On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.Acts 20:7(NASB)
The life and times of the apostle Paul were fraught with difficulties and dangers and in this short segment, on his third missionary journey, we read of a meeting that took place on the first day of the week, when the followers of Christ had gathered together to break bread. On this particular day, Paul ministered to this little assembly of Christians - indeed his extended message to them continued until midnight!
We discover that Paul had been forced to change his travel plans because of an evil Jewish plot to murder him. He had hoped to be in Jerusalem during the feast of Passover, which was the anniversary of Christ's crucifixion and glorious resurrection, but this murderous plot delayed his journey. No doubt Paul was keen to break bread in the city where Christ had instituted the first, beautiful, fellowship meal, on the anniversary of His crucifixion and passion. No doubt he was keen to meet with the Lord's other beloved apostles and Christ's other followers at Passover - in the city of David - in order to celebrate His glorious resurrection from the dead, on that first day of the week.
However, the wicked plot to assassinate him caused Paul to alter his arrangements and delay his trip by almost six months. However, it did not prevent the apostle from celebrating the good news of the risen, ascended and glorified Christ, on the first day of the week, in the city of Troas, where he joined in a communal meal with other brothers and sisters in Christ. No doubt, on that first day of the week, they rejoiced to have Paul in their midst and doubtless listened intently to his message and ministry, until the hour of midnight.
This Scripture is one of the clearest verses to indicate that Sunday was the day that the early church chose to meet together to celebrate their risen, ascended, glorified Saviour, and to break bread together, as the Lord Jesus instructs us all to do. Indeed, we note here that the early apostolic church had already adopted the Roman method of time-keeping, which runs from midnight to midnight, instead of the former, Jewish way.
We read in the previous verses that Paul and his companions had sailed from, "Philippi, after the days of Unleavened Bread, and arrived at Troas within five days - and they stayed there for seven days." It seems that they must have arrived in Troas some time on the second day of the week, but waited a whole week so that they could participate in the breaking of bread the next Sunday.
From this account, it appears that meeting together on the first day of the week to break bread together, was a very important time of Christian fellowship, as together with Paul the people of Troas celebrated the breaking of bread, on the first day of the week. Indeed, there does not seem to be any other reason for Paul and his co-labourers to tarry seven days in the city... other than to enjoy fellowship with them on Sunday, as they broke bread together in remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is obvious from this passage that Paul and these early Church-age believers considered the breaking of bread on that first day of the week, a vital part of their Christian fellowship and witness. Indeed, the same should be increasingly true today, as the days in which we live grow darker.
May our own Christian communion become increasingly important to each one of us, and may we place as much significance and emphasis on fellowshipping together with our own brothers and sisters in Christ - as did Paul and the believers in Troas.
May we too join together on the first day of the week - in the breaking of bread, as we hold in eternal remembrance the enormous sacrifice of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ - and may the Lord Jesus be worshipped and glorified on every day of the week, for this should be our continuous sacrifice of praise.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this beautiful example of Your servants in the early Church, striving to meet together to remember Christ's death, passion, and glorious resurrection, despite the many difficulties and dangers they had to face. May we not neglect any opportunity to meet together on that first day of the week, nor miss any other opportunity, throughout the week, to worship Your holy name with our fellow believers. And may we all value the times we spend in breaking bread together in remembrance of Christ's sacrificial death, His glorious resurrection, and His ongoing ministry of mediation at Your right hand. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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