Sabbath

Question: How should we observe the Sabbath and keep it holy?

Did Jesus’ disciples observe the Sabbath on the first day of the week?

In the bible, was “the first day of the week” a new Sabbath observed by the disciples?
“The first day of the week” appears eight times in the New Testament:

1. “At dawn on the first day of the week” (Mt 28:1)
2. “Very early on the first day of the week, just after the sunshine” (Mk 16:2)
3. “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week” (Mk 16:9)
4. “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning” (Lk 24:1)
5. “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark” (Jn 20:1)
6. “On the evening of that first day of the week” (Jn 20:19)
7. “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7)
8. “On the first day of the week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.” (1 Cor 16:2)

What was recorded in the bible on the eve before Jesus resurrected?

  • In the above, the first six verses record that Jesus resurrected on the first day of the week showing that the prophecies had been fulfilled.
  • On the evening of that day the disciples shut themselves in the house for fear of the Jews. They did not celebrate the resurrection of the Lord.
  • In order to convince them, the Lord revealed Himself to them on that evening.He did not instruct His disciples to observe the day of His resurrection.
  • The seventh verse records that Paul stayed in Troas for seven days.
  • On the first day of the week, the disciples came together to break bread because Paul intended to leave the next day. It was not a custom or ceremony.
  • The eighth verse was Paul’s instruction to the church in Corinth.
    It does not mean that on the first day of the week they were to offer while at church. Rather, it means that the believers were to lay aside what they had to offer.
  • For this, they should do on the first day lest they do it in haste on the seventh day.
  • None of the above verses provide evidence that we should observe the Sabbath on the first day of the week, Sunday.
  • If we should observe the Sabbath on Sunday, the Bible would have a clear record like how the disciples strove against circumcision (Acts 15:10).
  • Yet, the New Testament has no record of the Sabbath being abolished.
  • Instead, James, one of the pillars of the church, testified: “For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” (Acts 15:21)

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How should we observe the Sabbath and keep it holy?

The Sabbath under grace is not difficult to observe unlike that under the law. God gave us the Sabbath so that we may enjoy blessings and joy and not meant for us to suffer.

Blessings of Sabbath –
The main blessings are spiritual and the physical body also rejoices with spiritual happiness.
Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and  my burden is light.” (Mt 11:29-30).

If we follow the example of Christ, we will receive the true blessings of the Sabbath. For Jesus is the Lord of Sabbath, who relieves many from physical pain and spiritual torment.

When we observe the Sabbath, we should do the following:

1. Participate in meetings
“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly.” (Lev 23:3) “Let us not give up meeting together,
as some are in the habit of doing.” (Heb 10:25)

2. Revere God’s sanctuary
“Observe the Sabbath and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.” (Lev 26:2) “But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from
among all your tribes to put His name there for His dwelling.” (Deut 12:5)

3. Read the Bible
“For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” (Acts 15:21) “…on the Sabbath day He
went into the synagogue …and He stood up to read.” (Lk 4:16)

4. Pray
“On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer.” (Acts 16:13)

5. Gather to hear the Word
“On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” (Acts 13:44)

6. Watch our words and deeds
“Blessed is the man who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” (Isa 56:2; 58:13-14)

7. Preach the Word and do good
“…when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.” (Mk 1:21) “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” (Mt 12:11-12)

Undoubtedly, Sabbath was not abolished and was kept on the last day of the week in the apostolic times.  Is there any reason why modern time Christians should not observe the Sabbath on the last day of the week?

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