"What Should We Remember?"
1 Cor. 11:23-28
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
Often we are admonished by the words, do this in remembrance of me. These words commonly adorn the face of communion tables such as ours. What do the words mean? What are they telling us to do? The words do this refer to eating the bread and drinking the wine of communion. This seems to be the almost universally understood and accepted meaning of that portion of the admonition.
But we appear to be a bit more vague as to what is meant by the rest of the sentence. We find more variety of opinion when it comes to the words in remembrance of me. Some appear to think of them as a sad reminder of Good Friday. They are accompanied by a sense of grief over the death of Christ.
Some view them as a form of repetitiously dragging up the past. There is remorse for past sins; regret for a former way of life.
But I don’t think Jesus intends us to mourn once a month. That doesn’t seem in keeping with the tone and tenor of everything else God does in the Bible.
Hebrews says the role of Old Testament sacrifices was to remind us of sins committed. (10:3) It doesn’t seem right that God would replace the Old Testament animal sacrifices with the offering of His
Son on the cross, if they both had the same effect. But Jesus’ sacrifice is more than a reminder of our propensity to sin. It is the means God utilizes to wash our sins away.
I believe communion is intended to do more than remind us of Jesus’ crucifixion and the former guilt of our past sins. I have pulled four things from this text I believe we are to recall in communion.
Jesus On the Cross.
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death
Not morbidly or mournfully, but sacrificially and redemptively. He didn’t die on the cross to make us feel bad about it from now on. He took our place on the cross to do something for us we are incapable of doing for ourselves.
He doesn’t want you to look at this loaf and cup like someone placing flowers on a grave. It’s true the emblems are reminders, but let them remind us of how willing God is to wipe our slate clean. May they speak to you of His love and His desire to forgive rather than punish. I hope communion speaks to you of the price God paid to prove His love for you.
Most protestant believers do not own or fully appreciate the crucifix. For us it represents only a fraction of the story of God’s salvation in Christ. Yes, Jesus died for our sins, but He also rose from the dead and ever lives to make intercession for us now in heaven. (Heb. 7:25) For us Jesus on the cross represents the grace of God. For us the cross is empty because it was a momentary suffering for our eternal good.