“This Do In Remembrance Of Me”

“… and when he had given thanks, he brake it and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24).

This excerpt from Paul’s account of the Lord’s institution of His memorial supper are familiar words to every Christian. The phrase is spoken almost each Lord’s Day and is permanently displayed on many tables from which the supper is served. These are significant words, deserving the attention Paul gave them in this chapter; equally deserving our personal reflection as we receive the bread and fruit of the vine each Lord’s Day.

Who is this One in whose memory this is to be done? To learn that, one only need to look at what Jesus said of Himself and to what His disciples wrote about Him. John, the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” wrote in his prologue to his gospel these words: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God … all things were made by him … and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us …” (Jn. 1:1, 3, 14). Paul wrote the Philippians, “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made I likeness as a man …” (Phil. 2:6-7). Peter confessed, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of God” (Mt. 16:16). This perception and affirmation of the identity of Jesus was the universal consent of all His disciples. The truth is, no one can be His disciple who does not share this same conviction (Acts 8:36-39).

What did this One do to be remembered? Again, the unanimous agreement of all New Testament writers is that He died upon the cross, experiencing shame, extreme pain, and abandonment by His apostles. His death was real, not merely something which appeared to be but was not. He “humbled himself becoming obedient unto death, yea the death of the cross …” (Phil. 2:8). Death is not, in itself, a unique event: “it is appointed unto man once to die …” and “in Adam all die” (Heb. 9:27; 1 Cor. 15:22). Not even was death by crucifixion a rarity. By the hand of the Romans, it occurred often in Jesus’ day, being a humiliating yet the most common means of execution of criminals. But although Jesus was executed as a criminal, He was never convicted of a crime, as Pilate frequently attested (Mt. 27:23; Jn. 19:6, 12). Jesus was charged with blasphemy because His nation perceived that He claimed to be God (Mt. 26:65). But if Jesus was who He claimed to be, He was not a blasphemer. His nation failed, as He said it had, to “convict him of sin” (John 8:46). What proofs were given to sustain His claims? Two major ones should be considered: His signs and His resurrection (Jn. 20:30-31; Rom. 1:1-4).

We should remember Him for why He did what He did. “Christ … died for our sins, according to the scriptures …” (1 Cor. 15:2). “Him who knew no sin, he made to be sin on our behalf …” (2 Cor. 5:21). “While we were weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). John introduced Jesus to his nation saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1:29). Paul wrote, “Our Passover also hath been sacrificed for us, even Christ” (1 Cor. 4:7).

We should remember the motive behind Jesus’ sacrifice: He loved us! “Greater love hath no man than this that that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoso believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

What a great contrast between the Passover lamb of Israel and the Passover Lamb of God! The animal was a hapless victim, without voice that he should be sacrifice for the one who offered it; the Lamb of God, freely, of His own will, gave Himself. “No man taken my life for me,” Jesus said, “I lay it down of myself.” In His words, “The son of man came not to be ministered to but to minister unto and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45).

Are not all these things sufficient, yea more than sufficient, for us to keep the feast in remembrance of Jesus?

Jim McDonald