5.3.4.4 From Sabbath to Sunday

"For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath" (Matthew 12: 8)–these words of Jesus, which document His divine authority over the law, were also fulfilled in the changing of the day of the week that is hallowed by nearly all Christians: while the seventh day of the Jewish calendar–the Sabbath–is hallowed in Israel, Christians celebrate the Sunday. The reason for this is that, according to the unanimous testimony of the gospels, Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead on this day of the week (Matthew 28: 1; Mark 16: 2; Luke 24: 1; John 20: 1). For Christians, hallowing the Sunday is therefore also a profession of Jesus Christ's resurrection and a remembrance of Easter.

After Christ's ascension into heaven, the early Christians still held on to their Jewish traditions, which also included keeping the Sabbath day holy. This changed with the missionary work among the Gentiles. Over the course of several decades, the Sunday developed into the Christian holiday. The first references to the significance of the Sunday can be found in Acts 20: 7 and 1 Corinthians 16: 2.

In AD 321, Emperor Constantine I decreed Sunday to be a day of general rest in the Roman Empire. In Christian countries, this regulation has largely retained its validity up to the present.

See also