One of my Brothers in Christ was wondering whether or not Christians should partake in the Passover and worship on the Sabbath Day instead of on Sunday. He showed me a certain individual on Instagram teaching people that Christians need to, and that we neither observe the Lord’s Day as Sunday nor partake in what is called
“communion”, but partake in the Passover feast once a year. He stated that such a feast and the sabbatical days are not for the Jews, but for Christians since we read about Christ partaking in the Passover and attending the synagogues on the Sabbath days with His disciples. The individual further contended that the words “the Lord’s Supper,” “communion” and seeing the worshiping on Sundays are not found in the Word of God.
There are a few questions we need to ask before we begin:
- What is the Passover and what did it represent?
- What did the Sabbath Day entail and who did it apply to?
- Because our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus partook in these customs, do we follow His steps?
- What is the Lord’s Supper/communion; how often do we take it?
THE PASSOVER AND THE SABBATH
When the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians for 400 years, they were in bondage with harsh conditions (Exodus 1:14). The new born Hebrew males were to be killed by the midwives (Exodus 1:16), and they were denied worship by Pharaoh. Their enslaved conditions were endless and waxed terribly by the year. However, Yahweh heard the cries and seen the afflictions of the children of Israel and set about to deliver them out of the land of Egypt, and into a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:7-8).
After God sent forth 9 plagues over the land of Egypt, the final one was going to finally set the Israelites free: the death of the first born males of the Egyptians and of every beast. Before the Lord had done so, let’s read what He established as a protection for the Hebrews:
3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household… 5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.7 Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 10 And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.11 Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover. (Exodus 12:3, 5-11, NASB)
Further on in this chapter, Yahweh stated that such the blood of the unblemished lamb on the door will be passed over, and the plague will not be upon the children of Israel. When they were freed from the hands of the Egyptians, this Passover feast was to be done once a year by the Jews as a memorial and ordinance/law of their delivery from Egypt (Exodus 12:24-27). The feast consisted with a sacrificing of animals, which is an old commandment from the Lord. Since Moses was the mediator between God and the people of Israel, God spoke to the Jews through him and established His ordinances known as the Mosaic Laws; the first five books of the Old Testament are known as the book of Laws. The Sabbath Day is entailed in the Laws of Moses for the Hebrews as a holy day of rest, and whoever defiles the Sabbath Day (Saturday), would be cut off from the children of Israel (Exodus 31:13-17). So we see here, the Passover feast and the Sabbath Day were for the Jews.
WALKING IN CHRIST’S FOOTSTEPS?
It can become dangerous or even a bit silly to state that because Christ did a certain thing, we have to do it, too. For example, Christ didn’t have anywhere to lay His head–does that mean we have to leave our homes and do that, as well (Luke 9:58)? Or should we become carpenters because Christ was a carpenter? How about putting away our cars or use of public transportation because Christ walked everywhere by foot? Maybe men of today should be circumcised because Christ Jesus was, too (Luke 2:21).
When the apostle Peter stated that Christians should follow in the footsteps of Christ, he certainly didn’t mean what I’ve written above. What Peter meant was having the love, compassion, humility, sincerity and obedience that Christ has. Therefore, we have to put aside all malice, guile, hypocrisies, envying, covetousness, etc, put on Christ (being Christ-like with the conduct He had on earth) and do the will of God (Colossians 2:6; Mark 16:15)
Now we come to question the individual on Instagram posed in regards to keeping the Jewish ordinances: If the Passover feast and the keeping of the Sabbath day were only for the Jews in the Old Testament, why did it state that it was Christ’s custom to do this in the New Testament (Luke 4:16)? Paul the apostle, moved by the Holy Spirit, gave us the answer to the Christians in Galatia who were trying to keep some of the Mosaic Laws: “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law” (Galatians 4:4-5, emp. added). Since the Lord was born under the Law of Moses, it was His custom to be circumcised (Luke 2:21-22), it was His custom to partake in the Passover feast with his parents (who were Jews) (Luke 2:41-42), and with his disciples (who were also Jews), and it was His custom to remember the Sabbath Day (Luke 4:16) because Jesus Christ was a Jew (John 4:9, Galatians 4:4).
Additionally, when we read about Paul’s missionary journey throughout the book of Acts–particularly in Acts 17:2–we read that it was his custom to attend the synagogues on the Sabbath day. It is very important to remember who Paul was before he became a Christian:
If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless (Philippians 3:4-6).
