During the last meal Jesus ate with His disciples before the crucifixion, He broke some bread, gave it to the disciples and said, “do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24) After supper Jesus passed a cup around and said, “drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:25)
Through the centuries, the church has kept this memorial. But what is it that Jesus wants us to remember? “Ah,” you say. “Isn’t it obvious? Jesus wants us to remember the sacrifice He made for us. He wants us to remember the covenant we’ve entered into with Him.”
All that is very true, but the Gospel accounts imply that there is something more we should remember as well. Matthew writes, “Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”” (Matthew 26:27-29 NIV)
From this we learn that Jesus was not only going to establish a new covenant between us and God by sacrificing Himself, He also promised to drink the fruit of the vine with the disciples again. This is a clear indication that Jesus’ sacrifice was not the end. Though He would die, He would not stay dead. He would rise again.
Why is it important to remember that Jesus not only died, but rose again? There are many reasons why it’s important. However, I will just mention one. Peter writes, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,” (1 Peter 3:18 NIV)
It was God’s Spirit which raised Christ from the dead. Scripture tells us that if we are in Christ, that same Spirit also lives in us. Yet we so often forget! Writing to the Ephesians, Paul says, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,” (Ephesians 1:17-20 NIV)
This paragraph reminds us of the role the Spirit plays in our lives.
The Spirit makes us wise: Do we lack wisdom and understanding? We need to remember that, in Christ, we have the Spirit of wisdom living within us.
The Spirit gives us hope: Are we discouraged or in despair? We need to remember the Spirit within us who gives us hope.
The Spirit gives us power: Are we weak and unable to bear up under the struggles and cares of life? We need to remember that the same mighty power which raised Jesus from the dead is also available to us through the Spirit.
The Spirit gives us strength: Are you on the verge of being overwhelmed or overcome by forces to great to resist? You need to remember that, “…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NIV)
We’re here to remember Jesus – just as He asked us to do. As we eat the bread and drink the cup, let’s remember that the same Spirit which raised Him from the dead lives in us also.