Did Jesus tell us to Keep the Sabbath?


“What about when Jesus told that man which ones [commandments] he was to obey Jesus just gave him a few but did not tell him to obey the Sabbath.”



You brought up a very good point. Let us look at this in context. Jesus said, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 19:17-19)

It is obvious that Jesus was not giving this man a complete list of God’s laws. One obvious point that is very clear is that Jesus did not mention any of the first four commandments which deal with our relationship with God. He only made mention of the second half of the Ten Commandments, and then summed them up by saying, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus met this man where he was at—pointing out his need. He further stated, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” (Mark 10:21)

Jesus knew that this young man did not love his neighbor as himself, and therefore pointed out where He needed work. Jesus did not give this man an exhaustive list of the Commandments of God. Please notice that Jesus not only left out all of the first four commandments, He also did not mention the tenth commandment which says, “Thou shalt not covet.”

If the fact that Jesus omitted the Sabbath commandment in His discourse with the rich young ruler, means that the Sabbath is abolished, then it must also be true of the first three commandments and the tenth commandment, because He omitted them also. It is obvious that Jesus was only dealing with the second table of the Ten Commandments which deal with our relationship with our fellow man.

He said in another place, “They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) Here Jesus made a clear distinction between those things which we owe to Caesar and those things which we owe to God. We owe Caesar (all mankind) obedience to the second table of the Ten Commandments, and we owe God obedience to the first table of the Ten Commandments.

There is no earthly government that has a right to require us to render to Caesar those things which belong to God. Or in other words, they have no right to require us to obey any of the first four commandments. For to do so would be forced worship and would require someone to decide in which manner the first four commandments should be kept. This would be nothing more than a man-made religion and as worthless as worshiping Satan himself.

 This is what Nebuchadnezzar did when he required his subjects to bow down and worship an idol. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, knew better than to yield to such a law, for to do so would be to disobey God. God honored their decision to obey God rather than man by protecting them when they were thrown into the fiery furnace.

Jesus understood very clearly the distinction between the first four commandments and the last six commandments. He summed them up in this way, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

It is clear that Jesus was not teaching that the first four commandments, along with the tenth, are abolished. He upheld these commandments very strictly. He kept the Sabbath over 1500 times in His life. “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” (Luke 4:16)

I would rather follow Jesus than all the learned men of this world. Peter said it very well, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)