“Shabbat Shalom!” Have you ever heard this phrase? That’s the way we greet each other in the land of Israel on Shabbat. No doubt that Jesus and His disciples also would’ve greeted each other in the same manner, wishing each other a peaceful and restful Shabbat. Lately I’ve been meditating on the concept of Shabbat and observing how different demographics and religious groups honour Shabbat in Israel. You see those who follow the law word-for-word, careful not to break a single aspect of the law, whereas others might only observe certain parts of the law, while others would shun Shabbat completely as an outdated religious ritual.
Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:28-30 to take His burden upon ourselves, and He promises us rest as we respond to His call to enter His rest. This is the true Shabbat, and the rest that the Old Testament prophecies pointed to. It is a Shabbat, a rest, a ceasing from empty works and religious deeds. It is a relinquishment from the pursuit of righteousness by works, and instead obtaining the righteousness of God by our faith in the finished work of Christ.
In Colossians 2:16-17 we read
“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
The Shabbat days, new moons, and biblical feast were all pointing to Jesus who would be the fulfillment of these things. They are shadows which have been revealed to us by faith in Christ Jesus. We are now able to clearly see by faith and discern with the eyes of our heart that Jesus is our rest, and He is our Shabbat. On the cross he proclaimed:” It is finished!”
Lord, I thank you that your finished work on the cross has brought me out of death and into life. I have been resurrected from dead works of the law into righteousness by faith in Jesus. Help me to walk daily in my Shabbat rest, to function out of a position of rest, and to lay hold of my Shabbat rest everyday in Jesus’ name. Amen
Beit Hallel is a Messianic Jewish congregation in Ashdod, led by pastor Israel Pochtar, serving holocaust survivors and the poor and needy locally and throughout the nation of Israel, while building up the body of Messiah in the promised land of Israel.