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Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sabbath or First Day of the Week?


When God had finished His creation in six days, He rested on the seventh day, Genesis 1:1-2:3, and this became the basis for Jewish Sabbath observance after six days of work. Exodus 20:8-11


In dying and being raised alive on the third day, Jesus had died on the day of preparation for the Passover – just before Sabbath began, Luke 23:54, and was in fact raised on the first day of the week – the day after the Sabbath. Luke 24:1-7. He had “finished” His work, John 19:28-30, and “rested” in death on the Sabbath, awaiting the resurrection on the first day of the week – clearly a momentous event and a day to be remembered!


Through this death and resurrection, the New Creation would begin, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, and those of the New Creation – Christians – would remember the death of their Saviour every first day of the week. Matthew 26:26-28; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:17-29; 16:1-2. Christians find their rest in Jesus who fulfils the Sabbath, Matthew 11:28-12:8, which will be ultimately consummated in heaven. 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1; Hebrews 3:1-4:11; 11:13-16; 12:22-28; Revelation 14:12-13.


Having found fulfilment, Sabbath observance for Israel, in memory of God’s resting on the seventh day after creation, was superseded by first day of the week observance for believers in Christ from all nations, in memory of Jesus’ death for sins - an accomplishment ratified when God raised Jesus from the dead on the first day of the week. Acts 2:22-36; Romans 1:1-6; 4:25


The shadows and types of the Old Covenant were fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Christ, as we now serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the law. Romans 7:4-6; Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 10:1-23.


The Sabbath was for Israel. The first day of the week for Christians. And see here how important it is:


These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, 6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. 7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. 9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted. 13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and the day after that we went to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. Acts 20:5-16


What stands out in this pericope are the days mentioned for the travelling and that they were hurrying to be at Jerusalem for Pentecost. Why spend seven days at Troas if time is a factor? Obviously so that they would observe the Lord’s Supper with their brethren on the first day of the week!! The Sabbath

doesn’t get a mention, but breaking bread on the first day of the week is more than a common meal!!

It’s the day we Christians remember the death of our Saviour, and we wouldn’t miss it for quids!


David Carr

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