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Why Observe the Lord’s Supper Every First Day of the Week?

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According to Matthew’s gospel, before Jesus was betrayed by Judas, Jesus ate the Passover Supper with His apostles. “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’  Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom.’" (Matthew 26:26-29).  Hence, the institution of the Lord’s Supper.

From this passage and similar accounts in the gospels of Mark and Luke (Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:15-20), we learn the elements of the Supper and their meaning-- the bread represented Jesus’ body and the fruit of the vine represented His blood of the new covenant which would be shed for many for the remissions of sins; Jesus told  the disciples who were present, “do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).

After Jesus died, was raised from the dead, ascended into heaven, and the church, or kingdom, was established, New Testament Christians ate “the bread” and drank “the fruit of the vine” as a part of their worship to the Lord.  We are told those who believed, repented, and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) “continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). In this instance, “breaking of bread” seemingly stands for “the Lord’s Supper.”

That the Lord’s Supper was a part of the Christians’ worship is also evident from Paul’s writings to the Corinthians.  Paul wrote: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’  For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body” (1 Corinthians 11:23-29).  

From Acts 2:42 and the writings of Paul (1 Corinthians 11:23-29), it is evident that Jesus intended and instructed through the apostles that Christians come together to eat the Supper. Christians are to continue steadfastly in taking the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42). “As often as” they eat the bread or drink the fruit of the vine they must do so “in remembrance of” Jesus; by doing so they “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes”. The Supper was not something that was done once a month or twice a year nor was it something to be done without thoughtfulness (1 Corinthians 11:28-29).  

Neither the gospel accounts of the institution of the Supper nor Acts 2:42 nor 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 declare a day on which the Supper is to be observed.  However, through an approved apostolic example and inferences from the New Testament, the day for its observance is clear-- the first day of the week.

While travelling and preaching the gospel, the apostle Paul came to Troas. Upon arriving in the city he stayed seven days. “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight” (Acts 20:7).  Just as “the breaking of bread” in Acts 2:42 seemingly refers of the Lord’s Supper, so here, “to break bread” seemingly refers to the Lord’s Supper.  These disciples, or Christians (Acts 11:26), assembled on the first day of the week to take the Lord’s Supper.  There is no example in the New Testament of another day on which Christians, or members of the Lord’s church, came together to eat the Supper.

Was it just a matter of coincidence or convenience that these disciples in Troas assembled on the first day of the week and ate the Supper?  No. The first day of the week is the “Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10), a day distinguished from all other days of the week and a day devoted especially to the Lord for some special reason.  The first day of the week was especially devoted to the Lord by early Christians because it was the day of the Lord’s resurrection (Mark 16:9).  Other scriptures in the New Testament show that Christians gave special significance to the first day of the week and assembled regularly on that day.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.”  Paul knew that Christians in Corinth and Galatia came together on the first day of the week just as the disciples at Troas came together on the first day of the week.

We know when the disciples at Troas came together to eat the Lord’s Supper-- on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).  Given this exclusive example of a day that New Testament Christians ate the Lord’s Supper, our knowledge that Paul knew that the Corinthians as well as other Christians assembled on the first day of the week (the “Lord’s day”), and the fact that the first day of the week has special significance because of the Lord’s resurrection, on what day do you suppose that the Christians in Corinth ate the Lord’s Supper?  What day can Christians in any age eat the Supper in the right manner and know they are pleasing to the Lord?

If through the commands of the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:23-29), an approved example (Acts 20:7), and the inferences of the New Testament (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Revelation 1:10) we determine Christians should assemble on the first day of the week and take the Lord’s Supper on that day, shouldn’t Christians take the Supper every first day of the week?  Doesn’t each week have a first day-- a Lord’s day?  When God told the Jews in the Old Testament to "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8), didn’t He mean every Sabbath?  Doesn’t God intend for Christians to eat the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week?

We learn what is acceptable to God through His commands, approved examples, and necessary inferences in the New Testament.  When these principles are considered in regard to the Lord’s Supper, we learn that Christians must eat the Lord’s Supper, they must eat it on the first day of the week, and they must observe the Supper every first day of the week by eating the bread and drinking the fruit of the vine in remembrance of Jesus.