Our chapter in Luke goes into detail about the final days of the mortal life of our Lord: it is Passover time, the most significant time of the year for the Jews (at the moment – at the end of September – it is their ‘Feast of Tabernacles’). At Passover time, we read that first “came the day of unleavened bread” [ch.22 v.7] “And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him.”[v.14] First they “took bread” [v.19] and Jesus said “This is my body … Do this in remembrance of me.” After that “the cup … saying, “This … is the new covenant in my blood.” [v.20]
It was not until after the resurrection that they realize what all this means – that the old covenant of keeping the law of Moses and the old passover is now replaced by the “new covenant” established by their Lord’s death on the cross. This was not to be done just once a year – at the annual passover time – the time when the Jews commemorated their deliverance from Egypt. It was to be done “as often as” they met together. [1 Cor. 11 v.26] They must not neglect to do this (see Heb. 10 v.25) It soon became their practice to do so “On the first day of every week” [1 Cor. 16 v.2; cf 1 Cor. 16 v.2] doing it, as Jesus said, “in remembrance of me.” [1 Cor. 11 v.24,25]
But there was no command as to which day – and although we ourselves usually do it on the Sunday, it does not have to be on that day. Actually the Jews begin their days at sundown and the events recorded in Acts 20 v.7 about meeting “on the first day of the week” was an occasion “when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.” This appears to indicate that they broke bread on what we would call Saturday evening.
We ourselves have met for the ‘memorial’ meeting on a Saturday in Nepal because that is their ‘day of rest’ – and in Bangladesh on a Friday – for the same reason. The actual “day’ is not the vital thing, the sharing of fellowship in ‘the New Covenant” is the vital thing! Finally, let us remember how Jesus told his disciples “I tell you I will not eat it (again) until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”[Luke 22 v.16] And how soon and how wonderful, surpassing all our abilities of imagination, will that be!