Sabbath Wrest

Wrest – v : obtain by seizing forcibly or violently

Does Jesus order us to obtain rest by means of wresting? The definition for wrest continues, “To obtain by or as if by pulling with violent twisting movements.”

I recently saw a short film clip where an alligator trainer was sticking his arm into the mouth of one of his “house trained pets”. Suddenly, without warning, the jaws clamped down on the trainer’s arm and the animal began to twist violently as he would when encountering an enemy or a bit of prey.

Our society has painted an elegant picture of a dog eat dog world; what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine! The mentality of entitlement is rampant. On the other hand we have Jesus’ Kingdom modus operandi (MO): what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is yours-to do with as you please. The confusion comes in when we take something that Jesus is giving us freely (Sabbath rest), and we twist it around until it becomes a burden; even bringing us to the point of seeing Him as the enemy. “The Sabbath, designed originally to afford man an opportunity to know his Maker through a study of the things He had made, and to reflect upon His love and goodness, became, instead, a reminder of the selfish and arbitrary character of Pharisee and scribe. It effectively misrepresented the character of God, by picturing Him as a tyrant.”[1]

Jesus taught that, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) Somehow, we have mistaken the blessing of the Sabbath with seeing it as a curse (at times). God made the Sabbath for our benefit. His intent was never for it to be a burden. He wasn’t thinking, “I want to make a rule so that people everywhere won’t do anything fun until they see the last ray of sun dip beyond the horizon on Saturday night.” Nor was He thinking, “It’ll all be OK just as long as they don’t go into the water past their knees on the Sabbath” (where did that rule come from anyway?). God reserved the Sabbath day as an opportunity for you and me to enter into a zone of Sacred Space with the Divine. May God forgive us of the times where we have taken the Sabbath and violently twisted it into something that God never intended it to be.


Do you see the Sabbath as a blessing or a curse? Take a moment to reflect on where in your life journey this invitation that Jesus offers us started appear burdensome. Spend a couple of moments listening to Jesus speak to you and tell you what He actually intended the Sabbath to be.

[1] The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol 5, p. 587

Posted on by Matthew Gamble in Articles

About Matthew Gamble

Communicator, Consultant, Coach. Founder of a non-profit VagaBondservant Int'l that takes me all over the world exploring the life and teachings of Jesus.

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