Tomorrow, Monday, May 26, 2014, our country celebrates Memorial Day. History does not give us a clear picture of when or where our country first celebrated Memorial Day, but most agree it was soon after the American Civil War. It was a way for our nation to remember those who died on both sides of the conflict. At first various places selected their own date to remember the fallen, but overtime the federal government and states agreed on one date.
Our country has fought in many wars and we have lost countless men and women in battle. Every one of them deserves our thanks and honor for the job they did. They are worthy of a special day, a day we reflect on their sacrifices and service. However, remembering just one day a year is not enough for what they did for us. We should give thanks every day for our men and women who serve or have served.
While tomorrow Americans celebrate Memorial Day, today Christians remember the greatest act of love, courage, and sacrifice ever made for us. (John 15:13) Just before His death, Jesus set up the Lord’s Supper to remind His disciples of what He did for them. This Supper comprises two parts; the unleavened bread reminding us of His broken body and the fruit of the vine reminding us of His shed blood. (Luke 22:19-20)
When eating the Lord’s Supper we should carefully reflect on what Jesus did for us, and we should rejoice knowing His love and sacrifice saves us. I believe this is the point of Paul’s words when he said “let a man examine himself” as he eats and drinks. (1 Cor. 11:28) This has us thinking back on all that Christ did for us, thus it is a sober event. It also has us thinking about how He benefited us, thus a time to celebrate.
Let’s look more closely at the life of Jesus, and why He so deserves our honor and thoughts. Think about it for a moment, everything, including you and me, comes from the Lord’s wisdom and power. (Jer. 10:12) I would not be writing this article and you would not be reading it if not for Christ. He made us with intelligence and the power to choose, but we chose poorly when we sinned. (Rom. 3:23)
God the Son allowed Himself to take on man’s body, and He knew it was a body prepared for sacrifice. (Phil. 2:5-8) However, before He could offer Himself Jesus had to live and experience life. Christ had to face what we face, Satan tempted Him, and He had His loyalty to the Father tested. He was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15)
The Lord also suffered much in this life, and it is not like He had it easier than others. (Luke 24:25-26) Sadly, most of His suffering came at the hands of His greatest Creation, man. People mocked Him, lied about Him, and He was abandon by so many who should have known better. (John 15:18-25)
Not only did Jesus know He came to die, He even knew how He would die. (Luke 18:32-33) The Jews wanted Jesus dead early in His ministry, and the Gentile puppets of Rome had no backbone to save an innocent Christ. It would not be an easy and quick death; no, He would suffer hours of torture at the hands of His enemies. When you consider all the Lord did for us, there is no doubt He is worthy of all honor we can give Him. It is a story no Christian should ever forget.
The Lord’s death does not end the story, because if it did then all of God’s promises would be lies. Jesus said His coming forth from the grave would serve as proof to His claims and promises. (Matt. 12:39-41) If you want to know for sure He is God the Son, then look to that Sunday when He was gone from the grave. (Acts 2:27-31) If you wonder about eternal life or a final day when the dead shall rise then look to Him. (1 Cor. 15:13-18) So we do not just remember the Lord’s death, but the events that followed.
The reason any of matters is that we can benefit by what He did. I want to remember because Christ is the greatest show of God’s love for me. (1 John 4:9-10) When the Lord forgives my sins, my hope goes beyond this life. (Titus 2:11-14) The promise of heaven and eternal life are mine if I serve Christ faithfully. (Rev. 2:10)
While we wait for the life to come and the blessings of heaven, Christians get much from this life right now. The Bible teaches us how to live peacefully with others and what to do when there is conflict. (Rom. 12:17-21) It tells us how to love one another and to forgive each other. God tells us how to be the best husbands or wives, and best parents or children. (Eph. 5 & 6) We learn what it means to be good citizens, employees, or employers. (Rom. 13 & Eph. 6) By listening to God we give ourselves the greatest chance to have a good life. (1 Peter 3:10)
We also enjoy the benefits an extended family, one that supports and encourages us to live a faithful Christian life. (Eph. 4:11-16) The local church is where we become members and it is the group of Christians we are most familiar with. Most Sundays we gather these people to take part in the Lord’s Supper and to remember the Lord’s death. Our local brothers and sisters are the ones who weep when we weep and rejoice when we rejoice. (Rom. 12:15) They watch out for our souls and try to gently bring us back when fall. (Heb. 13:17)
Our extended family goes way beyond the local church to include Christians everywhere. When we travel we know faithful brothers and sisters long to see us. There is a support group anywhere and everywhere we find a church serving the Lord. Yes, today is Sunday and we at Grissom Road have come together to take part in the Lord’s Supper. All faithful churches are doing the same this morning and remembering the greatest sacrifice every made for man.