The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. What does it mean? Let us travel all the way to the Seventh Day of Creation. And God rested on the Seventh Day. Does God require rest? No, but the Author has marvellously presented creation in a highly stylised form, and the clue he has left for us is the word ‘Seven’ – meaning Sabbath and also Covenant.
And it is this that the Author wants to tell us, that Yahweh entered into a Covenant with Man immediately after man’s creation, and this covenant is centered around resting in God. Being assured in our heart and mind that God is Lord, Father, trustworthy and source of our goodness. To put it differently, being still in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God.
But during the Exile in Babylon, many of the scholars reflected upon why Israel ended up as exiles, and one of the thing they realised was that the people had broken the keeping of the Sabbath Peace.So their reaction was an extreme one, i.e. keep the Law to its letter. In doing so, they forgot the prophets had demanded the people keep the Law with the heart.
The sabbath was made for Man – to grow in holiness, just as Jesus advises the Man, sin no more.