“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.” Genesis 2:1-3
Welcome back to the study everyone! Hope you all enjoyed your break and were able to get caught up a bit. Having just returned from two weeks immersed in the jaw-dropping autumnal wonders of Alaska, I am more convinced than ever that God indeed makes Himself known through the things that have been made so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:19,20). And even more, the purpose of it all is to bring glory to His Son. All of creation is but a shadow. The waters, the light, the plant life, the animals, the people, the days, the Sabbath— it’s all meant to point to the substance of everything, Jesus Christ!
Paul says in Colossians 2:16,17 “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” Jesus is the Living Water, the Light of the World, The Root of Jesse and the True Vine, the Bright Morning Star, the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God, The Last Adam, the Beginning and the End. And He IS our Sabbath Rest!
That’s what makes passages like John 9 so shocking. Jesus tells this blind man in verse 5, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Then He spit on the ground, made some mud and anointed the blind man’s eyes. The blind man went and washed the mud out and was healed! He could see! As he points out in verse 32, “Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind.”
But do you know what the Pharisees had the audacity to say? Verse 14 says that “it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.” So the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for He does not keep the Sabbath.” In fact, they even went so far as calling Jesus a sinner! Can you believe it? They were calling the very One who created the Sabbath, the very Substance of the Sabbath Himself, a sinner for failing to keep it!
Acts 13, gives us another account of an amazing Sabbath day miracle. And it starts with another blind man. Only this man was spiritually blind, so blind that he was trying to turn others away from the faith. So verses 9-11 say,
“Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.”
When the proconsul saw what happened to that man, verse 12 says he believed because “he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.” After that, Paul was in a synagogue on the Sabbath and preached an incredible sermon saying that Jesus was the fulfillment of the scriptures that were read every Sabbath. This was such good news that the people begged to be told more on the next Sabbath. Sure enough a week later the whole city had gathered “to hear the word of the Lord.”
But then the Jews got jealous of all the Gentiles that had come and turned against Paul. Remember how Jesus told the blind man that while He was in the world, He was the light of the World? Well, when Jesus ascended back into heaven, He didn’t leave the world lightless. So in verse 46, Paul tells all the angry Jews even though it was necessary that the word of God be spoken to them first, because they rejected it, the apostles were now turning to the Gentiles.
“For so the Lord has commanded us saying, ‘I have made YOU a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ And when the Gentiles heard this they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.”
And it is still spreading to this day! That Sabbath day miracle is happening in the hearts of worshippers all over the world. And some day Isaiah 66:23 says that God will be worshipped by everyone all the time. The shadow of new moon celebrations and Sabbath day worship will finally be fulfilled.
“From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord.”