Pharisees Sabbath Rules

Pharisees Sabbath Rules

The Pharisees Sabbath rules are different from what we find in the Bible. God created the Sabbath to be a blessing for humanity.

Unfortunately, the Jewish rulers expanded on this commandment, and added many man-made traditions to it, making it a burden for people.

From forbidden labor to peculiar restrictions on bread, clothing, walking, and other stuff, these rules are different from the original plan God had with His holy day.

Discover how these man-made traditions took precedence over God’s Law and how Jesus challenged their authority.

The Mishnah’s 39 Forbidden Sabbath Labors

The Mishnah outlines 39 primary forbidden Sabbath labors imposed by the Pharisees. These rules had a significant impact on daily life and religious practices.

The Pharisees’ Sabbath rules affected the day of the Sabbath, dictating what activities were permissible and what were not. 

These rules greatly restricted the freedom of individuals on the Sabbath, making simple tasks burdensome and forbidden.

Additionally, the Pharisees’ Sabbath rules created a rigid and legalistic approach to religious practices. 

The emphasis on outward observance and adherence to these rules overshadowed the true essence of worship and spiritual connection with God.

Prohibited Activities on the Sabbath

The Pharisees, in their strict interpretation of the Sabbath, added countless other provisions regarding Sabbath observance. 

These additional Sabbath restrictions had a significant impact on the way people observed the Sabbath. 

Man-Made Traditions Vs. God’s Law

While man-made traditions were prioritized by the Pharisees, God’s Law remained the ultimate authority and guide for righteous living. 

The Pharisees’ disregard for God’s Law was evident in their obsession with Sabbath observance. 

Their man-made traditions imposed burdensome regulations on the Sabbath, adding countless provisions to the already extensive list of prohibited activities. 

These rules went beyond the intention of God’s Law, turning the Sabbath into a reflection of the cruel character of the Pharisees and scribes.

Instead of drawing people closer to God and benefiting others, these man-made traditions hindered true Sabbath observance and became a stumbling block for the people. 

Jesus, however, upheld God’s Law and taught his followers to do the same, emphasizing the importance of righteousness by faith rather than salvation through the observance of man-made rules.

Jesus’ Opposition to Pharisees’ Sabbath Rules

Challenging the Pharisees’ Sabbath rules, Jesus denounced their excessive regulations. 

He opposed the legalistic approach of the Pharisees, emphasizing the importance of God’s intentions behind the Sabbath.

Here are four key points that highlight Jesus’ opposition to the Pharisees’ Sabbath rules:

  1. Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. He emphasized the compassionate nature of the Sabbath, encouraging acts of healing and mercy on this holy day.
  2. Jesus criticized the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, as they burdened the people with heavy regulations while neglecting the weightier matters of justice, mercy, and faith.
  3. Jesus demonstrated the true spirit of Sabbath observance by performing acts of kindness and liberation on the Sabbath, challenging the Pharisees’ narrow interpretation of the Law.
  4. Jesus taught his followers to prioritize love and relationship over legalistic rules, emphasizing that the Sabbath should be a time of rest, rejuvenation, and worship, rather than a burden of excessive regulations.

Through his teachings and actions, Jesus exposed the legalism of the Pharisees and emphasized the true essence of the Sabbath as a gift from God for the benefit of humanity.


In conclusion, the Pharisees’ Sabbath rules were indeed not in the spirit of the Sabbath, imposing numerous restrictions on the Jewish community. 

These rules went beyond God’s intentions and became more important than God’s Law itself.

Jesus, however, challenged these man-made traditions and upheld the true essence of the Sabbath.

The impact of these rules on the people was significant, leading to a burdened and restricted way of life.

God wants us to enjoy His holy day, to be a day where we gather together to worship Him, and to thank Him for the wonderful gift of salvation in Jesus.

His Son died on the cross for you and me, He took the punishment for our sins, and by His sacrifice, we are free from sin and death.

What a loving Saviour we have! Let us use the Sabbath to reflect and thank God for the wonderful gift of salvation – the cross of Jesus!

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