Devoted to Breaking Bread
If you were following me around like a scientist taking notes about my life in the church, sooner or later you would say that “the brothers got together on the first day of the week.” If it is “as often as they do this,” then guess what? Someday, some time, they’re going to break bread together on the first day of the week. In a time span of twenty years you are going to see that happen.
I personally have no problem with breaking bread on the first day of the week. I think that is a wonderful thing to think about Jesus being raised from the dead. But as a scientist and as a follower of Jesus, I would be dishonest if I tried to build a whole Christianity about something mentioned once in twenty years. It probably happened on the first day of the week more often than that, but twenty years later is the very first time Luke ever mentions it happening on that day. But they were “devoted to the breaking of bread.” And the Lord Himself taught, “As often as you do this, do it in my memory.”
So it is safe to say they broke bread much more often than once every twenty years. They were devoted to it, so they did it often. “As often as you do this, do this in my memory.” But if you are writing about my life, and only one time in twenty years do you describe breaking bread as happening on the first day of the week—in fact the first day of the week isn’t mentioned at all until that point—I would say that maybe my life shouldn’t center on a day that obviously their life did not center on.
We see one more important fact here in Acts 20. Actually there are many important facts, like a man being raised from the dead. But along the lines of what we have been speaking of, when did they actually break bread? They came together on Sunday, the first day of the week, to break bread. When does the passage say they finally did break bread? Maybe they didn’t break bread until verse 11, which is Monday. In verse 7 it is already after midnight, so by verse 11 it’s clearly Monday. That’s when it says they broke bread.
If you want to build a doctrine around a holy day and around breaking bread together on that holy day, you’d better hang together until after midnight and do it on Monday. There’s no evidence in this scripture that they did even break bread until after midnight, which would make it Monday. I find it dishonest as a disciple of Jesus and a scientist to build a whole doctrine of “the first day of the week” around something mentioned once in twenty years, and even then it happened on a Monday.
If I’ve been following you around with a video camera for twenty years and now photograph you throwing a ball on a Tuesday afternoon with your son, is it honest for someone to say, “Tuesday is the day you pass a ball with your son. See, here’s the picture! They did pass the ball on Tuesday.”