Why Do Many Christians Worship on Sunday?

keep-calm-it-s-sabbath-dayA commonly held perspective across Christianity, and other religions is that the Sabbath is Saturday, but what is the Sabbath, and why do many Christians worship on Sunday instead of Saturday?

A Little Background on the Sabbath

Genesis 2:2 tells us:

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

And so began the premise for the Sabbath. It was the Lord who commanded us to observe the Sabbath when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments. Exodus 31:12-17 reads:

12 And the Lord said to Moses, 13″You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, “Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”

The lord was quite specific about His expectations for us with regard to the Sabbath. You might have noticed that the Bible never mentions that the Sabbath is on Saturday. In fact, the Bible never mentions the names of any days of the week as we know them today. Instead weeks were broken into seven days with the Sabbath being the seventh day of the week. So how do we know the seventh day of the week is on Saturday? Pastor Doug Batchelor offers a nice explanation for the Sabbath being on Saturday in this audio clip: Sabbath Question. The transcript of this audio file can be found here. OK, so let’s say – for the sake of argument – that the Sabbath is on Saturday. Why would so many Christians worship on Sunday?

Why Worship on Sunday?

Very generally speaking Muslims worship on Friday, Jews on Saturday, and most Christians on Sunday. Based on information found on Islamicweb.com Muslims worship on Friday because Allah sent Muhammad

informing both the Chrisitans and the Jews that they should take Friday as a holy and a sacred day.

Jews worship on Saturday based on the commandment from God to do so, as in the passage from Exodus above.

So why do many Christians worship on Sunday? Jesus was crucified on what we would consider today to be Friday. Evidence for this is found in Mark 15:42, which reads:

And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath,

As we have already seen that the Sabbath is on Saturday the day before would, of course, have to be Friday. Jesus rose from the borrowed tomb on Sunday (when the Sabbath was past), as we see inMark 16:1-2.

1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.

The most reasonable reason I have found for Christians to worship on Sunday is to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday. From a personal perspective, I cannot think of a better day to worship the Lord than on the day of the week Jesus conquered the grave to redeem us from our sins!

Isn’t Worship on Sunday Against God’s Commandment?

In short, many Christians believe the answer to this question is – no. This belief is based on the New Covenant. The New Covenant is first spoken about in Jeremiah 31:31-34, which states:

31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

This New Covenant does not give Christians a free pass to sin. The New Covenant was brought about by the sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice through which all of our sins are forgiven. This New Covenant is referenced in several books of the New Testament including: Luke, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Hebrews.

Romans 14:5-6 tells us:

5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Essentially, which day of the week we choose to worship the Lord is irrelevant. But how could that be? Jesus offers us some insight by way of Mark 2:27.

27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

In Conclusion

You may have noticed I have been using the phrase “many Christians” when referring to worshipping the Lord on Sunday. Some Christian sects still choose to worship the Lord on Saturday. I will not dispute that Saturday is the Sabbath; however, I will say there is no “correct” day to worship the Lord. In reality, the Lord should be worshipped every day although I do find benefit in having a specific day of the week set aside for devotion to the Lord. In closing I offer that of all of the differences we might debate about across the various religions the day on which we are “supposed” to worship the Lord is hardly among the most important. Regardless of the day of the week I am…