Christ in the Sabbath
by Rich Robinson
The Sabbath—what does it mean to you? For some, it suggests a day full of burdensome rules and regulations. For others, Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel’s description is more apt: The Sabbath is a day of joy and an anticipation of the future. Some think of the Sabbath as an irrelevant, antiquated custom, or as part of someone else’s religion, while others argue that the Sabbath is God’s command for Christians today.
Perhaps no biblical institution has brought forth such a diversity of responses from Jews and non-Jews alike. There are many questions that surround the Sabbath: Why did God institute it? What meaning is it given throughout the Old and New Testaments? Why was Jesus in conflict with some of His contemporaries over Sabbath observance? What—if anything—does it mean for people today? In this book, we will embark on a “Sabbath tour” of the Bible. We will explore the Passover themes in both Testaments as well as what it has meant for Jews and Christians since Bible times. Rabbinical comments and a variety of traditions will provide side trips along the way.
While this volume will not resolve the differences among Christians concerning the place of the Sabbath today (much to the disappointment of some readers!), the journey undertaken in the following pages should help you in forming your own conclusions— or inspire you to continue exploring the Sabbath on your own.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. What’s in a Day?
2. The Sabbath in the Old Testament
3. More on the Sabbath Prior to Christ
4. Sabbath in the Time of Jesus
5. Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath
6. The Sabbath in Acts and the Letters
7. The Sabbath in Hebrews: A Brief History of Rest
8. The Sabbath in the Jewish Community
9. Sabbath and Sunday in Church History
10. The Sabbath and Contemporary Christians
11. Taking a Sabbath Today
Epilogue: Sabbath in the Future—Final Fulfillment
Appendix A: An Erev Shabbat Service
Appendix B: Tabernacle and Creation
Appendix C: A Brief History of the Sabbatical Year
Appendix D: List of the Thirty-Nine Prohibited Sabbath Labors
Appendix E: A Song about the Benefits of Sabbath Rest