Forever on a Sunday

The Significance of the First Day of the Week.

The resurrection of Jesus is the most important miracle in history. If Christ was not raised from the dead any faith that we place in God for anything 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 resur- rection. The Resurrection of Christ brings priority to the first day of the week. 52 days every year we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. There is a cultural tendency 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 week, 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 remem- ber the Sabbath and keep it holy. Remember takes us 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 Atone- ment 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 had failed to do, He, the sec- ond Adam, had completed. He came to fulfill the Law. The Law was an iron-fisted guardian of God’s holiness. But we are no longer living un- der the Law. It is significant that 9 of the 10 commandments are re- peated in the NT. The only one not found there is the 4th- remember the Sabbath to keep it holy. The 7th day Sabbath is no longer the pre- ferred day. The day of worship is 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 of the week was the day on which our Lord rose from the dead. The first day was the day on which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church Acts 2. The first day of the week is called “the Lord’s day” In Revelation 1:10 John gives Sunday a unique name- the Lord’s Day. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,” By the time he wrote Revelation the first day was known as the Lord’s Day. The first day of the week is when the church gathered. 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 pattern for Sunday services today. Communion and preaching. We still gather on Sundays for preaching and at least once a month for communion. Alan Stillman opened the first TGI Friday restaurant in 1965 in New York. He hoped that opening a bar would help him meet women. On Sundays we meet other believers and wor- ship together to celebrate the Resurrection. God’s people from Gene- sis to the Cross worked 6 days and rested on the 7th. The 7th day of creation was not like the others; it had no evening and morning. Could this be a sign that the rest day is permanent. It has no end and looks forward to eternity itself? No work is necessary to find spiritual rest. “For whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” The rest of God is found through faith.

From Christ until the final consummation of all things we rest on the first day and work the next 6; commemorating the finished work of Christ. Sunday 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 all the ages 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 like Sunday, the Day of Resurrection, when eternal rest and rejoicing will be ours without end.

Lee Button
Republished from the May 2019 Messager.