Easter Every Sunday

Ten Commandments WatsonHave you ever asked yourself why Christian churches gather for worship on Sundays, rather than on Saturdays? After all, doesn’t the 4th commandment itself specifically state that it is the “seventh day” (Exodus 20:10) that is the Sabbath, rather than the first day of the week (i.e. Sunday)?

So why Sunday? The Westminster Shorter Catechism addresses that very question:

“Q.59. Which day of the seven has God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?  A.From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath.”

Notice that the turning point is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, which took place on a Sunday, “the first day of the week” (Matthew 28:1). The resurrection was such a momentous event that it ushered in a change in the very day of the week that we are to observe as the day of holy rest and worship.

In his book, The Ten Commandments, the great Puritan writer Thomas Watson writes,

“The reason why God instituted the old Sabbath was to be a memorial of the creation; but he has now brought the first day of the week in its room [i.e. in its place] in memory of a more glorious work than creation, which is redemption. Great was the work of creation, but greater was the work of redemption.” (p.96)

And so the Christian church started to gather for worship on Sundays, in celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. This change took root very early on in the church’s history. Acts 20:7 tells us that it was on “the first day of the week” that the church in Troas gathered together for the breaking of bread (i.e. the Lord’s Supper) and to listen to the Apostle Paul’s preaching.

Similarly, in 1 Corinthians 16:2, when the Apostle Paul was instructing the church in the city of Corinth about their offering for the relief of the saints in Jerusalem, he instructs them to set it aside and gather it up “on the first day of every week” (i.e. Sunday). In other words, that was already the day of the week when the church regularly gathered for worship.

Lastly, in Revelation 1:10 the Apostle John mentions that he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” when he received what he passed down to us in that book. Since the time of the Apostles, Sunday has come to be known as “the Lord’s day” and the Christian Sabbath. And so while the particular day of the week changed, but the principle involved in the 4th commandment still abides and applies to us today.

Easter Sunday is the day in the church calendar when we commonly celebrate the Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. But you really could say that every time we gather for worship on Sunday (the Lord’s day), we are celebrating and commemorating Christ’s resurrection. And so every Sunday is, in a sense, Easter Sunday.

He is risen. He is risen indeed!

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