Why is it that Christians have worshiped on Sunday—on the first day of the week as opposed to the last?
First and foremost, I would point to the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus rose again on the first day of the week—on Sunday, the Lord’s day—and as a commemoration of that, Christians have gathered together on that day since the days of the apostles. But why?
Well, when you think about a lot of the types and shadows that you had in the Old Testament, whether it was the temple with its sacrifices, or even this idea of Sabbath, eternal rest, they all pointed to Christ. Christ is the rest in whom we enter. The author of the Hebrews talks about this, but Jesus himself says in Matthew 11:28–30: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Ultimately, Christ is our Sabbath rest. We enter into him by faith. And the earliest believers began gathering together on Sunday because they recognized that they had entered into Christ, the Sabbath rest.
You see this in various places of the Scriptures where it talks about believers gathering together on the first day of the week. For example, in Acts 20 we read that they were gathered together on the first day of the week. Paul talked with them intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. In other words, what you have here is preaching—Paul is giving a sermon (until midnight!)—and also the breaking of bread, probably a reference to the Lord’s Supper. You see this earlier in Acts 2:42. You also see gathering on the first day of the week referenced in 1 Corinthians 16.
From the very beginning of the church, we see the apostles of our Lord Jesus himself gathering together on Sunday. Why? Because they’ve entered by faith in Jesus into that Sabbath rest. And so we gather together on Sunday, worshiping with the people of God like Christians have done for 2000 years, and we, too, rest in Christ.
This article is part of our Frequently Asked Questions series. You can also dig deeper with this free PDF Core Question, or you can listen to the episode where Pastor Adriel answers this question here.