In our culture, Sunday has lost some of its luster. The first day of the week is now popularly viewed as the “extra Saturday” of the weekend.
Christians recognize Sunday as a special day of fellowship and worship. Here are a few things that make it unique:
1. Jesus rose from the grave on a Sunday.
Jesus Christ was crucified on the Friday of Passover weekend, and on Sunday, the tomb where they laid Him was empty. The Bible says, “And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:2-6).
The most remarkable event in human history took place on that Sunday morning. From the day of Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples began to treat Sundays differently from the old Sabbath day (Saturday), and viewed it as a special day for His followers.
2. The church began on a Sunday.
About fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples gathered in Jerusalem and the Jewish feast of Pentecost was being observed. The Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles with power (as Jesus had foretold, see Mark 9:1 and Luke 24: 49), and the gospel of Christ was preached in its fullness for the first time. The details of this day are recounted in Acts 2, one of the pivotal chapters in Bible history. That Sunday was the day the Lord began adding “to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Seeing that one of the greatest institutions known to man began on a Sunday, it should be no surprise that it would be observed as a day of spiritual significance.
3. The early Christians gathered to worship every Sunday.
The Bible describes how “upon the first day of the week, … the disciples came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7). And the apostles gave specific instructions about how to worship when they were assembled. Paul wrote: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him” (I Cor. 16:1-2). Just as the Old Testament Sabbath day had been observed every seventh day (Saturday) (see Exodus 20:8), they set apart every first day of the week to honor Jesus Christ.
4. The first-century Christians looked forward to their times of fellowship every Sunday.
Because the day was special, the early Christians encouraged one another to attend the weekly assemblies as each Sunday drew closer. The Bible says: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:24-25). They spurred one another on.
Perhaps the greatest reason Sundays are special is because Jesus is present in spirit with His disciples. He said: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). We can be sure Jesus is with us on Sundays, if we assemble with His people for worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).