Paul was one of the greatest rulers in the Jew’s Religion; he was part of the strictest sect in Judaism: a Pharisee. Therefore, of course it was Paul’s custom to attend the synagogues on the sabbatical days. From him being in the Jew’s Religion before leaving that and coming into the gospel of Christ, he understood that the Jews gathered and assembled themselves on the Sabbath day. So to the Jews, he became a Jew in order for him to preach to them that Christ Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic Laws and redeemed them from it–now saving them not by the Law, but through Grace and Truth (1 Corinthians 9:20-22, Matthew 5:17, Colossians 2:14, John 1:17).
THE LORD’S SUPPER AND SUNDAY
The individual on Instagram stated the Lord’s Supper/communion and assembling on Sundays is neither “sanctified” nor stated in the bible, but invented as traditions by men throughout the years. A closer look at the four Gospels and Paul’s epistle to the church of Christ in Corinth will say otherwise.
Throughout the book of John, the Passover was always referred to as the feast for the Jews or “the Jew’s Passover” (John 2:13, John 6:4, John 11:55). Throughout those passages we can read that whenever the Passover was nigh, Christ was slowly instituting His Supper with words like “those who eat my flesh and drink my blood will have eternal life” (John 6:53-54). When the Jews and His disciples heard such a bold statement, they either could not understand it or took it literally, and left Him. Now when the final Jew’s Passover was at hand before Christ’s crucifixion, He said to His apostles, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). The question that usually arises is “why would Christ say this?” He was saying this is the day that He’s been waiting for and prophesying to His apostles about. He would be handed over to be crucified and rise again the third day. This was the night. The night when the Son of Man would be glorified on that wooden cross. The night when His disciples would forsake Him. The night when Peter would deny Him three times. The time now until His last breath when He would be beaten, scorned, scourged, spat upon, and mocked. The time now when for just those few moments He would cry out with a loud voice to the Father saying, “My God, My God… Why have You forsaken Me?” because the sins of the entire world was upon Him. The time now when He looked upon the people and said, “It is finished” and gave up His spirit to the Father and fulfilled the patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations and implemented the new covenant (Colossians 2:14). That is what Christ meant when He said, “I have greatly desired to eat this Passover.” The Jew’s Passover of sanctification through the sacrificing of lambs/goats was a copy and shadow of that which was to come (Christ). Christ became the final and ultimate Passover/sacrifice for us, He was our Lamb “without blemish and without spot,” as stated the apostles Peter and Paul and the writer to the Hebrews (1 Peter 1:19, 1 Corinthians 5:7,Hebrews 9:14) Now we understand why John the Baptiser looked upon Christ and cried, “Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). He is our ultimate and final atonement.
Before Christ became our Passover, He finally instituted what He was preaching to the Jews in John 6: the breaking of bread which Paul called The Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:20. Let’s read what Paul had to say about the meaning of the Lord’s Supper:
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is [broken] for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
The Lord’s Supper is a memorial on the crucifixion of our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus. When we come together to break bread, we put our thoughts to the cross and remember the beatings Christ took for us, the whippings He received for us, the wounds and stripes He healed us with, the precious blood that was shed that became the cleansing for our sins. This is what it means to partake in the Lord’s Supper. But how often do we take of this, and why do some people call it communion?
The term “communion” comes from the Greek word koinōnia (pronunciation: koi-nō-nē’-ä) and it means fellowship, association, community, or joint participation. We can find the word used in 1 Corinthians 10:16. Different translations of the Bible like the NIV and ESV renders it “participation”, others “fellowship and sharing”, but the KJV, NJKV, ASV, and a few others uses the word “communion” (which is why most people call The Lord’s Supper as such). To answer the question “when do we take it”, we can find that answer in the books of Acts:
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 (Acts 20:7, KJV).
The early Church came together weekly on the first day of the week, which is Sunday, to fellowship in the breaking of bread, remembering the Lord’s crucifixion, to hear the Word, and to participate in other acts of worship. They came together on Sundays to worship instead of on Saturdays because Christ rose again on Sunday
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; 5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6 He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”8 And they remembered His words” (Luke 24:1-8).
He triumphed over death that day and gave life to those who believe in Him.
My dear readers, I encourage you to watch this video on the Lord’s Supper.