Sermons

Summary: When Jesus said "remember me" what did he have in mind?

20000420p Matthew 26.17-30 - What Jesus Wanted Us to Remember

• Remembering and forgetting is a fine art. An experienced husband is one who remembers his wife’s birthday but forgets which one it is. Things we want/need to forget; remember.

• We’re all in danger of “forgetting” even the things we remember: War Memorials, etc. / Forget, remember roots. / Berlin

• Throughout scripture:

Noah, rainbow. / Abraham, circumcision.

Stones in the Jordan, Joshua 4. … And what would it be with Jesus???

• Jesus did not want us, first, to remember the sermon on the mount (greatest moral ever).

• He did not want us, first, to remember the signs and wonders (they pointed to him).

• He wouldn’t even tell them after the resurrection to remember, first, the empty tomb.

• The first thing he wanted us to remember had to do with why they were gathered …

The Passover helped people remember God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt. The heart of that celebration was in selecting a perfect lamb, one without defect, and slaughtering it at twilight on the fourteenth day of Nisan, 3-6pm. After collecting the blood, the people used a bunch of hyssop to sprinkle the blood to the top and sides of the doorframes. Then they stayed inside and ate the roasted lamb along with bitter herbs. They were remembering the night the Lord went through the land of Egypt and struck down every firstborn. But passed over the houses with doors sprinkled in blood.

Besides lamb and herbs, unleavened bread at the Passover meal reminded them how suddenly the Lord had rescued his people. It happened so quickly there was no time for bread to rise (Exodus 12:11-34). So the bread represented “redemption” from Egypt.

Now Jesus says that this bread is his body. He is connecting true redemption with him-self. He is offering redemption greater than redemption from Egypt. He is offering re-demption not from Egypt or Rome but from sin. That redemption is here, now, and he is offering it in his body.

Passover celebrations involved drinking four cups of wine. It’s from Exodus 6:6-7. There we read, "I am the Lord,’" and then we read the first blessing, "’and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. . .’" The second blessing was, "’I will free you from being slaves to them. . .’" The third blessing was "’I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with acts of judgment.’" That third cup, the cup of redemption, is the cup in the Lord’s Supper that Jesus Christ blessed and gave to his disciples. The fourth blessing was, "’..[you will be (totally) my] own people and I will be (totally) your God.’" About that fourth cup Jesus said, "I will not drink of it until I drink it anew in the kingdom," meaning when he comes again. When Christ comes again, the fourth bless-ing of having God fully with us will be realized.

Jesus did a strange thing during that Passover. He adds to the meal in a way that makes himself the center of it. In the case of both the bread and the cup, Jesus, "takes" it, "gives" it to the disciples, tells them to partake and defines the thing as representing himself - his body and blood. It was turning out to be unlike any Passover these men have ever experienced.

After calling the bread his body which would be broken for them, Jesus said, “this is my blood of the covenant,” an allusion to Ex 24:4-8, where the covenant between Yahweh and Israel is concluded with the offering of sacrifice.

"Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people." He told people that they should obey God and keep the terms of the covenant. What did the people say? "They responded, ’We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.’ Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, ’This is the blood of the cove-nant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.’"

• He wanted us to remember the cross, death, blood! And we need to think about why.

Because we say, remember the good times! Don’t remember the death, remember the person as you knew him/her. How different is Jesus’ wish for us to remember him: this is my body broken for you .. this is my blood of the covenant!

When you really think about it, it is an ugly thing to remember. Someone was complain-ing about how ugly this cross is. And I can sympathize. It’s not what we’re accustomed to. But do you realize that the symbols we put on steeples and church walls are nothing like the thing they are supposed to represent? They’re sanitized! Ornate, clean-cut pol-ished brass or wood?!?

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