Why Do Christians Partake of the Lord’s Supper on Sunday?

In Matthew 26, it talks about the Lord’s supper. However, it never says anything about taking of the Lord’s supper, on the Lord’s day (Sunday). Why do we partake on Sunday? Does the Bible say we should?

We read in Matthew 26:25-29 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father�s kingdom.” It is interesting to note that in this passage, Jesus says that He will drink of the cup with the apostles in His Father’s kingdom. The kingdom was established on the day of Pentecost (Mark 9:1; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1, 4) which was always observed on a Sunday according to Leviticus 23:15, 16. It was on this day that Jesus was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1), and it was on this day of Pentecost that many became Christians for the first time. Acts 2:42 says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles� doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” This is the first mention that we have of Christian worship within the kingdom, and it includes the breaking of bread, one of the elements of the Lord’s Supper.

Paul writes concerning the Lord’s Supper, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord�s death till he come” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Notice specifically the phrase, “As often as.” This indicates regularity to the matter. In other words, it was not just once in a blue moon that they partook of the Lord’s Supper, but on a regular basis. What was that regular basis? It was the first day of the week. In Acts 20:7, we read, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Immediately before this particular verse, we see Paul waiting in Troas for a period of seven days. Paul expected the church to meet and he knew the day of their meeting. We can conclude from this that it was customary for the church to meet to worship once a week, (every seven days, upon the first day of the week) and that this day was when they partook of the Lord’s supper. So, “as often as” means “upon the first day of the week, every week.” Such was also true of the contribution that was to be taken on the first day of the week. 1 Corinthians 16:2 states, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” The church met upon the first day of the week to worship and this included observing the Lord’s Supper.

In thinking about the principles of worship, one of the most important is the principle of authority (Colossians 3:17). We have the command to partake of the Lord’s Supper. We have several examples of the early Christians partaking of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week. If we were to suggest that we could partake of the Lord’s Supper upon some other day of the week, we would find ourselves in the position of not having any authority to do that. There is no command, example, or implication within the scriptures that authorize the church to partake of the Lord’s supper upon any other day than the first day of the week and with that we must be content if we are going to walk by faith–if we are going to live and act based upon the word of God (Romans 10:17).

But how do we know that we need to partake of it upon every first day of the week. This should be obvious from the expression, “upon the first day of the week.” The expression does not indicate any other time value except a weekly value. If I were to say to you that I go to volunteer at the community center on the third day of the week, you would understand me to mean, every Tuesday. If I did such any less than every week, you would expect me to qualify that statement with a “once a month” or such like. So also is the meaning of “upon the first day of the week.” The correct understanding of that phrase without additional clarification is a weekly.

Such was also true regarding the Sabbath day under the Old Law. God said, “Honor the Sabbath.” If the Israelites were to honor the Sabbath once a month, would that have been what God commanded? No. They were to honor every Sabbath and that was understood. We are on safe ground by partaking of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week, every week. We know that this is something with which God cannot be displeased and faith seeks to please God (Hebrews 11:6). By observing the Lord’s Supper in some other way or less than weekly, we step out of God’s authority and onto our own without any biblical statement of support for such practices.

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