It’s The LORD’s Day!

Gospel preacher, Steve Higginbotham wrote on the week before last Christmas an article entitled, “Do You Know What Next Sunday Is?”  In it, he said, “As you already know, next Sunday, just eight days from now will be… ‘The Lord’s Day!’  Yes, I said, ‘The Lord’s Day.’  Oh, I know that next Sunday also happens to be ‘Christmas,’ but to the followers of Jesus, that social holiday should pale in comparison to the Lord’s Day” ( 

The Lutheran magazine Gottesblog recently contained an article by Burnell Eckardt entitled, “It’s Not So Much That We Have to Go; We Get to Go!”  In it, he said, “It’s pretty common for people to think they need to attend Sunday worship at least once in a while if they’re members of the church.  But that kind of thinking is at odds with the thinking of the first witnesses of the resurrection.  They, says the very last sentence in the Gospel of Luke, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God (Luke 24:52-53).  That doesn’t sound like to me as though they worshipped out of obligation… but out of joy, the joy of knowing and being convinced that they Lord Jesus, who was given into death, had been raised from the dead…”

What is your attitude about worship?  We are to sing “with grace in (our) hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).  We are to give cheerfully (1 Corinthians  9:7).  We are to give thanks (1 Corinthians 14:15-16).  We are to remember Jesus and the price paid for our sins (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).  We are to seek to edify one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).  This does not sound like disengaged, uninterested members gathering together merely out of obligation. 

What is it that makes the first day of the week significant?  (1) It was on the first day of the week Jesus’ tomb was found empty (Matthew 28:1-2; Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1-2; John 20:1-2).  (2) It was on the first day of the week that Jesus appeared to his disciples, following his resurrection (Matthew 28:9-10; Mark 16:9-10; Luke 24:13-35, 36-43; John 20:11-18, 19-23).  (3) The church began on the first day of the week (Acts 2:1 cf. Leviticus 23:15-16).  (4) The church worshipped on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). 

Why do we call the first day of the week the Lord’s Day?  The words “the Lord’s Day” appear in Revelation 1:10 but are not explained.  Elsewhere, the Bible speaks of “the Lord’s Table” (1 Corinthians 10:21), and “the Lord’s Supper” (1 Corinthians 11:20).  This is partaken on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Furthermore, this language is used in history.  The Didache (80-120 A.D.): “On the Lord’s own day, when you gather together, break bread and give thanks after you have confessed your unlawful deeds, that your sacrifice may be pure” (14:1).  Ignatius of Antioch (death c. 107-110 A.D.) “…no longer observing the Sabbath but living according to the Lord’s day, in which our life arose through him…” (Everett Ferguson, Early Christians Speak, p. 67, quoting Magnesian 9).  Eusebius (4th Century A.D.).  “They (Ebionites – B.H.) also observe the Lord’s day very much like us, in the commemoration of his resurrection” (Ecclesiastical History Book 3, Chapter 27).  It is his special day. Some suggest that this designation may have been used in response to Rome. James Burton Coffman comments, “‘There is every reason to believe the church used the day in protest against Caesar-worship'(R.T. Randell) … According to Deissmann, from A.D.30 and continuing till 98-117, one day of every month was called ‘Augustus Day’ … and it certainly could have been that the Christians started referring to the first day of the week as “the Lord’s day’ in opposition to the current idolatry directed toward Roman emperors”(James Burton Coffman, Commentary on Revelation, p.29)

How do we treat the Lord’s Day?  Let us truly make it about him.  Let us keep it with joy.  Tertullian (c. 150-222 A.D.).  “It is well known that… we regard Sunday as a day of joy” (Everett Ferguson, p. 68, Quoting To the Nations I:13).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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