The evening before the cross, Jesus gathered his disciples in an upper room for a final conversation with them. In the course of that discussion, he instituted a memorial that was to be observed throughout the ages. "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:19-20) This memorial could have been more complicated, but it could not have been more meaningful. He left a superbly simple memorial that can be observed almost anywhere. It would be a reminder of the most wonderful display of love the world has ever seen.
Why do we still partake of the Lamb's memorial nearly two thousand years later? We do so in order to honor him by fulfilling his wishes to be remembered in this manner. Let us notice Jesus' instructions concerning this wonderful feast.
First, Jesus said, "THIS do in remembrance of me." He took unleavened bread and fruit of the vine and distributed them to his disciples, telling them to do "this" in his memory. The unleavened bread represented "my body which is given for you" and the fruit of the vine represented "my blood, which is shed for you." To use anything other than these two items would not be doing "this."
Secondly, Jesus said, "This DO in remembrance of me." This is a command, not a suggestion. The early church refused to neglect this. They regularly gathered on the first day of the week "to break bread." (Acts 20:7) They did this with the obvious approval of the inspired apostle Paul. It was done the first day of every week, not just monthly, quarterly, or annually. The human mind has a strong tendency to be forgetful. We need regular reminders of even the most important events. This is also a way we show our fellowship with other Christians of all ages and locations. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread." (1 Corinthians 10:16-17) Each Sunday Christians around this world observe the same memorial in the same way to remember the same event. It is one of the things that binds us together in Christ.
Thirdly, Jesus said, "This do in REMEMBRANCE of me." Jesus took unleavened bread and fruit of the vine and constructed a memorial that will last as long as the world does. As we partake, we mentally look back through the ages to a hilltop outside of Jerusalem where the Son of God shed his blood for our sins. Let us never be guilty of neglecting or desecrating this precious memorial. Christ's death provides the atonement and forgiveness of our sins. Surely, it deserves to be remembered.
Finally, Jesus said, "This do in remembrance of ME." Remember Christ. Remember the love shown. He is the focus of our attention during this observance. We bring our minds from less important things and center them on Him as we "show the Lord's death until he come." (1 Corinthians 11:26)
The Lamb's memorial is one way in which we express our gratitude for his death and our confidence in his return. May we never allow this memorial to lose its true significance. -2863 East High St., Springfield, OH 45505
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