Remembering Jesus

IT IS especially appropriate in partaking of the Memorial emblems and in our preparation for this holy “supper” to recall at what great cost redemption from sin and death was provided. Think of our Heavenly Father’s love in giving his only begotten Son to suffer and die! And think of what it cost Jesus in terms of mental suffering to be our Redeemer and the Redeemer of all mankind! To call to mind these examples of divine love and compassion for the sin-cursed race should beget in us a renewed determination to be faithful in carrying out the terms of our consecration to do God’s will.

While we can rejoice that Jesus’ personal suffering was completed on Calvary more than nineteen hundred years ago, the Memorial emblems will remind us that we have not yet completed our sacrifice, and that it is our privilege to fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ. (Col. 1:24) And to remember Jesus as our exemplar in faithfulness and in suffering should be a great incentive to us to continue following him. Paul wrote, “Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”—Heb. 12:3,4

Not having as yet resisted unto blood is a figurative way of saying that we have not yet fully given up our lives; have not yet been “faithful unto death,” as Jesus was. (Rev. 2:10) When we compare ourselves with Jesus we realize how little we have suffered, and are suffering. This is due in part to the changed attitude of the world toward those whose religious beliefs do not conform to those generally considered to be orthodox. There are still those, of course, who would inflict the death penalty on ‘heretics’ if civil governments would cooperate.

The Memorial season is an appropriate time to reexamine our own position. Are we facing up to our privileges of sacrifice as faithfully as we intended to do when we first entered the narrow way; or are we, unwittingly, perhaps, taking an easier way? As we consider Jesus at this Memorial time, we will all want to make sure that we are among those who continue voluntarily to keep our sacrifice on the altar, regardless of the cost in terms of inconvenience, weariness, misunderstanding, and even suffering, rather than to wait for circumstances to wrest from us that which we offered to the Lord at the time of our consecration.

These thoughts will naturally come to mind as we consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself. It is only those who endure unto the end who will receive the great salvation. “Ye have need of patience,” wrote Paul, “that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Heb. 10:36) James wrote, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation [testing]: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him.”—James 1:12

The Hebrew brethren, when they were first “illuminated,” “endured a great fight of afflictions,” but this was not enough. (Heb. 10:32) Our first-love zeal for the Lord and for his service should be continued day by day, year by year, even unto death. “Let us not be weary in well doing,” Paul wrote, “for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9) To consider Jesus, and the contradiction of sinners which he endured, should do much to prevent our becoming weary and fainting in our minds.

Those enlightened by present truth know that we are living at the end of the age, when the Master is again present as the chief reaper in the harvest work. We have even reached the closing years in the ending of the age. How many more years we will have the privilege of partaking of the Memorial emblems we do not know, but we are assured that the fruition of our hope is near. The consciousness of this should give added meaning to this year’s Memorial Supper, and cause us to redouble our efforts in the weeks and months ahead to consider him, and to be like him.

The blessed hope of again being in the actual presence of his Father was one of the joys set before Jesus which enabled him to endure the cross and despise the shame. Paul tells us that Jesus is now “set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2) Jesus promised, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”—Rev. 3:21

This, then, is one of the joys set before us, and what a powerful incentive to faithfulness it should be! And now that he who was to come has come, the time is very near—so very near—when we shall see his face. John wrote, “We shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:1-3) What a glorious morning of joy that will be in contrast with the present experience of suffering! When we have entered into his presence with joy, and are partaking of his cup with him in his kingdom, how light our present trials will seem as we look back upon them from that vantage point of glory!

As we contemplate the glory to follow the present privilege of suffering with Christ, we get an urge to pray for the Lord to hasten the time. Yet we know that he has his own due time, and that he knows best just what experiences we need; just what tests of patience and devotion are essential to prepare us to occupy the place prepared by Jesus, so we say to our aching, longing hearts, “Be calm, and sink into his will,” assured that the time appointed by divine wisdom is best.

In the latter part of the twenty-second psalm, the opening words of which Jesus uttered audibly while hanging on the cross, he is shown as exulting over the triumph of his Father’s cause, and foretelling that as a result of his sacrifice the time would come when all the ends of the earth would turn unto the Lord. (vss. 27,28) Under those trying circumstances Jesus’ thoughts were upon others. Even when he had been “brought unto the dust of death,” he rejoiced in the purpose of his suffering, rejoiced that all the families of the earth were to be blessed.—vs. 15

May it be so with us as again we commemorate Jesus’ death. May we remember, and be glad, that the great and ultimate purpose of that which we memorialize is the reconciling of the world to God, and let us rejoice that this purpose will be accomplished. This is God’s viewpoint, for he loved the world and gave his Son to be the Redeemer. Jesus also loved the world, and gave his life that the world might live. May the Memorial Supper this year help to fill our hearts with the same love, and with the desire to comfort all who mourn, and increase our longing for the time when we will have the glorious opportunity of association with Jesus in restoring all the willing and obedient to health and life, and of establishing global peace and happiness.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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