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March 6, 2021: Anthropos

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27–28, NIV).

In these verses, Mark could have used the word λαός (laós) where we get the word “laity”—a word for mankind or humanity in the New Testament. But most often laity refers to Jews.

Or he could have used the word ἔθνος (éthnos) where we get the word “ethnic.” It is also a word for mankind or humanity in the New Testament, but most often describes Gentiles.

Instead, Mark uses a different word— ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos)—and repeats it twice. “The Sabbath was made for man (anthrōpos), not man (anthrōpos) for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

The word anthrōpos here does not refer to Jews, Gentiles or any specific category of people. Instead, to this day, anthropology is the scientific study of all humanity. Thus, the Sabbath is a gift for all humanity! Exodus 16:29 says, “They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you” (NLT). Kept right, it is a delight. And Isaiah 58:13–14 adds, “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. Then the Lord will be your delight” (NLT).

So unplug, slow down, and gather your friends and family to connect with Jesus this Sabbath. Invite some guests too. He is waiting for all of you!

God, thank You for the Sabbath rest You set aside for all humankind. Amen.

Mike Fortune is the pastor of the Toledo First church in Ohio.

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To help you dig deeper into God’s Holy Word this year, we’re offering:

  • Every Month—This calendar, themed “Words of Life,” coincides with the devotional book and videos. It features a biblical topic and verse each month, with additional passages for further exploration, study and ideas on how to apply the concepts in your daily life.