say that they “rested on the Sabbath according to the teachings of the Jewish leaders,” rather they “rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”
- Ask a Orthodox Jew what he thinks of the Christian Sabbatarian practices on Sabbath. “Rabbi are these Christians “resting on the Sabbath according to the commandment?” Answer, “Far from it!”
Christ had only just died hours before the disciples rested on the Sabbath “according to the commandment, at this time there were many things they did not understand yet:
- The disciples didn’t yet understand that all of the ceremonial Law of Moses were now abolished!!!
- They did not understand His death: Matthew 16:21-22
- They did not understand His crucifixion: Luke 18:31-34
- They did not understand He would raise: John 20:9
- They did not understand the second coming: John 13:36-37
- They did not know He was going to heaven: John 14:2-5
- The did not know that Gentiles could join the church Acts 11
Besides the Sabbath what else did the Apostles Give an Example of Observing?
- The Day of Pentecost Acts 2:1
- The days of unleavened bread: Acts 12:3; 20:6
- Days of Purification: Acts 21:26
- Animal Sacrifices: Acts 21:26
- Circumcision: Acts 16:3
- Temple worship: Acts 24:12
D. The Example of Paul
Not only did Paul meet in the synagogue on Sabbath, while in Jerusalem he also performed the ceremonial law of purification which involved animal sacrifices!
18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, THOU SEEST, BROTHER, HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF JEWS THERE ARE WHICH BELIEVE; AND THEY ARE ALL ZEALOUS OF THE LAW:
21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.
23 DO THEREFORE THIS THAT WE SAY TO THEE: WE HAVE FOUR MEN WHICH HAVE A VOW ON THEM;
24 THEM TAKE, AND PURIFY THYSELF WITH THEM, AND BE AT CHARGES WITH THEM, THAT THEY MAY SHAVE THEIR HEADS: AND ALL MAY KNOW THAT THOSE THINGS, WHEREOF THEY WERE INFORMED CONCERNING THEE, ARE NOTHING; BUT THAT THOU THYSELF ALSO WALKEST ORDERLY, AND KEEPEST THE LAW.
25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
26 THEN PAUL TOOK THE MEN, AND THE NEXT DAY PURIFYING HIMSELF WITH THEM ENTERED INTO THE TEMPLE, TO SIGNIFY THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE DAYS OF PURIFICATION, UNTIL THAT AN OFFERING SHOULD BE OFFERED FOR EVERY ONE OF THEM.
PAUL EXPLAINS HIS ACTIONS
1 Corinthians 9:19-23
19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20 And UNTO THE JEWS I BECAME AS A JEW, THAT I MIGHT GAIN THE JEWS; TO THEM THAT ARE UNDER THE LAW, AS UNDER THE LAW, THAT I MIGHT GAIN THEM THAT ARE UNDER THE LAW;
21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
Paul was a tent maker by trade. He worked during the week to provide for himself so that no one could accuse him of being in ministry only to get others money! Meeting in the synagogue on the Sabbath was the best time to meet with large numbers of people and share the gospel with them. It only made good sense!
“When paul spoke to the Gentiles in Act 13:42-44 why didnt he tell them to come back TOMORROW on SUNDAY?”
Paul had just arrived and had not established a church yet. He knew the next time they would all be together would be the following Sabbath. Many of them had jobs which caused them to work the next day. So many of them would not be available.
Unless you live in Jerusalem, Christians generally are not faced with the same type of predominant Jewish influences the Apostles contended with in the first century. Paul tried to countermand these influences in his epistles.
Galatians 4:9-11 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Colossians 2:14-17 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Ephesians 2:15 (NCV)
The Jewish law had many commands and rules, but Christ ended that law.
Moses prophesied of the Savior that he would be a “PROPHET LIKE UNTO ME,” Deuteronomy 18.
What set Moses apart from all other prophets?
- He led God’s people out of their captivity and bondage.
- He was the LAW GIVER.
- He shepherd the children of Israel during their wanderings in the wilderness.
WHAT MADE JESUS LIKE UNTO MOSES!
- He came “to set the captive free”
- He is the LAW GIVER – “A new commandment I give unto you, love one another”
- He is the Good Shepherd (John 10)
Jesus is indeed a prophet like unto Moses. He not only came to set us free from the bondage of the Old Covenant (See Galatians 4:21-31) HE IS THE LAW GIVER FOR THE NEW COVENANT. (I do hope you will read those verses)
Paul wrote to a church in Galatia who was “gospel challenged” by Old Testament theology. Paul warned that those who taught we ought to observe days months times and years Galatians 4:10, were teaching “another gospel” Galatians1:8 and we in fact fallen from grace Galatians 5:4
We are no longer under the Levitical Priesthood! Christ is made our High Priest after the order of Melchezedec. We are no longer under the shadows given under the Levitical Priesthood, there has been a change in the priesthood and it is time to come out from under the shadow of the Old Testament and step into the new. “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” Hebrews 7:12. We are to leave the old priesthood alone and accept the new
he language of Colossians 2:14-17 is clear unto itself. Verse 14 introduces those Jewish holy days as “abolished” and ends by stating they were merely shadows. In Galatians he calls these shadows our schoolmaster, which were merely intended to lead us to Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 3:14-17 we read that a veil blinds our eyes when we read Moses, and try to live under the Old Testament. When we accept the New Covenant the veil is taken away and we find liberty in Christ.