In Remembrance of Me – Cody Westbrook

In Remembrance of Me – Cody Westbrook

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands as one of the most revered places in the United States. It was instituted by the United States Government in 1921 as a symbolic place of burial for those who gave the ultimate wartime sacrifice for the cause of freedom–their lives and their identities. Thousands of Americans visit the Tomb every year to memorialize and show their respect to those who gave all to preserve our way of life.

As important as The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is to those who love our country, it pales in comparison to the memorial which Christians observe weekly, The Lord’s Supper. Jesus instituted it the night before His death and declared, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). As we assemble each Lord’s Day to observe this memorial, it is important that we examine ourselves and partake in a manner that is worthy (1 Cor. 11:17ff). Our minds should go back to the Cross to remember the ultimate sacrifice made there on our behalf. Jesus said “remember me,” but what things should we remember?

We should remember the suffering of Jesus. The Cross was the Roman instrument of death and it forever stands as a symbol of shame and suffering. In fact the idea of crucifixion was so abhorrent to the ancient world that it was seldom spoken of. It was “foolishness” to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews (1 Cor. 1:18-23), and yet Christ took it upon Himself and endured it willingly on our behalf (Phil. 2:8; 1 Pet. 2:21). Isaiah foresaw the suffering of Jesus on the Cross when he wrote, “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” (Isa. 52:14). The physical abuse He would suffer would be so great that those who passed by would look upon Him and wonder, “Can this be human?” He would be “wounded” and “bruised” (Isa. 53:5). David would describe Him as being surrounded by dogs. His strength dried up, His hands and feet pierced, and His bones exposed (Ps. 22). These prophetic portraits foreshadow His flesh being ripped from His body by scourging, the bruises on His face from the slaps of the soldiers, the humiliation of thorns being smashed into His head, and the screams of agony as spikes were hammered through His hands and feet. As Peter said, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18).

We should remember the grace of God. God’s grace is “exceedingly abundant” in Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 1:14). His grace is “given to us” and has appeared to all in Christ (2 Tim. 1:8-10; Tit. 2:11-14). Paul said that we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24) and thus we have access to God and rejoice in the hope of His glory, through His grace (Rom. 5:1-2). Simply defined, grace is a gift. Those who sin are dead (Rom. 6:23) and dead people do not possess the ability to restore their own life. They are completely dependent upon God to bestow such a blessing (Eph. 2:1-3). God’s willingness to provide life to the dead, not because of their deservedness, but because of His love and desire to save, is His grace. Ephesians 2:4-5 captures the beauty of the thought perfectly, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” God’s grace is revealed in its fullest form in Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross for our sins (John 1:16-17).

We should remember the wisdom of God. The cross was the result of God’s wisdom (1 Cor. 2:6-8). The idea of a crucified Messiah and King was unthinkable to those in the ancient world but God has made foolish the wisdom of the world (1 Cor. 1:20-25). From eternity Jehovah had a plan for man’s redemption (Eph. 3:9-11). He knew that sin and death would enter the world (Rom. 5:12) and that blood was the only means of atonement (Heb. 9:22). In previous dispensations, the blood of a lamb was required (Lev. 17:11) but now, and forever, the only permanent solution for sin is the blood of THE Lamb (Heb. 10:3-4; John 1:29). Thus Peter could proclaim, “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death” (Acts 2:23). The Cross was no accident. It was foreordained (1 Pet. 1:18-20) because God, in His infinite wisdom, knew it was necessary. “Known to God from eternity are all His works” (Acts 15:8). Thus Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).

We should remember the love of God. Without the love of God the cross is impossible. “God demonstrates His own love toward us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). John wrote “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” (John 3:16) and “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”
(1 John 4:10). God’s love is on vivid display in the Cross of Jesus, but so too is the love of Jesus, Himself! Christ has “loved us and given Himself for us” (Eph. 5:2). He “laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16) and no greater love could ever be shown (John 15:13).

A memorial is designed to prevent people from forgetting. Thus the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper is designed to keep the sacrifice of Jesus, all that it entailed, all that it accomplished, and all that made it possible, at the forefront of our minds. “This do in remembrance of me.”