A brief history of the Sabbath

One Sabbath Jesus met a man whose right hand was withered. The Pharisees were watching to see if Jesus would violate Sabbath laws by healing him. Jesus was aware.
Jesus asked the man to stand in front of him and asked him, “So, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath? Is it lawful to save life or destroy it?”
Jesus was referencing something that would later be called Pikuach nefesh, which says that preservation of human life overrides religious considerations. The Pharisees were aware of this argument, supported by some rabbis at the time. It was later official adopted into the Talmud.
Jesus looked around at the Pharisees and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
The man did and his hand was healed.
The Pharisees were furious and discussed how to address the situation in such a way as to counter Jesus and be able to say he violated the Sabbath.
This is the face of legalism.
God rested on the seventh day. (Gen. 2)
So Moses told the Hebrews to gather manna for two days on Friday and rest on the Sabbath. (Ex. 16).
Four chapters later all sorts of restrictions about the Sabbath are imposed.
By Deuteronomy formal religious observances had been added to the proscribed “rest.” So it wasn’t just rest anymore.
As time went on religious leaders assumed and abused the responsibility for deciding what constitutes “rest” and “work,” what it means to keep or violate the Sabbath, and how to punish offenders.
By the book of Numbers violating the Sabbath laws was being punished by death.
By Jesus time legalism, including Sabbath legalism, was the Pharisee’s primary method for retaining status and control.
Through the years, in different times and places, citizens were compelled by law and punishment to attend church.
Today 40% of those polled say they attend church regularly. About 25% actually show up three out of four Sundays. Apparently people still feel compelled enough by perceived expectations concerning religious observance that they will lie about it in anonymous polls.
Legalism works through adherence to laws and practices, fear of punishment, and control through fear and guilt.
Jesus works through transformation, rest, and freedom.