The First Day of the Week
The First Day of the week
We live in a time when Sunday, the first day of the week, is increasingly viewed just as another day. Even many denominations with their casual Saturday night worship services have downgraded the importance of this day. But in this lesson I want to impress upon our minds the significance of this day.
This is the actual day
While skeptics might try to argue, "How do we know that this is the actual first day of the week? Couldn’t the calendar have been tampered with through the centuries?" In response, in the Old Testament God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-3), following the six days of creation. But thousands of years later, the seventh day was still the actual seventh day (Exodus 20:9-11). If Saturday was still Saturday, going back from the time of Jesus to the actual creation week, then obviously, Sunday is still Sunday.
The resurrection Day
The early Christians were commanded to assemble (Hebrews 10:24-25), and the day on which they assembled was the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1). When they assembled, among other things, they partook of the Lord’s Supper or Communion(Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:18 "when you come together as a church"; 11:20 "when you meet together"; 11:33 "when you come together to eat"). For this was the very day of the week on which Jesus had been raised from the dead, and apart from His resurrection, His death would have no meaning whatsoever (1 Corinthians 11:24-26; 15:16-17 "and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins").
Points To Note:
Various passages can be used to prove that Jesus was raised on the first day of the week: 1. While we know that the women came to the tomb after the Sabbath day and on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2), Mark further notes, "Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week" (16:9). 2. In Luke chapter 24, Luke notes that certain women came to the tomb early on the first day of the week (24:1). On the exact same day, two disciples went to Emmaus (24:13 "that very day"). As they traveled, the Lord joined them, to Whom they said, "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened" (24:21). "These things", refers back to His condemnation and crucifixion (24:20). Therefore, according to these disciples, the first day of the week was the third day since the crucifixion. Numerous times Jesus said that He would arise the third day (John 3:19; Matthew 16:21). Jesus went into the tomb on the preparation day (John 19:42), and the Greek work isparasheue and it is the same word modern Greeks use today for the day we call Friday. This was the first day of that three-day statement. The second day was the Sabbath. The women and others rested on that day, and therefore they came to the tomb on the first day of the week to finish the burial process. The third day therefore would have been early Sunday morning. 3. Some are erroneously under the impression that Jesus had to be in the tomb three full 24 hour days. But note how Jesus used the expression inLuke 13:32 "Behold , I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal". In this verse, the third day is simply the day after tomorrow. Jesus was crucified and placed in the tomb on Friday, the day after the morrow (Saturday) would have been Sunday. Also note 1 Samuel 20:12 "tomorrow, or, the third day"; Acts 27:18-19 "The next day….and on the third day".When we come together and worship, let us be impressed that this is the actual day of the week on which Jesus was raised! Therefore, every first day of the week is an anniversary of the resurrection. Clearly, this must be one reason why the Lord’s Supper is to be observed every first day of the week. Note the following chart:
Same Commands Given To Every Congregation: 1 Cor. 14:33, 37
Every First Day of the Week: 1 Cor. 16:1-2
WHEN THEN ALSO
Christians Assembled Contribute
Partook of Communion
Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20
OT prophecies fulfilled
"And when the day of Pentecost had come" (Acts 2:1). The word "Pentecost" is a Greek word which signifies the fiftieth part of a thing, or the fiftieth in order. This feast was called the "feast of weeks" in the Old Testament, because of the seven weeks that intervened between it and the Passover. It was also called the "feast of harvest", because the wheat harvest occurred in that fifty day interval. After the Greek language became known in Palestine, in consequence of Alexander’s conquest of Asia and Syria, it acquired the name Pentecost (fiftieth), because it was the fiftieth day after the Passover Sabbath: "You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord" (Leviticus 23:16). The word "Sabbath" in this text obviously refers to a weekly Sabbath, and the day after the Sabbath would be a Sunday. Hence, Pentecost would always fall on the first day of the week. We need to be impressed with the fact that every Sunday is the anniversary to the day, of when many of the great prophecies in the Old Testament where fulfilled.
Scripture Description Fulfillment
Isaiah 2:2 "the last days" Acts 2:16-17
"house of the Lord will Acts 2:47
be established" 1 Timothy 3:15
"all nations will stream to it" Acts 2:5
"the law will go forth from Zion" Mark 16:16/Acts 2:38
Joel 2:28-32 "pour out My Spirit" Acts 2:1-4
"whoever calls on the name of Acts 2:21/37-38
the Lord will be delivered"
2 Samuel 7:12 When David is dead and buried Acts 2:30
God will establish the kingdom of
Daniel 2:44 "the God of heaven will set up a 2:47/Colossians 1:12-14
kingdom which will never be
Jeremiah 31:31-34 The New Covenant Acts 2:38
Forgiveness of Sins
Luke 1:31-33 "The Lord God will give Him Acts 2:30/Ephesians 1:20-23
the throne of His father David"
Matthew 16:18 "I will build My Church" Acts 2:47
Matthew 16:19 "I will give you the keys of the Acts 2:14
Mark 9:1 The apostles will see the kingdom Acts 2:1-4
of God come with power
The first day of the week is the day on which the promised Kingdom of the Messiah, or the Church was established. It was the day on which the forgiveness of sins was proclaimed for the first time as an actual reality, the day on which the first souls were converted to Christ, the day on which the first gospel sermon was preached, the day on which the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and began to guide them into all the truth, the day on which it was first proclaimed that Jesus was seated and ruling on David’s/God’s throne, the day on which the great commission started, on which baptism was first preached at being necessary for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16). It was the day on which the apostles began to give their eye and ear witness testimony that Jesus had been raised from the dead (Acts 1:8). This is the day on which Christianity truly started. It was on this very day of the week, the apostles first preached the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! No wonder that years later the apostle John would describe this day of the week as being, "the Lord’s day" (Revelation 1:10).
No wonder that God set aside the Sabbath day (Colossians 2:14-16; Hebrews 8:13-9:4), which had been the day of worship in the Old Testament. While the Sabbath was a reminder of the rest at the end of the Creation Week (Exodus 20:8-11) and a reminder of Egyptian bondage (Deuteronomy 5:13-15), the first day of the week is a reminder of much greater events, especially, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without the resurrection, none of us could be saved (Romans 4:25).
This is the day on which the early Christians met and worshipped God (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Points To Note: Some have tried to undermine the above passages. First, it is argued that the collection in the Corinthian letter was a private collection, which took place at home. But if it was private, why would not any day suffice? Secondly, if it was private they would still have to eventually gather it, but Paul is giving these instructions for the express purpose of avoiding such a gathering, "that no collections be made when I come" (16:2). Hence this was a public collection, it was done every first day of the week, because every first day of the week Christians assembled to worship. Various attempts are made to avoid the clear teaching of Acts 20:7: 1. One such attempt teaches that the breaking of bread in verse 7 is simply a common meal. Did Paul tarry in Troas for seven days, just to hit another church potluck, especially seeing that he was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem? (Acts 20:6,16) 2. It is argued that since Paul preached until midnight, that the Lord’s Supper was actually observed on Monday morning instead of Sunday. Actually, Paul and the Christians here observed communion on the first day of the week (20:7), after preaching until midnight (with some interruptions), Paul had a bite to eat before he departed (20:11).
Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Christ/644-9017