September 18

Text: Matthew 26:26-29

And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.  But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."   (NASB)

We are big on memorials and symbols—we have monuments, statues, engagement and wedding rings, etc.  Such things remind us of important events.  If we visit a country for a recreational tour, the chances are good that our tour guide will take us to several monuments and explain the significance of each monument.  The primary importance of a monument or a symbol is provided by memory: “Do not ever, ever forget the importance to you of this event or this sacrifice!  Whether you realize or not, you are you with your opportunities because this event occurred or these sacrifices were made.”

God also is big on monuments and symbols.  Consider things like the burning bush in Exodus 3:2-4; Moses’ staff in Exodus 4:2-4;  the annual Passover meal of Israelites in Exodus 12:24-27; the laws concerning altars in Exodus 20:22-26; the tabernacle in Exodus 40:34-38; the rocks in Joshua 4:5-7; the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14; etc.

When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he continued a long practice that was common among God’s people.  Jesus symbolized a happening that memorialized an event.  The event declared God honored an ancient promise.  Every Christian is constantly reminded that through God’s sacrifice we are who we are and we have our most valuable opportunities. Literally, we are because of what God did in Jesus.

However, symbolic memorials become meaningless habits when the person or people forget the meaning of what was done.  Note that Jesus’ focus is on “what” and not “how”.  Also note:

1.      This is a memorial within a memorial.

2.      It was part of a meal that used the food and drink of the other memorial.

3.      It took place at night.

4.      The day likely was not a Sunday.

Jesus gave great emphasis to the meaning.  He gave little emphasis to procedure.

Suggestion for reflection: How do you remember in communion?  (Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.)

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