Friday, August 19, 2016


In Luke 22 and also 1 Corinthians 11, we read of Jesus’ commands that we observe the Lord’s Supper saying, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”

This is not the first time in the Bible that we are given a command to remember. You might recall when God instituted the Passover celebration among His people to remind them of how God brought them out of slavery in Egypt. God said of the Passover in Exodus 12:14, “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.” 

 Or maybe you’re familiar with the story of when God stopped the flow of the Jordan River allowing the Israelites to enter the Promised Land on dry ground. Do you remember how God commanded Joshua to have the people erect a memorial on the far bank? Joshua 4:6-7, “that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

I hear the same God speaking when Jesus says of the Lord’s supper, “Do this in remembrance of me.” God instituted the Passover Holiday as a memorial to remind them that God had brought them out of the land of slavery. He ordered that a pile of stones be set up on the far bank of the Jordan as a memorial- an enduring reminder- that God had brought them into the land of promise. Two memorials, one to remind God’s people that they had been brought out, and another to remind them that they had been brought in- both by a miraculous work of God. The Lord’s Supper combines these two thoughts in one- for through the broken body and the spilled blood of Jesus, represented by the bread and cup, we are reminded that we have been miraculously delivered out of slavery to sin and death and brought in to the promised Kingdom of Light.

Why does God repeatedly issue these commands for us to remember Him and the great deeds He has done? And I don’t ask why because I’m confused about why it is necessary --- that’s easy--- us humans are small, shabby, forgetful creatures who have a hard time seeing beyond the difficulties directly in front of us. As soon as the bear shows up in our lives it’s like all of us sheep suddenly have no memory of the shepherd. Our eyes focus on the bear, Our google searches are all bear-related, and because our minds are full of thoughts about the bear our minds are full of anxiety. If today somebody’s car breaks down or they get laid off or they feel a lump---it’s a new crisis--- and they seem to forget the God who brought them through crises in the past and who has promised them an eternity free of such worries. So in one sense that’s why the command to remember is given--- because it’s necessary--- we’re forgetful--- but maybe a more important question than why is the command necessary, is why does God care that we remember. Does He want us to obey His command to do this in remembrance of Him because that will be satisfying and rewarding to Him or does He give the command for our joy?

Scripture is clear that Jesus is God. It was through Him, we are told in the opening lines of John’s Gospel, that all things were made, and that he existed eternally, without beginning and without end. Before ever the earth was spoken into being He was. So according to the plain teaching of the Bible Jesus is God- he is the Creator. When we state that Jesus was/is God that should color the way we view the motive behind His commands. God is perfect and perfect in all of His ways. That means that Jesus is perfectly content, and all-sufficient within Himself. He wants for nothing. He needs nothing. And we, of course, have nothing to offer Him that would make Him more complete, or joy-filled or satisfied in Himself.

 If He was needy he would not be God

This is why Acts 17:24-25 says, 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,[a] 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.  This is why Jesus Himself says in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” So, Jesus, in coming to the earth as a savior had nothing to gain, because, as God, there was nothing he needed, nothing he lacked. He’s perfect! And perfectly content. So why did he come and allow his body to be  broken for us and his blood spilled out for us? If he was not motivated by some need in Him, than what did motivate Him? It was because of our desperate need and for our joy that he came. So when Jesus commands us to do this in remembrance of Him it is not self-serving in any way. He is not eager for us to keep this command so that he might become more complete or satisfied or joy-filled or because He would feel bad if He was forgotten. Jesus is not pathetic or lonely or weak or needy like that. He is God, the very opposite of those things. He is so full and so complete that he can never receive but only overflow as a blessing to us. So the command is given for our benefit and for our joy. He does not need to be remembered. It is us who need to remember. So the command was given for our good and for our joy.

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