For or in Remembrance of Me

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Of the three evangelists who narrate the institution of the supper of the Lord, only one records the words of the departing Redeemer with regard to the object of that feast. Luke it is, who, after writing “This is My body which is given for you “, adds the further words “This do in remembrance of Me “, thereby imparting a holy and solemn character to that which otherwise might possibly appear so trivial in their eyes as to be despised.
That this phrase should only appear in the third Gospel is but one of the numerous illustrations of the symmetry and true “harmony” of these inspired memoirs of our Lord. For in Luke His divine humanity is portrayed in all its matchless fullness and perfection, unexampled as it was and is in the eyes of God as well as men. In this Gospel only, therefore, the Spirit of God with unerring consistency gives the sentence before us. Amid the most affecting circumstances, He is shown as the lowly Man, Jesus of Nazareth, appealing to the love and loyalty of those who had continued with Him in His temptations. As the lonely and despised One, as the One Who had wept over the blind forgetfulness and ignorance of Jerusalem, the favored city of God, He expresses this desire to His own, “This do in remembrance of Me.” May not we who know Him ask ourselves, Which of us could resist such an appeal from such an One?
Yet it should be remembered that not only as the humbled Man, but also as the glorified Man, not only as Jesus, but also as the Lord Jesus Christ, He has so spoken. For at a later day, the apostle of the Gentiles1 received from Him when on high that they were to drink the cup as well as eat the loaf in remembrance of Him (1 Cor. 11:23-2523For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. (1 Corinthians 11:23‑25)). And if we may infer that in Luke the Lord's words take the form of an appeal, way we not say that in Paul we have the same words in the form of a command? For in the one, He seems to claim the love and in the other the heart-obedience of His saints. In the one He speaks as being in their midst and in the other as being exalted above the heavens. Each scripture is perfect in its connection, and we shall profit much as we ponder both the love of His heart as He sat at the table and the authority of His word as given from the glory above.
It is however also instructive to remark that this remembrance is indissolubly connected with eating the bread and drinking the cup. “This do for the recalling Me to mind” (εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν) indicates plainly enough that the “remembrance” is the result of the “doing,” and implies that it. cannot arise apart from the “doing.” Not that saints in private cannot or do not remember the Lord. This they may do continually. His Person surely should never be absent from the thoughts of His own. We are even exhorted to bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus for practical everyday purposes (2 Cor. 4:1010Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:10)). But while this is so true, it ought not to be forgotten that no child of God can privately, as an individual, eat the bread and drink the cup for a remembrance. It is essentially an act in the assembly, the very loaf setting forth the unity of the body of Christ, as the eating of it sets forth fellowship (1 Cor. 10:16, 1716The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. (1 Corinthians 10:16‑17)). And the Lord has foreseen all difficulties with regard to this and graciously provided that its character should not be lost in a day of confusion and failure like the present. He has been pleased to guarantee His own presence, which is sufficient, even among two or three gathered to His Name (Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)). Thus the simple words which are engaging our attention closely guard against all transcendental notions of remembering Him without the bread and the wine as well as against that culpable indifference which pleads an ability (though it be never put in practice) to remember the Lord as well in the closet and in solitude as at His table and among those who call on Him out of a pure heart. The words “This do” are a sufficient rebuke to both the one and the other. Willful negligence and virtual disobedience, though they be cloaked in a garb of superior piety, are altogether repugnant to the simple realities of scripture.
This remembrance also bears an aspect towards the world. For in establishing the supper the Lord did more than afford simple means which were to be mightily used by the Spirit to concentrate the thoughts of His people upon His own blessed Person in especial relation to His work of redemption. The feast of remembrance is to announce His death till He come. So that while partaking of the emblems is full of the most sacred significance to the saints, it is moreover a public memorial to all if they will but see and believe. For thus has the Lord reared in the world a monument to His memory more imperishable than marble. His cenotaph is in the loving hearts of His obedient saints who eat bread and drink wine for a remembrance of Him. Just as the sacrifices of old, besides being types of Christ, were remembrances of un-expiated sins (Heb. 10:33But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. (Hebrews 10:3)), so the Lord's Supper, besides its sacred import to believers, is a solemn though silent testimony to the world of the Lord's death, of which it is guilty, and for which it must answer.
W. J. H.
1. Thus what was given in the Gospels to Jews was confirmed by the epistle to Gentiles.