“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” -Luke 22:19
Last night our family had the Passover Seder (a shortened and modified version). It was a little late, but fit nicely with it being Good Friday and all. Before the meal, Beth was sharing with me why she enjoys having the Passover Seder even though we are not Jews. She shared that her favorite part about it is being able to look back and see all that God has been faithful to do. Passover is a time for Jews to remember the faithfulness and lovingkindness of God in delivering them from slavery in Egypt.
I remember a video we watched in one of my classes in High School about people who had completely lost their memory. It was really strange to see and consider. What would that be like? To completely lose one’s ability to remember all he or she had seen, smelled, tasted, touched, experienced!? I can’t help but think that we often take for granted our ability to look back and remember.
The topic of “remembrance” is covered a lot in the Bible. Specifically in the Old Testament, a simple word search of the word “remember” in your English Bible will turn up numerous occasions where God is remembering something or commanding His people to remember. Significant are the references towards remembering His promises and faithfulness. He Himself remembers His promises. He commands the people to remember His promises and how faithful He has been to them, and even at times had them set up memorials to help them remember. Sometimes, He scolds them when they forget to remember. But even when they do forget, He reminds them that He still remembers His promises and He still remains faithful. Remembering His past promises and faithfulness was intended to help them believe Him in the present and the future.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have a similar practice of remembrance, the ordinance of communion. When we practice communion, it is a time think back together and remember what Christ has done on the cross. The Bible teaches that, “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Cor. 15:3b-4a) In communion, we are reminded of Christ’s body broken and His blood shed on our behalf.
I remember when I first believed on Jesus Christ for my salvation. I had learned from my cousin of what Jesus had done on the cross for my sins. My reaction was one of disbelief. I think I said things like, “What about these things I have been involved in…?” Or “Well, you don’t really know about this area of my life. God can’t possibly love me.” I knew that I was a sinner. However, all of my protests were silenced by God’s mercy in that moment. My cousin shared how it was not about what I did or did not do, but about what Jesus Christ has done on my behalf. Though I had fought it with my mouth, “This can’t be so,” my soul yearned for grace; and in the moments that followed, I rested the whole weight of my soul’s salvation on the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Was I unworthy? Absolutely. But Jesus Christ was, is and will always be worthy. That was all that mattered.
Why do we take communion? To remember Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf. To remember his body broken for us. To remember His blood shed for us. To remember that in our worthlessness, Christ’s worthiness was enough. To remember that in our failures, His success on the cross was enough. To remember that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Communion reminds us all to ponder all that Christ has done for us in His grace and mercy, and it should thrust us into further dependance on Him.
There is a part in the Passover Seder where the ‘master’ of the house reads specific acts of what God had done, beginning with deliverance from Egypt and the others present participate by responding, “It would have been sufficient” concluding that his lovingkindness always went above and beyond.
When I think about all that was accomplished through Christ’s work on the cross and what He has given those who trust in Him, God’s grace has certainly gone above and beyond. For the believer in Jesus Christ, it might look something like this:
Praise God for the sacrifice of His Sons for our sins and eternal life in Him!
If He had given us eternal life, but had not given us Christ’s righteousness, it would have been sufficient.
If He had given us Christ’s righteousness, but not baptized us into His body, it would have been sufficient.
If He had baptized us into His body, but had not given us new life in Him, it would have been sufficient.
If He had given us new life in Him, but had not given us His Holy Spirit to live within, it would have been sufficient.
If He had given us His Holy Spirit to live within, but had not chosen to conform us to the image of His Son, it would have been sufficient.
If He had chosen to conform us to the image of the Son, but had not made us co-heirs with Him, it would have been sufficient.
If He would have made us co-heirs with Him, but had not blessed us with every other spiritual blessing, it would have been sufficient.
If He had blessed us with every spiritual blessing, but had not promised to come back for us, it would have been sufficient.
If He had promised to come back for us, but had not promised that we would be glorified with Him, it would have been sufficient.
If He had promised that we would be glorified with Him, but that we would not eternally display His lovingkindness, it would have been sufficient.
Praise God for His grace and mercy, providing for our past, present and future through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior!
I love communion because as I continue to grasp the depths of all that I do not deserve, it reminds me of all that He gave for us. As I consider my own depravity, it reminds me that it is met by Christ’s sufficiency. The focus becomes less on myself and my own shortcomings, and more on Christ and His perfections. Remembering all that He has done for us in the past and His promises for the future helps me depend on Him more deeply in the present.
He paid the penalty, I sing!
On my behalf my sins He bore.
“It is finished,” cried the Savior-King;
Holding my soul forever more.
Was all at the cross where His blood was shed;
Where He died, was buried and rose.
By His grace, made alive, We all who confide,
In His love (How it lavishly flows).
Declared right with Him having dealt with our Sin;
We find rest and in Him, security.
Bought with His blood, we, the object His love;
And in Him we are sealed for eternity.
Can’t wait for the day to stand face to face;
And cry at His feet within.
What a day it will be to be held, indeed
By those hands that had bore my sin!
Happy Easter, Everyone!
Eleanor Bruce says
Somehow I missed this before. Really encouraging writeup.