Sunday, May 24, 2015

Remember Me

As Americans, we have Memorial Day to help us remember those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. As Christians, we have Communion to help us remember Jesus' sacrifice for our freedom. Memorial Day observances are often somber occasions because they are to honor those who have died in service to their country. Communion should be much more than a somber memorial for someone who has died. Recently, I have been reflecting on Jesus’ instructions when He instituted the Lord's Supper.

What it is, exactly, that we are to remember? Jesus said to “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19 NIV). He says “remember me.” He does not specifically say “remember the cross,” “remember my sacrifice,” or “remember my death.” He says to remember me. We are to remember Jesus. While remembering Jesus certainly includes remembering His sacrificial death for our sake, could there be more involved in the phrase “remember me” than just “remember my death”?

To remember Jesus, perhaps we should remember who He is:
  • The Lamb of God, who takes away our sins (John 1:29)
  • The Son of God and our Great High Priest (Heb 4:14)
  • The King of all Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 17:14; 19:16)
  • Immanuel –God with us (Matt 1:21-23)
  • The Ruler of all Creation (Rev 3:14)
  • The One who is worthy of all honor and glory and praise (Rev 5:12)
  • Our friend (John 15:13-15)
  • Our Great Shepherd (Heb 13:20)
  • The only way to the Father (John 14:6)
  • The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End (Rev 21:6)

And we should remember what He did:
  • He humbled Himself and became a human being, God in the flesh  (Phil 2:6-8)
  • He stood up against every temptation and never sinned (Heb 4:15)
  • He healed the blind, the lame, the diseased and afflicted, the deaf (Luke 7:22)
  • He raised the dead (John 11:43-44)
  • He walked on water (Matt 14:25)
  • He miraculously provided for people out of His compassion (Matt 15:32ff)
  • He reached out to sinners and loved them (Luke 5:31)
  • He enabled us to have peace with God and gave us access to God’s grace (Rom 5:1)
  • He showed us what love truly is by laying His life down for us (1 John 3:16)

Maybe we should remember what He said:
  • “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
  • “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” (John 14:23)
  • “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
  • “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:18-20)
  • “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” (Matt 5:11)
  • “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
  • “Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

These are just a few of the things I thought of that might be included in Jesus’ instructions to “remember me.” What did I leave off that you would have included in such a list? This is definitely a much bigger list than what we tend to focus on during Communion, but then we serve a big God whose love for us is beyond comprehension. As my good friend Brandon Bradley says, “God is bigger than you know and better than you heard, and His grace is more than you can imagine.” So next time you celebrate the Lord’s Supper with your church family, remember that, while Memorial Day is a memoriam for fallen heroes, Communion is a joyous celebration of thanksgiving, and an opportunity to remember, and to remind each other as members of the family of God, who it is that we love and worship and serve.