“I do not find that Sunday is a hallowed day in and of itself. Acts 20:7 and Hebrews 10:25 do not–at least explicitly–say the day is hallowed. Why do so many of us consider the day “the Lord’s day,” or “hallowed?”
This question, from a reader, is the second of a two-part question that I began answering in yesterday’s post. Both were motivated by Monday’s “Word of the Week: Hallowed.”
“Hallowed” is used only twice in the New Treatment, both times in Jesus’ model prayer as recorded by Matthew and Luke. However, its root word, which is often translated “Holy” is used over 200 times. Both the Greek and Hebrew words, translated “hallowed,” mean holy. Sanctified. Sacred. Set apart. Consecrated.
In the Old Testament the Sabbath was called a “holy day” (Ex 35:2). It was holy because God set it apart from other days. God sanctified the Sabbath
It was a day of rest. A day of worship. A day dedicated to Jehovah in special way. Under the law of Moses there were specified rituals on the Sabbath. Certain restrictions. And sacred responsibilities.
In the New Testament, “the first day of the week” is not specifically called “a holy day.” Yet, it’s obvious that Sunday was a special day. Unique. And set apart from other days
◆Upon the first day of the week our Lord Jesus Christ victoriously arose from the dead (Mk. 16:2).
◆Upon the first day of the week He met with His disciples ( Jn 20:19-24).
◆Upon the first day of the week He appeared to doubting Thomas causing Him to believe (Jn. 20:27-29).
◆Upon the first day of the week the Holy Spirit made a powerful appearance. (Acts 2:1-4)
◆Upon the first day of the week Peter and the apostles preached the gospel for the very first time (Ac 2:14-39)
◆Upon the first day of the week over 3,000 responded to the saving message of Jesus and were baptized for the remission of sins (Ac 2:38-41).
◆Upon the first day of the week the church was born. (Ac 2:41-47)
◆Upon the first day of the week Christians met to eat the Supper—-to remember Jesus, to celebrate his life, to reflect on His death and anticipate His return. (Ac 20:7)
◆Upon the first day of the week Christians were commanded to make a monetary contribution into the common church treasury for a God-ordained work (1 Cor 16:1-2)
◆And upon the first day of the week, John was “in the spirit.” Here it is called “the Lord’s day.” The only other time the exact Greek word translated “Lord’s” is used is in 1 Corinthians 11:20 referring to “the Lord’s supper,” which was practiced on the first day of the week!
There is no doubt that “the first day of the week” was a day set apart by God. As I wrote Monday, “In our society it’s easy to forget that Sunday belongs to God and not the NFL! Or vacationing. Or traveling. For too many Sunday has become fun day! Yet, it is a sanctified day. A day of worship. A day of remembrance. A day of spiritual fellowship. Hallowed.”
Christianity, of course, is much more than “going to church” and observing “a holy day.” The Bible says we are to be a holy nation. A holy Priesthood. And to engage in holy conduct. (1 Pet 2:9, 2 Pet. 3:11). Our lives are to be set apart. Sanctified spiritually. Consecrated to Christ. In fact, Christians are called “saints,” which is from the same word as holy or hallowed.
Saints gather for worship on Sunday, a set apart day, to worship a holy God. Then leave to follow in the footsteps of a sanctified Savior.
Then we can truly pray, “hallowed be your name.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman