NT Tuesday: The Lord’s Day
But we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. Acts 20:6-7 ESV
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet. Rev. 1:10 ESV
We’ve been considering what the Scriptures say as it pertains to the Sabbath and the Christian’s response to it (part 1 here, part 2 here). We rightly understood that the Sabbath is no longer a day, but rather it is now found in Jesus Christ.
Now we are going to consider what the Scriptures say about the Lord’s day which is the first day of the week (not to be confused with the ‘Day of the Lord’ which is an entirely different teaching found in the Scriptures). Interestingly, many early Christian manuscripts, written prior to AD 170, refer frequently to the first day of the week as the Lord’s day.
The Lord’s day is not the day that was sanctified by creation rest, nor is it the day of law which the law commanded Israel to keep.
From a grammatical standpoint, the term “Lord’s day” does not involve the possessive tense. Rather, the word “Lord’s” is actually an adjective and it describes the nature and purpose of the day.
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So, the term really needs to be understood in the following way: this day is a day uniquely characterized as lived unto the Lord. In much the same way that the term ‘Game Day’ is commonly used to refer to a day that is characterized by a significant sporting event or ‘game’. The whole day revolves around the fact that it is the day of the big game! The Lord’s Day revolves around the fact that this day is for and unto Jesus Christ in a unique and purposeful way.
Resurrection-life in Christ and the grace of God are closely associated with the Lord’s day. In contrast with creation, the Lord’s-day tells of the new creation; in contrast with law, it speaks of the grace which has brought salvation. Remember that Jesus Christ said that the Sabbath was set apart for man, whereas the Lord’s Day is clearly to be set apart unto the Lord.
The Lord is also ‘the Lord of the Sabbath’ and He has every right to set it aside in this dispensation for a new day – the Lord’s day. He has seen fit to do this.
One other interesting distinction is that the Sabbath was all about self – what one could do or could not do. The Lord’s day is all about Jesus Christ – living in the grace of God and living in the newness of resurrection life, but living it unto Jesus Christ. The significance of that day is evident in scripture.
Paul loved being with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day and celebrating Christ on those days. Jesus, Himself, often revealed Himself to the disciples on the Lord’s day. Especially on the day of His resurrection. From His appearance to Mary Magdalene first of all until He stood in the assembly of the saints on the evening of that day. There was a succession of manifestations throughout that day.
More next week, until then, be a Berean and fulfill your ministry unto Christ, with diligence and excellence.