by Terry Wane Benton
Some people meet with the church on “Easter Sunday” and hardly ever anytime else. That is out of tradition, not out of thinking seriously about doing the will of God. Tradition has been in the family to at least go to church one time a year, maybe two. But what about the next Sunday? Easter is not biblical in name and meeting on that one Sunday is not biblical. Tradition makes it try to coincide with that time of year Jesus was raised from the dead, but the apostles of Jesus taught and practiced an every-Sunday-meeting manner of faith-life.
The time of Jesus’ death was during the Jewish Passover, which was followed by a week of “Days of Unleavened Bread” (See Exodus 12). That was a yearly celebration of the Jew’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage by breaking Pharoah’s will to keep his hold on the Israelites. The death of his firstborn broke him after nine other plagues had only hardened him. The death plague “passed over” the Israelites who had the blood of the lamb on their house door facings but killed the firstborn of all Egyptians because they did not have the blood of the lamb on their door facings. The Israelites removed all leaven from their houses as a symbol of leaving the sinful influences of that idol-ridden territory. So, the deliverance from Egypt was a remarkable deliverance that typified and foreshadowed the greater deliverance from sin that we would have in the coming Messiah. Jesus is our Passover (I Corinthians 5:7) Lamb of God who delivers us from bondage to sin and condemnation, and His resurrection on that Sunday morning confirms that He has power over death. Having power over death, His blood has power over sin and Satan’s power to hold us in bondage to sin and condemnation, delivers us from fear of death, and from the power of sin to hold us under condemnation. Indeed, we have the greater deliverance available to us in Christ.
But did you know that the early disciples did not celebrate this deliverance yearly but weekly? Pentecost was fifty days after Passover, and the church formed and took the breaking of bread of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42). Pentecost fell on Sunday, but it was over a month after Passover (what people call “Easter” today). They not only were meeting together over a month after Passover, but they were doing this “continually” and “steadfastly” (Acts 2:42). In Acts 20:6 we see Paul “after the Days of Unleavened Bread” (which was part of the yearly “Passover” week) meeting with the brethren at Troas. “On the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7) declares the Christians were meeting each week even after the Passover week. You should notice that the disciples of Jesus did not merely meet on the Sunday of Passover week, but every week. They did not have a yearly tradition, but a weekly practice. They took the bread of the Lord’s supper every first day of the week. So, what about the next Sunday? They were doing the will of God in their practice of the weekly meeting for the Lord’s Supper. They did not mimic the Jews’ yearly Passover feast. They celebrated each week the memorial of the greater work of Jesus.
What will you be doing the next Sunday and next? A tradition of men or the will of God?