I was thinking about this during the week because I was reminded that the Resurrection caused thousands of conservative Jews to switch their holy day from Saturday to Sunday. Pastor Mark Dever wrote this, “These first-century Jews — thousands and thousands of them — suddenly changed their normal day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. Sociologists tell us that the most ancient parts of a culture are found in its religious rites. They are the most conservative elements of a culture, the least likely and slowest to change. What then can account for this sudden change around the Mediterranean, among thousands of first-century Jews, from worshiping on Saturday to worshiping on Sunday?”
What a great question. What could possibly convince so many people of one religious background to switch their holy day from Saturday to Sunday? The answer is found in the gospel! They believed that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, who had died for their sins on Friday of Passover week and then risen from the dead and conquered death on Sunday! Before that took place these disciples would have considered the week to run from Sabbath to Sabbath, but after Jesus rose from the dead it changed from Sunday to Sunday.
The New Testament doesn’t record exactly when this change was finally made, but the authors of the gospel of John and the book of Acts make it clear that the first day of the week became the prominent time for believers. John 20 records the following, “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday and he appeared to the disciples later that night as well.
Acts 20:7 describes how the believers as far away as Troas, in modern day Turkey, gathered on the first day of the week to break bread together. The first day of the week was Sunday. This shows that it had become an accepted tradition for Christians to gather on Sundays. From that point on Christian history records believers faithfully gathering together on the first day of the week to commemorate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As we gather for worship this Sunday I hope we will take the time to consider how much changed as a result of Jesus Christ rising from the dead. Transitioning from Saturday to Sunday was a dramatic change for the early believers, but it paled in comparison to the change that God had worked in their hearts and lives. The Resurrection proved that Jesus was the Messiah. It proved that he fulfilled prophecy. It proved that he was able to pay for our sin! It proved that he was able to take God’s wrath upon himself on our behalf. It proved that the Kingdom of Heaven had been established in the hearts of minds of his followers on the earth. It was a day that changed human history forever and it was a day that makes it possible for God to still be chaining lives today! May we gather for worship tomorrow in awe and wonder at the work Christ accomplished on the cross and in the empty tomb! He is Alive!
Pastor Tim is the teaching pastor at Grace Baptist Church Lemoore. You can read more of his articles at www.christandcommonsense.com.
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