Sabbath debate: Saturday or Sunday? Does the day really matter?


There is a long-standing debate on the day the Sabbath ought to be observed—Saturday or Sunday?

While it's important to know historically what the Sabbath day really was, the essence of Sabbath has very little to do with the day it is practiced and more to do with how we spend it.

If based on early church practices, scriptures will point to the Sabbath as being on the first day of the week which is generally accepted to be on a Sunday. Acts 20:7 says, "On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight."

1 Corinthians 16:2 also tells us, "On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come."

So in that aspect, the Sabbath was on a Sunday.

But looking at the pattern of creation, God rested on the seventh last day of the week, which is now accepted to be a Saturday. Genesis 2:2 says, "And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done."

The word "Sabbath" comes from the Hebrew term "shabbat," which means to cease all activities.

The essence of Sabbath, however, has very little to do with actual body rest and the mere halting of work. God rested on the seventh day not because He was tired but because He wanted to enjoy His creation. And that is the essence of Sabbath—for us, God's creation, to enjoy our Creator.

And though our bodies may need to be restored at times, it's not just the body that needs rest. Your soul needs rest as well, and as far as rest for the soul is concerned, we can only gain this kind of rest in God. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus invites us, "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Nowadays, many people have Sabbaths on different days. Most of the corporate culture today takes two days off mostly on the weekends. I take my Sabbath on a Monday, the day after a full work day in ministry.

The essence of the Sabbath does not lie on the day it falls under. The essence of the Sabbath is a Person, and that person is Jesus Christ.

In Luke 6:5, Jesus declares, "The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath." What day you celebrate Sabbath, how long you celebrate it or how often does not matter if it is not spent in Christ. In Christ alone do we find true rest for the soul and the spirit so that we will be revived and rejuvenated by His presence.