Chapter 28 dealt with the Sabbath observances and the new moon sacrifices. Numbers 29 instructs Israel regarding the strict observances of¬†other holy days; the feast of trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of booths. Instead of seeing these as celebrations, the Pharisees in Jesus day saw these laws as the basis for righteousness. They strictly forbid the eating of some foods and demanded a¬†religious ritualistic observation to be followed each day. These became the burdens that Jesus was referring to as being “too heavy for them to bear.” Thus Jesus called the people away from the religious leadership of the day. He said, “come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” I like the way The Message translates this passage. It says, “come to me all of you who are “burned out on religion.” They were not joyous celebrations, but solemn, burdensome religious rituals.

Jesus fulfills all these religious rituals for us. Paul explains this to the Colossian Christians who were constantly under attack by the Jewish religious leadership. He writes to them and to us, “don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ Himself is that reality.” (Colossians 2:16-17) NLT