Jesus and the Sabbath

The Sabbath gives us a little taste of Heaven on earth. It is our chance to celebrate with the God of the universe over His creation.

The Kingdom of Heaven is the entire universe that God created—the whole beautiful, perfect expanse of space, planets, stars, and other marvels. The Sabbath gives us a chance to touch the Kingdom of Heaven.

When Jesus was on earth, He gave us a very important lesson. He said, “ ‘I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven’ ” (Matt. 16:19, NKJV). There is no punctuation in the original Greek, so the semicolon may have been a mistake. The “key” to the kingdom is this lesson: what we bind on earth will be bound in heaven.

The Sabbath brings us a blessing. It brings us closer to God’s perfect kingdom. It allows us to celebrate and join in on God’s joy in His creation. The Sabbath also does something for our lives on earth. It binds us together in families and in communities.

When a family comes together in prayer and in celebration of the Sabbath, each member of that family is reminded how important they are. They feel loved and cherished. They feel as if they are a part of something important—a family that appreciates them. Time spent together as a family gives the children security and a place to belong. It builds relationships. It teaches values. It binds the family closer together as they worship and celebrate, enjoying the best of the family’s preparations.

When a community comes together to celebrate the Sabbath, a similar thing happens. The community is united in a common goal, a common enjoyment. Worshipping together and appreciating family together gives strength to everyone involved. Not only is there strength in united worship, but there is strength in reaffirming values and beliefs. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccles. 4:12, NIV).

What we choose to bind on earth is very important. Where do our priorities lie? Are we more interested in our career advancement, accumulation of wealth and status symbols, and keeping up appearances? What is most important to us? What gets our time and energy? What we choose to bind on earth is what will be bound in heaven.

But there is a catch. Our careers won’t go with us to heaven. Our money will not make that trip, either. So if we are binding things that will only be burned, what use is that? It is a waste of time! However, if we bind the things that will last into eternity—our families and our relationships—then we have discovered the keys to the kingdom. Jesus told a parable about a man going on a journey in Matthew 25:14-30. This man gave his servants certain amounts of money, or talents, and asked them to care for them. Though we know that money will not follow us to heaven, relationships and people will! So what if we replace the talents with relationships in that parable?

The Master gave His servants people. To some He gave many relationships; to others He gave few. And when He returned, as He promised He would, what did they do with the relationships He had given them? Those who nurtured their relationships and made them grow were praised. “ ‘Come and share your master’s happiness!’ ” (Matt. 25:23, NIV). Isn’t that what the Sabbath is all about–sharing in our Master’s happiness?

The people in our lives are the most important responsibility God has given us. Relationships are the most complicated treasures that we have been given to care for. Our families, the people we love and protect, are our first responsibility. Sabbath gives us the opportunity to bind our relationships close so that our homes are a little taste of heaven on earth.

When Jesus comes and we go to heaven to live for eternity, our families, we pray, will come with us. And what we bind on earth will be finally bound in heaven. We will be together with the people we love, for eternity. It all began when God paused and breathed a sigh of happiness over all He had made.*


* Adapted with permission from the iFollow Discipleship Resource, ©North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.