Christian Living

Why Getting a Sunday Sabbath Rest Is Essential

Something Is Wrong If I Wake Up Monday Morning Unprepared to Embrace My Week

The Old Testament talks a lot about the Sabbath, the final day of the week. God—through the Old Testament writers, especially Moses—tells us to keep the Sabbath holy and to rest. But this is an Old Testament thing, and Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament, right?

It’s true that we no longer set aside the seventh day of the week for our faith practices. Instead we’ve made the first day of the week our special day. This may be because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, on what we now call Sunday.

In this sense, Sunday is now our Sabbath, our Sunday Sabbath. Should we treat this Sunday Sabbath as holy and set it aside as our day of rest?

Some would say “yes,” and others would say “no.” The first group claims that it’s biblical, while the second asserts that it no longer applies, that it’s archaic.

However, I don’t align with either group.

A Sunday Sabbath

I see no point in pursuing my Sunday Sabbath with legalistic fervor over what I can and cannot do. This feels like a punishment and not a reward. Let’s make Sunday a gift from God. Remember that Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).

Yet I don’t dismiss Sunday as just another day of the week, albeit with a church service squeezed in. Sunday must be different. It must be set apart.

I want Sunday to retain a spiritual holiness, just like the Sabbath in the Old Testament. And I need Sunday to serve as a day of rest, just like the Sabbath in the Old Testament.

In the Old Testament a day of rest was practical. The people needed to set aside one day a week from their labors. To survive, they work from sunrise to sunset, six days a week. Their bodies required rest on the seventh day to prepare them for the six days of toil that followed.

Most of us no longer work six days a week from sunrise to sunset. We now work 9 to 5, Monday through Friday—or a bit more, but seldom close to the eighty, ninety, or more hours a week that ancient man toiled to survive.

Even so, we still need to take a break, not so much from our work, but from our busyness.

We Need a Sunday Sabbath Rest

In today’s culture, we work hard (usually), and we play even harder. We pack every minute of every waking hour with activity, often multitasked, mind-numbing busyness.

Without a moment to catch our breath, our busyness—often under the guise of recreation—leaves us worn out and exhausted. That’s why we need to embrace rest as our Sunday Sabbath practice.

By taking a much-needed break from our perpetual busyness, we rest on the first day of the week to prepare us for the six days that follow. Our bodies require it, our souls depend on it, and our spirits demand it.

What does the Sabbath Sunday rest look like?

I don’t know. I’m still figuring it out. But I know that we must treat our Sunday Sabbath as different from the other six days of the week. I also know that if I wake up Monday morning unprepared to embrace the coming week that something is wrong.

I know that I missed my Sabbath rest.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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