Original Research

Sabbath controversy in Matthew

Francois P. Viljoen
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 32, No 1 | a418 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v32i1.418 | © 2011 Francois P. Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 July 2010 | Published: 03 June 2011

About the author(s)

Francois P. Viljoen, North-west University (Potchefstroom), South Africa


Jesus’ attitude towards the Sabbath plays a crucial part in Matthew’s argument. Some scholars argue that Jesus provocatively broke the Sabbath law; however, an attentive reading of the Sabbath controversies revealed a different reality. Matthew strategically places the Sabbath stories after he has firmly stated Jesus’ teaching on the continuing validity of the law and the requirement of greater righteousness. The law and the prophets are fulfilled in the Person of Jesus, who demonstrated a fresh approach to Sabbath observance. God’s intention with the Sabbath must also be recognised. Matthew argues not if the Sabbath should be observed, but how it should be done to experience true rest according to the will of God.


Sabbath; Lord of the Sabbath; Law; Yoke; Mercy; Servant song


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