Memorials In The New Testament

There is a noteworthy memorial to a lady who anointed Jesus for His burial recorded in Matthew 26.

Matthew 26:6-12: ďAnd when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7: a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. 8: But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? 9: For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor." 10: But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 11: For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12: For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial."

This womanís love for the Lord was so great that she willingly gave what would have cost a common manís wages for a year. His disciples, and Judas in particular, thought the fragrant oil should have been sold and the money given to the poor.

The poor will always need help but only once in the world's history could the Savior be anointed for His burial. Her timing was perfect. She believed what the Lord said concerning His death, and she realized it was now or never. The women who went to anoint His body after He was buried were too late. He had already risen from the grave.

Jesus promised that her simple act of love would be a memorial forever. Matthew 26:13: "Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her." Her act of worship is still a memorial to her wherever the Gospel is preached.

In the book of Acts we see the conversion of a descendant of each of Noah's three sons and thereís also a memorial recorded to one of them.

From the line of Ham we have the Ethiopian eunuch in chapter 8. In chapter 9, a descendant of Shem, Saul of Tarsus. In chapter 10, one of Japheth's posterity, Cornelius, and there is also a memorial recorded to him.

Acts 10:1-4: There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2: A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 3: He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4: And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. 5: And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:Ē

While Cornelius was praying, he saw an angel in a vision who told him to send for a preacher named Peter, and he did.

Here was a man who lived up to the light that he had but that light couldnít save him. He was lost and admitted it and He wanted to worship the true God, and God will get the light of the gospel to such a person.

His prayers and alms could in no way merit salvation but they are things that God takes notice of. They had come up for a memorial before God, and God sent the gospel to him and he and his household all got saved.

When someone truly seeks God as Cornelius did, they are going to hear the gospel.

For our last memorial, letís look at Luke 22.

For centuries, the Jews had celebrated the Passover. It was a memorial of their deliverance from death through the blood of the sacrificial lamb. Jesus knew He was the true Passover Lamb whose blood would soon be shed for the salvation of all who would trust in Him and He wanted to celebrate this last Passover with His disciples.

Luke 22:13-17: ď.... And they made ready the passover. 14: And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15: And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17: And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:"

He knew He was about to be crucified and wouldnít keep the Passover again until He returned for His thousand year reign. The Passover meal itself ends with verse 18: "For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.Ē

Now in Luke 22:19-20 we have the first ďLord's Supper.Ē

The Lord's Supper immediately followed this Passover meal. Jesus instituted this sacred memorial so that believers down through the centuries would remember Him in His death.

Luke 22:19-20: ďAnd he took bread, and gave thanks, and break it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20: Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.Ē

Paul shed further light on the Lordís Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26: ďFor I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24: and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25: In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26: For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes."

When we look back, we can see itís a memorial to Jesus. The broken bread (Verse 24) reminds us of Christ's body, given for us; and the cup (verse 25) reminds us of His shed blood.

The bread and wine only represented His body and blood. His body had not yet been given nor His blood shed when He made those statements.

The New Covenant (verse 25) was ratified by the blood of Christ, and thatís why He speaks of the cup as being the New Covenant in His blood.

His death on the cross is the foundation of the New Covenant and the words ďtill He comesĒ connect the Lord's Supper with His two comings. Itís a memorial to His first coming and the promise of His return.

Unbelief has kept the nation of Israel from enjoying the New Covenant in His blood. The complete fulfillment of the New Covenant will take place during His millennial reign. However, any individual who does trust the Lord can receive itís benefits now.

At the present time, He wants us to remember the fact that He died. Itís an important part of the Gospel message. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4: and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.Ē

It isnít His life or His teachings that can save the sinner. Itís His death. Verse 3 stated that ďChrist died for our sins.Ē He paid the debt that we couldnít pay. Thatís why we remember His death. Thatís why the Lordís Supper is a memorial to His death.

He died by the hands of wicked men, and He showed His love by dying for them as well as for you and me. He bore the sins of the world in His Own sinless body on the tree.

Remembering Him doesnít mean to just remember the awful historical facts of His death. It means having true fellowship with a living Savior.

When I go to the cemetery and look at the memorial stones of my loved ones who have gone to be with the Lord, I look forward to a time when I can be with my Savior and with them too.

Paul wrote that we are to observe the Lordís Supper "till He comes" and the wonderful hope of the individual believer and the church is the return of Jesus Christ to meet us in the air.

In all the instruction concerning the Lord's Supper there isnít one word about a minister or priest officiating. It is a simple memorial service for all the people of God.

Jesus has asked the Christians to gather as believer-priests to remember His death until He comes and that He died to bring us eternal life.

Jesus not only died, He rose again and ascended to heaven and promises to come back for us.

1 John 3:2 ďwhen he shall appear,
we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.Ē

Do you know Him as your Savior?
Will you be among those He comes back for?
Decide today.
Tomorrow may be too late.

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