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Sabbath – Shadow

Shining through

So what does the Sabbath point to?

I realize I never really got to the Sabbath yesterday because I was so taken with the picture of circumcision. That really got me yesterday, and if you missed it, check the tail end of yesterday’s post.

Back to the Sabbath though, the passage we’ve been poking around all week – Colossians 2:16 ends with dashes in my Bible.

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- - Colossians 2:16

So the next verse really needs to be included in the conversation too!

…things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. - Colossians 2:17

I love it in the New Living Translation:

For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. - Colossians 2:17 NLT

I know some of you, in the comments have mentioned this, and it has taken me a long time to get here, but hey – I’m plodding here.

Jesus Christ is the reality – the Greek word here is body, so you could say that Jesus is the embodiment of the Sabbath. He is a living breathing Sabbath. He is rest personified. He demonstrates what it means to keep the Sabbath everyday.

And to take it one step further, as I am want to do, this word body – σῶμα – sōma – is the same word used here:

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. - 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

If then Christ is the embodiment of the Sabbath, and we are the body – embodiment – of Christ, does it not stand to reason that our live ought to be a walking demonstration of Sabbath?

In case you are not sure the answer is an emphatic yes!

But wait Ben, it sounds like you are saying Christians should lay around doing nothing. Doesn’t rest mean no work? Didn’t God tell us to stop our labors on the Sabbath? If we live in a constant state of Sabbath, how will anything get done?

Oh – I am glad you asked, because there are some red letters that will help us with this little paradox.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30

Christianity is a state of working at rest.

We rest from our labors to earn a place with God.

Jesus’ work on the cross earned us that place.

We rest from our labors to earn forgiveness.

Jesus’ blood purchased forgiveness once and for all.

We take up our work in the kingdom of God.

Jesus’ yoke is easy and burden is light.

This idea of a yoke, is one of work, but not solo work, work in partnership with Jesus. Like two oxen plowing a field, it is God’s plan to link you up with Jesus, and for the two of you to do the work He ordained for you, and created you for.

So, in the same way that He has prepared heaven and a future home for every one in covenant with Him yet He calls us to be seated in heavenly places today, so it is that He has prepared a future rest for each of us that is yet to be seen, yet the cross provides a Sabbath rest for us today.

The real work of appeasing and pleasing God was completed with the words, “It is finished.” That was the violent and bloody cutting off of your sin, the once and for all burial of your transgressions, the completion of your reconciliation to the Father. All that is left for you to do today is place your faith in THAT work, that finished work.

I pray for you today, that you will stop your working to earn favor with God, and rest in the favor that Jesus bought for you.

You can enter covenant with Jesus right now, if you have never done so. Simply come clean with Him about how you never have been able to “measure up.” It’s not like He doesn’t already know, but He wants you to own your sin, to confess it, and then to give it to Him. In confessing your sin - it is best to name it, out loud every sin you can remember. Be honest with God. Remember, He already knows, but in saying it out loud, you are putting it in Christ's tomb. Next time you look in there it will be empty! Confession breaks your old sin's hold on you. It gives you a place to point when satan tries to accuse you. "Look satan, I put it over there in that empty tomb and it is GONE!!!" [Tweet This]

Once you give Him your sin, and see that His blood on the cross paid the price for it, there is nothing between you and a wonderful relationship with your Father and mine. Simply ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life.

The Bible promises:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, - John 1:12

The only thing left to do is to put your faith, your trust, your life into His hands.

If you have done that while reading this post there a couple things I would ask you to do. (What more work?)

Tell somebody, someone you know if a Christian.
Plug into a local body – a good Bible believing church.
Start reading the Bible for yourself. If you don’t have a bible – go to or and start reading. I suggest starting with Mark because you will get to know Jesus quickly.

Lastly, I would love you to tell me about it – either in the comments below or you can email  me:

What a great way to start Christmas at Another Red Letter Day.

Ben NelsonThanks for reading today.

See you again soon.


Here is a related post you may enjoy: Remember to Rest

7 thoughts on “Sabbath – Shadow

  1. Lisa

    Amen! Good stuff. In my last statement two days ago..did you catch where i said Jesus was the sabbath in essence? 🙂 I get you.

    Hence, the sabbath given to the Jews is Saturday. The sabbath,is one of the ten commandments and the other ten commandements do not become void when Jesus arrives to the scene. For those waiting for messiah, they got it right! Funny, that Christians are very preoccupied with a new set of festivities that no one was commanded to celebrate..always wondered why most do not celebrate the sweet festivals that our Jesus did if any...but thats a topic for another day!
    Blessings to you Ben.

    1. Ben Nelson

      Lisa, you make a great point - and the fact that Sabbath is in the Law is compelling. Especially since Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, and Paul tells us that the Law is fulfilled in US - we who walk after the Spirit not the flesh.

      The law of God - written on the fleshy tablets of our new hearts and demonstrating God's law - His character, His holiness, His entire being. A letter written to men.

      Bless you Lisa - i really appreciate your perspective on the word.

  2. lisa

    hmmmmm look what you i am so a worship the lord daily kinda person..but you have me studying now...clearly the sabbath was intended to be a day of rest.
    is the verse below not prophetic in nature?
    Isa 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

    "God's Sabbath (Saturday) was never rescinded. It is eternal, intended as a constant reminder that we are created beings, responsible to our creator at the end of time. The Seventh-day Sabbath will be kept in perpetuity by God's people because they are obedient and keep the commandments of God. This is particularly true as we near the end of time-"

    1. Ben Nelson

      Awesome input Lisa. I am good with Sabbath observance on Saturday, but i will stand with Paul and caution against judging a person or worse an entire group of people based on their observance of it. The full law of God is expressed not in days of observance, but in Love. That love does not mean ignoring sin, and tolerating every sort of ugliness and idolatry, but it does think the best and labor for the best for its object.

      Thanks so much for jumping in. I am glad I got you studying this out, and I hope in the end you are blessed in your discovery.

  3. Lisa

    Totally agree with you......and truthfully, it is Christians I see who do most of this judging, can not judge people whose eyes are still blinded, whose veil has not been lifted as only the holy spirit can do in his time as part of his ultimate plan I have seen and heard so much judgement coming from supposed brothers and sisters over the years...sigh...Guess that's why Paul warns us not to,judge in these things. last thing I will say on this post, Jesus is lord! praise his name! Nothing else matters!


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