By Ron Bartanen
What is the significance of the first day of the week to Christians? The Jews, under Jewish (Old Testament) Law observed the seventh-day Sabbath as a day of rest, recognizing that God rested on the 7th day of Creation, while most of those who claim to follow Christ observe the first day of the week in worship. What is the special significance of the first day?
1) Light was spoken into existence by God on the first day of Creation (Genesis 1:5). God’s material creation was wrapped in darkness until light was brought into existence to dispel the darkness. On the first day of the week we give honor to Him who is “the light of the world” (John 8:12), a world in darkness without Him as its light. John wrote of Him: “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus, see v. 14), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. All things were made by Him, and without Him not anything was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1, 3-4). Jesus is the light of the New Creation, those delivered from the kingdom of darkness.
2) The resurrection of Jesus, “the light of the world”, was upon “the first day of the week” (Luke 24:1), the third day after His death, which He had promised to be the day of His resurrection (Mark 16:9;; Luke 9:22; 24:21).
3) The recorded appearances of Jesus to His disciples were upon the first day of the week ((Matthew 28:9-10; Luke 24:33-36; John 19:26).
4) The Lord’s Church had its beginning upon the first day of the week with the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday (Acts 2:1-4). Note: Pentecost was always on the first day following the Sabbath (Saturday), and thus was on the first day of the week. (Leviticus 23:11, 15-16)
5) The early church assembled upon the first day of the week to “break bread” (Acts 20:7), a term used in regard to the breaking of the bread in the Lord’s Supper, as instituted by Jesus for a memorial of His sacrifice for us (Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:19). Paul gave instructions as to the proper partaking of the Lord’s supper at their assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-34). The breaking of bread was at their weekly assemblies, not quarterly or yearly. They were steadfast in the practice (Acts 2:42). Contributions were also made on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Scripture plainly warns of the danger that exists in a Christian’s willful forsaking the assemblies of the church (Hebrews 10:35-31). The first day of the week is a very significant day for God’s people.
- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://arthurcoc.com/