"And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."
I remember appreciating the Sabbath for the first time when I was in college. I was somewhat of a nerd, so studying on a regular and completing all my assignments to the best of my ability was not an option for me. So I welcomed the Sabbath with open arms! "Yes, I CAN'T do any work....finally, REST!" I'm sure many can attest, but I am so glad I am learning that Sabbath means SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!
The Sabbath was instituted at the beginning of the world. Jesus, the Word of God, was our Creator (John 1:1-3). Just after He created man, the "crowning work of His Creation", He created the Sabbath so that Adam could take time to reflect upon and enjoy those things that the Creator made. Adam was just created, so certainly He did not need rest in the sense that many understand it today. Instead, He was to enjoy creation, and in so doing, get to know the character of God, for "it was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God's power and His love. The Scripture says, "He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered." " The things that are made," declare "the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world," "even His everlasting power and divinity."" (Psalm 111:4; Romans 1:20) How amazing must have been Adam's first full day! Not only did he have face to face communion with his Creator, he also had His beautiful handiwork to teach him about God's love.
We don't have face to face communion yet, but we can have that experience. "The Sabbath calls our thoughts to nature and brings us into communion with the Creator. In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear His voice who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day. And as we behold His power in nature we find comfort, for the word that created all things is that which speaks life to the soul." And this is where it gets really amazing! As you reflect upon God's handiwork today, also remember this: Only after He finished His work, after He saw that it was good, did He rest and offer us that same rest. Christ is again offering us rest, but first He must finish a work. "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works..." (Ephesians 2:10), and "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform [or FINISH] it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6) So Christ wants to finish His work in us, that we may be declared "good" and thus enter into His rest. (Note to self: I'll have to do a part 2 on what it means to finish the work.)
I could go on and on because this is such a beautiful subject. But I'll finish with this: The same Word that spoke the world into existence can also speak new life into you, His life to be exact. This is His desire. Our Creator wants to "CREATE in [us] a clean heart...and renew a right spirit within [us]." (Psalm 51:10) And today He wants us to REMEMBER that He can and will do just that if we surrender and ask Him.
Happy Sabbath! Be made new. Today.
*Feel free to ask me for my sources*