Sunday rest

The phenomenon rest day dates from just after creation. God was finished creating and he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. The word for rest is ‘shabath’ and also means to cease, to desist. To His people Israel he commanded to celebrate the 7th day by not working but resting.

In the New Testament Jesus handles the Sabbath differently than people were used to, using the motto “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”(Mark 2:27). From a day to celebrate and rest is was degenerated into a day full of risks of trespassing Gods commandment not to work.

The Christian church declared the Sunday as a day of rest. Depending on the denomination rest is interpreted as going to church and then life as usual, till twice a day to church and in between nothing you would do on a normal day except family visits.


  • you are not allowed to work on Sunday

  • Sunday is a day you dedicate to God by going to church

  • It doesn’t matter what day you make a day of rest as long as you set one apart.

  • You don’t have to obey the Sabbath commandment any more, so we don’t need to have a day of rest.

The way you can also look at it:

Apart form the stories about Jesus, who according to his contemporaries broke the Sabbath commandment time and again, the New Testament doesn’t speak about a day of rest you should obey. About festivals, celebrations and Sabbaths it is said that everybody can do as they like. (Colossians 2:16).

In the letter to the Hebrews the writer talks about entering Gods rest. This rest is compared with Gods rest on the 7th day (4:4). God then knew it was done, better than what He had made wouldn’t be possible. He could look with satisfaction at what he had made and enjoy it. The works of creation were finished.

The context of ‘entering Gods rest’, is the people of God who were liberated from slavery and on their way to the promised land. Despite their freedom they were grumbling at God, they didn’t trust Him and didn’t listen to what He said. The consequence is that they can’t enter into Gods rest. But also later, when they do live in the promised land, there still is no rest because they keep being disobedient.(4:11)

So there is a link between obedience and rest. That obedience isn’t; doing exactly what the rules tell you. It isn’t keeping the law and to be sure ad something extra like ‘you are not allowed to work, so don’t let anyone work for you, so don’t buy anything on a Sunday’.

Obedience is trusting God. Believe Him like Abraham did. God promised Abraham a son, but Abraham and his wife at one time were to old to get any children. Still Abraham believed God, he trusted God would do as promised. Abraham had rest. He didn’t have to doubt and didn’t have to try to think of solutions to fulfil the promise. He didn’t need to explain God or himself because the promise lingered. Abraham knew that he knew that he knew that God would do as promised.

This is the rest we may enter. The rest of trusting Gods promises. We may rest in the ‘it is finished’ of Jesus Christ. God promised we are liberated, forgiven, sanctified, a new creation. Not because we are doing that well but because He took care of it.

“Oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.” Ephesians 1:20-23 MSG)

What can we add to that? Lets rest form our ‘have to’s’. Lets celebrate we don’t have to do anything any more and can come to rest because everything is finished. Everyday or one day a week, you can choose.