Christian Sunday Worship
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Christian Sunday Worship
Page 148

Early Church Fasting

Sunday ButterflyThe Early Christian apologist Justin Martyr (100-165 AD) used the name "Sunday" for the day for Christians to meet for Christian worship together. "Sunday" meant "Day of the Sun," and came from nature worship, but it was easy to link with Christian ideas.✞

Jewish Sabbath Saturday

Christ on the other hand was called the "Sun of Righteousness," and described in Malachi 4.2 where we read, "But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves." In John 9.5 Jesus said, "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Justin Martyr thought of Sunday as the first day of Creation, when God said, "Let there be light", symbolic of the day when Jesus rose from the dead. In the New Testament, we can see that for Christians this day was already beginning to take the place of the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) for worship as seen in Acts 20.7, where we read "On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight." In 1 Corinthians 16.2, Saint Paul writes of Christian giving on the Lord's Day, "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made." The Apostle John wrote in Revelation 1.10, "On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet." From this we can deduce that the Early Church came to describe Sunday worship as "the Lord's Day."

First Full Moon

The fact that Strict Jews fasted twice in the week was indicated by the Pharisee who boasted in Luke 18.12, "I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get." This would have been on Mondays and Thursdays. By the year 100 AD, Christians also fasted twice a week, but had changed the days to Wednesdays and Fridays. On Wednesdays, they remembered the betrayal of Jesus in Mark 14.10, when "Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them." and on Friday his crucifixion in Mark 15.24-25 "they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. It was nine in the morning when they crucified him." But these events happened, not only on certain days of the week, but at one particularly special time of the year, at the time of the Jewish Passover on the "14th of the month Nisan," which occurred on the first full moon in spring.

"Christian Sunday Worship"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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