Reorientations In The Sanctuary


Rev Adrian Ng

Scripture Passage: Matthew 12:1-7, Mark 2:27-28 (NIV)



Summary: Many of us may think that resting is a waste of time. We work hard for a living and push ourselves to the edge. We want happiness and fulfilment, but what would our rewards be? Is this how God designed our life to be? Will God be pleased with the way we work and live our lives?

In the beginning, God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work and take care of it. It was almost a priestly duty in looking after a place of worship and communion (Gen 2:15). Before sin entered the world, the work was done in perfect love, joy and obedience. There was no unhappiness and Adam had a perfect relationship with God.

1. God designed Sabbath to be a place of perfect fulfilment. If you are in perfect communion with someone you love, there is perfect fulfilment. Sabbath is that starting place, designed by God, for humanity to find perfect fulfilment with and in God.

2. God designed work to be an extension of perfect fulfilment. In a perfect world, perfect fulfilment would flow from Sabbath into work. With perfect communion with God, Adam would still enjoy a perfectly fulfilling and joyful relationship even as he starts work. Adam was contented because of whom he was spending time with, and who he was doing it for.

3. God is Lord over all Sabbath and work. In God alone can we find fulfilment and joy. God is our ultimate master.

4. Sin has an enslaving effect on our Sabbath and work. When sin came in, humanity’s fellowship with God was destroyed and affected all of creation including Work and Sabbath. An example can be seen in the Scripture passage when Jesus was with His disciples on Sabbath. Old Testament law required one to keep the Sabbath day holy, however to the Pharisees, the disciples picking grain during the Sabbath was considered working thus unlawful. It was no longer about a relationship with God, but about compliance. The Pharisees were working to ensure compliance.

5. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath – our ultimate fulfilment is in Him alone. God’s law is not meant to enslave. It is for the people to enjoy and relate to God rightly. Jesus desires mercy and not sacrifices (v7). It is not how hard we work and how obediently we comply with the law, but who we work for and follow in obedience. Man was not created for Sabbath, rather the Sabbath was created for man to find fulfilment and enjoy God (Mk 2: 27-28). Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and over all our work.

We can only find complete fulfilment and joy in life when Jesus is the Lord of our both our work and rest.

(Sermon Notes by Denis Koh)


1. Why do you think humanity is enslaved by our work? Why?

2. Do you think your work would grant you "lasting" fulfilment & contentment in life? Why?

3. According to the sermon, how do you think God designed work and rest originally?

4. How is Jesus Lord the Sabbath and what does it mean to you?

5. What does It mean for us (in how we ought to live) if Jesus is Lord of our Sabbath? How would your lifestyle change?