Today is Sunday.
It’s the first day of the week—the day my Lord rose from the dead.
All four Gospels record that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). The Romans called this day “the day of the sun” (dies solis) because they adopted the Egyptian practice of naming each day of the week after the sun, moon, and five planets, respectively.
That makes Sunday a special day.
The early Christians followed the Apostle John’s example (Revelation 1:10) and preferred to call Sunday “the Lord’s day,” as a reminder that Christ’s resurrection on this day proved his lordship over all (Acts; Romans 1:4; Ephesians 1:20-22). The English language retains the Roman practice of naming the first day of the week after the sun (Sunday), but several other languages carry the Christian tradition of naming the first day of the week “the Lord’s day.” See how you can hear the Latin word for “lord” (dominus) in each of these words for Sunday: domingo (Spanish), domenica (Italian) and dimanche (French).
It would be a mistake to assume that Sunday is the Christian version of the Jewish Sabbath. The observance of the Sabbath, as an aspect of Israel’s ceremonial law, is no longer binding on New Testament believers (Romans 14:5-6; Gal. 4:8-11; Col. 2:16-17; Acts 15:28-29). However, the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Lord’s Day do have parallel theological significances. The Sabbath points to the eschatological completion of God’s creative work (Exodus 20:11; Hebrews 3:7-4:11), and the Lord’s Day, as the day on which Christ rose from the dead, anticipates the new creation (1 Cor. 15:20ff).
We have only hints that the early church gathered for worship on Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). But it is certain that Christians as early as A. D. 120 made Sunday worship a regular practice. Besides the example of New Testament believers and the early church, Sunday is chosen as a day of worship for Christians because Christ rose on that day, and the resurrection is at the heart of the Christian faith.
Sundays give us a glimpse into eternity,
Because on this day people all over the world will gather
The gathered church is like a shaft of light from the eternal state. Hebrews 12:22-23 describes the “heavenly Jerusalem” as including “the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven.” Revelation dazzles us with a vision of the future when “the dwelling place of God is with man” (Rev. 20:21) and countless beings, including redeemed humans sing, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:12). When we sing with our fellow redeemed ones on Sunday, we can remember that our song is part of a chorus that will reverberate into all eternity. What Christ began on a Sunday, and what I celebrate this Sunday will continue forever. That’s why Sundays give us a glimpse into eternity.
Under spires and steeples and thatched and tin roofs to worship Christ,
Sunday is a good time to remember that the church is bigger than what meets under my local church’s arched ceiling. Many Christians around the world pay dearly to worship Christ on Sunday. Many dress differently, look differently, and worship differently than I do. But what binds us together is our shared devotion to our Savior Jesus Christ.
And so will I.
If today is the Lord’s Day, I want to worship Christ today. If today is the Lord’s Day, I can’t think of anything I would rather do than hear His word preached, sing his praises with his people, and partake in his Supper. It’s Sunday, and today I’ll be with my church.
Alexander, T. Desmond, and Brian S Rosner. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press ; InterVarsity Press, 2000.
Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Carlisle, Cumbria, U.K.: Baker Academic ; Paternoster Press, 2001.