First Day People

First Day People

In Acts 20, we get to see what a worship gathering looks like to some of the first Christians. Paul is in the city of Troas, and before moving onto his next destination, chooses to gather with the worshiping church on the first day of the week. Luke tells us immediately what the ultimate purpose of this gathering is: the breaking of bread. Paul intends to preach and discuss, but these are not the main event – the table is. The body and blood of Christ are at the center of everything the Church says and does.

Paul plans to move on from Troas first thing in the morning, and he’s got a lot he’d like to teach, as well as the church having a lot they want to contribute to the discussion. So he sets out to teach and converse all the way until midnight. But let’s not assume that Paul’s teaching is exciting and engaging to all people all the time. Paul experiences something every preacher and teacher knows; someone falls asleep. His name is Eutychus. But the story quickly moves from humor to tragedy when Eutychus, sitting in a window on the third floor of the house, slumbers a bit too deeply and falls to the ground below, dying immediately. However, when Paul makes his way down to Eutychus, he says, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” With these words, Eutychus is alive, to the great comfort of everyone present. (If we’ve been reading Luke’s whole story from the birth of Jesus to now, something in us knew this resurrection would happen. Resurrection becomes the norm in the story of Jesus and his Church.)

It’s now that Paul and the house church decide to break bread. Even though it’s been their primary objective the whole time, they waited until now to actually do it. It’s as if they have an intuition that the moment for the Lord’s Supper will reveal itself in due time, and now is the moment for the Supper because Jesus designed the Supper to go hand in hand with resurrection. In Luke 24, the resurrected Jesus meets two wandering disciples on their way home, teaching them along the way. They finally get to the house and Jesus brings them around the table to break bread. Now, up to this point, these two disciples have had no idea that it’s in fact been Jesus they were talking to (“Their eyes were kept from recognizing him,” Luke tells us; their hearts and minds haven’t yet caught up with the new resurrection reality in which Jesus now resides). But it’s in the moment of breaking bread that their “eyes were opened.” They now recognize Jesus, and it’s the bread that makes it happen.

But that’s not all. Luke tells us, both in Luke 24 and Acts 20, that these resurrections happen on “the first day of the week,” as if to say that time itself has rolled over. Time itself is a new thing. We belong to a new age, one ruled not by death but by life. The simple act of gathering to worship and break bread every week’s first day is to proclaim that we live in a reality first and foremost defined by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s not an accident that, in Luke 24 and Acts 20, the first day of the week, resurrection, and the Lord’s Supper are all happening at the same time. We are first day people, and our weekly first day practice of breaking bread is our way of entering here and now into God’s new age of eternal life.

-Mason Puckett



Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *