The seventh-day Sabbath points to Jesus as our Creator, Redeemer, and returning Savior.
A long piece of butcher paper, paper, pencils
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Imagine what your life would be like without a weekly Sabbath rest. Describe the spiritual, physical, and emotional stress this would cause you and your body.
- Divide the butcher paper into two columns. Label one column “Sabbath Do’s” and the other “Sabbath Don’ts’.” As a group, list things you were told as children, as well as your beliefs today. Which list is longer? What does that reflect?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Is the Sabbath still significant for us today? If so, what are some of the Sabbath’s ideal qualities for you? Why are these things important?
- Thought Questions
Read Genesis 2:1-3. Why is the very first Sabbath significant to our beliefs and to us?
- After a week of creativity, God wanted to rest and invited humanity to enter into a heaven-initiated rest.
- God rested on the seventh day as an example, since God obviously wasn’t tired.
- God intentionally blessed this one particular day to clearly set it apart from all other days in perpetuity.
- God declared it holy so that we would see its importance in our relationship to the entire Godhead.
- This Sabbath celebration was a one-time event to commemorate creation; it was not to be kept indefinitely.
Read Exodus 20:8-11. What does this commandment tell us about God?
- This day is a special day to God, and God wants us to share it with us.
- God doesn’t want us to waste our days being lazy but to work six days of the seven.
- God desires all people to have a day of rest, so we shouldn’t make people work for us on Sabbath.
- God loves us enough to want to spend an entire uninterrupted day with us.
- This is what the God of the Old Testament was like, but now Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, so why keep it?
Read Deuteronomy 5:12-15. It sounds as though the Sabbath commandment was given to remind Israel that they were once slaves of Egypt. So is the Sabbath meant for us today?
- The text clearly says that God commanded the Sabbath for them, not for us.
- Although we weren’t slaves of Egypt, we are slaves to sin and so should keep the Sabbath now.
- It could go either way—it’s not wrong not to obey this command, but it’s not relevant today.
- The fact that God made it as one of the Ten Commandments in Exodus proves its relevance.
- God’s laws are for everyone, not just for certain people at certain times in history.
Read Matthew 12:1-13. What can this story teach us about Sabbath observance today?
- Jesus expects us to be practical, not fanatical, when it comes to Sabbath-keeping.
- Jesus, not humans making their own rules, decides how the Sabbath should be kept.
- Since Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, it’s not for us to judge how others keep it.
- Jesus desires mercy, not sacrifice, from us.
- Jesus set the example of doing good on Sabbath, even if the good was considered work.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: Read Matthew 12:1-13 again. Brainstorm and then document ways in which you can follow Jesus’ example of Sabbath-keeping in your community.
- Option 2: So many people view the Sabbath as a drudgery rather than a delight. How do you view it? What contributed to your views? Discuss these questions with your group.
- Option 3: Does keeping the Sabbath embarrass you in the workplace or in your neighborhood? If you believe it’s a command that Jesus wants you to obey, what would help you be proud of your belief rather than ashamed of it? Share openly with your group.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Is the Sabbath a burden or a delight to you? If it’s a burden, that’s not what God desires for you. Pinpoint what makes the Sabbath a burden and pray for a way to remove the load. Then find ways to make your Sabbath a delightful day.
- Do you tend to worship God only on the seventh day? Does God get ignored on the other six days? What would it take for you to be a “seven-day” Adventist for the rest of your life?