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1. Jesus said that He would be raised on the third day after His death.
A. “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day” (Mt. 16:21; see also Mt. 17:23; 20:19).
B. Luke says that Jesus died on the day of Preparation “and the Sabbath drew near” (Lk. 23:54). The women watched where Jesus was laid, and then “they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). “Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning” they went to the tomb to anoint the body (24:1). That same day two men were traveling to Emmaus (v. 13) (that was the first day of the week, v. 1), and they told Jesus “today is the third day since these things happened” (v. 21). (“These things” referred to the crucifixion, v. 20). Jesus said, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day” (v. 46). Luke’s description is clear that Jesus arose on the first day of the week.
2. How the Jews reckoned time.
A. Esther gave instructions to “neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day” and then she would go before the king (Esther 4:16), but “on the third day” she went before him (Esther 5:1).
B. Rehoboam gave instructions to “come back to me after three days” (2 Chron. 10:5), but they came “on the third day” (v. 12). Obviously, part of a day was reckoned as a day. If Jesus was crucified on the day before the Sabbath (Friday), the third day thereafter would be Sunday. He was in the tomb a part of two days and a whole day (the Sabbath), which harmonizes with what Luke said about the events.
3. Events on the first day of the week:
A. Jesus arose from the dead on the first day of the week, thus was “declared to be the Son of God with power” on that day (Rom. 1:4). He appeared to Mary on that day (Jn. 20:11-16), also to a group of disciples on that evening (Jn. 20:19,20). The next Sunday (“after eight days” would be on the eighth day, or the next Sunday), He appeared to the disciples with Thomas (Jn. 20:26-29).
B. The gospel of Christ began to be preached and the church was established on the first day of the week (Lev. 23:15,16; Acts 2:1-4,47).
C. Disciples met to “break bread” on the first day of the week. In Acts 2:42 “the breaking of bread” is placed with other acts of worship. In Acts 20:7 the disciples came together on the first day of the week to break bread. Paul told the Corinthians that disciples are to come together for the Lord’s supper - not for common meals (1 Cor. 11:22-34).
D. Paul gave orders to the churches of Galatia and the Corinthian church to give on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:1,2). This clearly indicates that they would be together on the first day of the week - or they could not have collected the contributions on that day.
4. There is no New Testament evidence that the church observed the Lord’s supper or “laid by in store” (gave) on the Sabbath day. If we are to keep the Sabbath today - what does the Covenant dedicated by the blood of Christ teach us to do on that day?
Copyright Midway Church of Christ 2014 This page last modified July 03, 2014