Forever on a Sunday
Significance of the First Day of the Week.
Jesus’ resurrection is the most important miracle in history. If Christ was not raised from the dead, the faith we place in God is useless. The proclamation of the gospel is useless. Anyone who claims the tomb is empty is a liar. Without the resurrection, living is hopeless. Death, our last enemy wins, if there is no resurrection. Paul addresses these threats in 1 Corinthians 15. He concludes in verse 20, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”
There is another less measured but more familiar result of the resurrection. The empty tomb brings priority to the first day of the week. 52 days every year we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.
Our culture tends to look forward to the end of the week. We even have a restaurant that joins the hopeful outlook- TGIF. The NT emphasizes that for a follower of Jesus, the first day of the week is most important.
It was not always that way.
God rested on the 7th day of creation, Saturday. He did not do that because the whole process of creating things wore Him out. He never gets tired. He was setting an example. We need to take a day of rest from our labor.
God commanded His people, Israel, to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Remember harks back to Genesis. Sabbath-keeping was a pattern from the beginning of creation.
The Sabbath signified the covenant that God had set His people apart. It was a symbol that He had created them, and they should rest as He did. The Sabbath was a reminder of redemption. The Day of Atonement was on a Sabbath.
Sabbath rules were strict. “On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.” “You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day.”
Keeping the Sabbath was serious business.
When Jesus cried “it is finished,” He attested that what Adam didn’t do, He, the second Adam, had completed. He came to fulfill the Law.
It is significant that 9 of the 10 commandments appear in the NT. The only one not found is the 4th- remember the Sabbath to keep it holy. The 7th day Sabbath is no longer the preferred day. We worship on the first day of the week. A day of rest and reflection is still vital to our lives. But everything changed with the Resurrection of Christ.
The first day is the day on which our Lord rose from the dead.
The first day is the day on which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church Acts 2
The first day of the week is “the Lord’s Day.” In Revelation 1:10, John gives Sunday its unique name. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet.”
The first day is when the church gathers. Acts 20:7, “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.”
This is the standard for Sunday services today. Communion and preaching. We still gather on Sundays for preaching and communion.
Alan Stillman opened the first TGI Friday restaurant in 1965 in New York. He hoped that opening a bar might help him meet women. On Sundays, we meet other believers and worship together to celebrate the Resurrection.
God’s people from Genesis to the Cross worked six days and rested on the 7th. The seventh day of creation week was not as the others; it had no evening and morning. Is this a sign that the rest day is permanent? It has no end and looks forward to eternity itself?
Resting from physical work does not bring spiritual rest. God’s rest is found through faith. “For whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” We rest on the first day and work the next 6; commemorating the finished work of Christ. Sunday, not the Sabbath, is the most important day of the week for followers of Christ. Sunday is forever a remembrance of the Gospel- Jesus died, was buried, and on the first day, rose again.
With the saints of every age, we await the final day of rest when “God will dwell among us, and we shall be His people, and Christ Himself will be among us, and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.”
Forever, every day will be Sunday, the Day of Resurrection when eternal rest and rejoicing will be ours.