Is there a reason most Christians worship on Sunday?
Christians generally gather for worship on Sunday. The first Christians were Jews who already observed Saturday as the Sabbath. However, Sunday, the first day of the week, was the day on which Jesus rose from the dead. As a result, the early believers began celebrating together, usually with communion, on Sundays as part of their tradition (Acts 20:7).
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As Christianity began to include many non-Jews, the observance of the Sabbath became less of a focus. When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, Sunday became the official day of worship. Some writings during this time described it as a replacement of the Sabbath, becoming a sort of Sabbath for Christians.
This practice continued throughout church history, including during the period of the Protestant Reformation. Many businesses were also closed on Sunday in respect for those who participated in church worship, a practice some businesses continue today.
Interestingly, the New Testament does not emphasize a particular day or time when Christians must gather for worship. Instead, the early church in Jerusalem gathered daily (Acts 2:46). This included gatherings in homes as well as larger groups (usually in the temple courts for the Jerusalem Christians). The emphasis was not on the day or place but rather on the resurrection of Jesus.
After the death of Stephen (Acts 7), the early believers scattered to other areas where Christianity rapidly spread. While this daily focus certainly continued, it appears the tradition of gathering on the first day of the week (Sunday) also emerged. Acts 20:7 records a lengthy sermon by Paul that began on a Sunday evening and lasted until midnight: "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."
In 1 Corinthians 16:2 we also find, "On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come." Since an offering took place on the first day of each week, it is also most likely this occurred when these Christians had gathered together for worship. Interestingly, this letter was written around AD 51, only about 20 years following the resurrection.
While Scripture does not command Sunday or any day as the particular day for worship, Christians have gathered on Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus since the earliest period of the church, a practice most Christians continue today.
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