The observation of the seventh day of the week, enjoined upon Israel, was a ‘sign’ between God and his earthly people, based upon the fact that after six days of creating the world He rested. The effect upon current opinion explains the antagonism roused by the Lord’s cures wrought on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:9-13; John 5:5-16), and explains the fact that on a Sabbath the sick were brought to be healed after sunset (Mark 1:32). According to Rabbi ideas, the disciples, by plucking ears of corn (Matthew 12:1; Mark 2:23), and rubbing them (Luke 6:1), broke the Sabbath in two respects; for to pluck was to reap, and to rub was to thresh.
The Lord’s Day was known as Sunday, the first day of the week, used only once in the New Testament (Revelation 1:10). Because the first day of the week was the day on which the early Christians celebrated the Lord’s Supper, it became known as the Lord’s Supper, it became known as the Lord’s Day, the distinctively Christian day of worship.
The earliest account of a first-day worship is found in Acts 20:7-12. Here Paul joined the Christians of Troas on the breaking of bread (probably a reference to the Lord’s Supper). The actual day is somewhat uncertain. Evening of the first day could refer to Saturday evening (by Jewish reckoning or to Sunday by Roman reckoning).
First – and second – century Christian documents indicate that Sunday quickly became the standard day for Christian worship, but they do not explain how or why this change from Sabbath to Lord’s Day came about. Since the earliest collective experiences of the disciples with the risen Lord took place on Easter Sunday evening (Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23), one might naturally expect the disciples to gather at the same hour on subsequent Sundays to remember Him in the observance of the Supper.
The change in the time of worship from evening to morning, though, probably came about because of practical necessity.
Evidence from the early centuries clearly shows that Christians regarded Sunday as a day to rejoice in the new life brought by the resurrection.
The Sabbath had two purposes, it was to rest and a time to remember what God had done. We need rest. In our day as in Moses day, taking time out is not easy. Make sure your Sabbath provides a time of both refreshment and remembrance of God.
But God’s law for Israel were unique in that (1) they alleviated the harsh judgments typical of the day; (2) they were egalitarian – the poor and the powerful received the same punishment, and (3) they did not separate religious and social law. All law rested on God’s authority.
God demonstrated that rest is appropriate and right. Jesus demonstrated this principle when he and his disciples left in a boat to get away from the crowds (Mark 6:31,32). Our times or rest refresh us for times of service.
God commanded his people to rest and honor him on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11). He wants us to serve him every day, but he wants us to make one day special when we rest and focus on him. A few Christians keep Saturday aside as a special day, but most accept Sunday (the day of the week that Jesus rose from the dead) as “Lord’s Day,” a day of rest and honor to God.
Whatever your race, social position, work, or financial situation, God’s blessings are as much for you as for anyone else.
Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL; Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words by W. E. Vine; and Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.
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