A Meal to Help Us Remember
SUPPOSE someone gave you a wonderful gift. How would you feel about it?— Would you just say, “Thank you,” and then forget all about the one who gave it to you? Or would you want to remember what he did?—
Jehovah has given a very wonderful gift to us. He sent his own Son to earth to die for us. Because of this we can get free from sickness and death. What a loving thing for them to do! Surely we do not want to forget what God and his Son have done for us, do we?—
Did you know that God’s Son gave us a special way to remember what he did?— Would you like to hear about it?—
Just imagine you are in the upstairs room of a house in Jerusalem. It is nighttime. Let us see who is in the room. The Great Teacher is there. So are his apostles. They are lying on couches around a table. On the table there is some roast lamb, flat loaves of bread and red wine. But this is not a regular meal. They are having a special meal. Do you know why?—
This meal is to remind them of something very important that happened hundreds of years before. It was on the night when Jehovah set his people Israel free from slavery in Egypt.
Jehovah told his people: ‘Kill a lamb for each family and put its blood on the doorposts of your houses.’ Then he said: ‘Go inside your houses and eat the lamb.’
They did that. And that same night God’s angel passed through the land of Egypt. In most houses the angel killed the firstborn child. But when the angel saw blood on the doorposts, he passed over that house. In those houses no children died. If you had been there, in which of the houses would you have wanted to be?—
The king of Egypt was frightened by what Jehovah’s angel did. He told the Israelites: ‘You are free. Get out of Egypt!’ So they loaded up their camels and donkeys and left.
But Jehovah did not want his people to forget how he set them free. So he said: ‘Once a year you must eat a meal like the meal you ate tonight. And you should tell your children about what happened this night in Egypt.’
They called this special meal the Passover. Do you know why?— Because that night God’s angel had ‘passed over’ their houses marked with blood. Remember?
Jesus and his apostles are thinking about this when they eat the Passover meal. Afterward Jesus does something very important. Watch carefully.
He picks up one of the leftover loaves of bread. After praying over it, he breaks it. He passes it to his disciples and says: “Take, eat.” Then he tells them: ‘This bread stands for my body that I will give when I die for you.’
Next Jesus picks up a cup of red wine. After another prayer of thanks, he passes it around. He says: “Drink out of it, all of you.” And he tells them: ‘This wine stands for my blood. Soon I am going to pour out my blood to free you from your sins. Keep doing this to remember me.’—Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
Did you notice that Jesus said they should keep doing this to remember him?— No longer would they have the Passover meal. Instead, once each year they would have this special meal to remember Jesus’ death. This is called the Lord’s evening meal. Today we also call it the Memorial. Why?— Because it brings back to our memory what Jesus and his Father have done for us.
Will you go with me to the Memorial next time it is held?— If you do, you will see some flat bread and red wine being passed around. What will the bread and wine make you think of?—
The bread should make us think of Jesus’ body. He was willing to give up that body so that we could have everlasting life. And what about the red wine?— That should remind us of Jesus’ blood that was poured out when men nailed him to a stake to die.
Jesus’ blood is much more precious than the blood of the passover lamb in Egypt. Do you know why?— Jesus’ blood can bring us forgiveness of sins.
Do you know what it will mean to have all our sins taken away?— Then we will never do anything wrong again. And we will no longer get sick, grow old and die! We should think of that when we go to the Memorial.
Should everyone eat the bread and drink the wine at the Memorial?— No, Jesus told those who do: ‘You will have part in my kingdom and sit on thrones in heaven with me.’ That meant they would go to heaven to be kings with Jesus. Only those who are going to do that should take the bread and wine.
But even if we do not eat the bread or drink the wine, we should attend the Memorial. Do you know why?— Because Jesus gave his life for us too. When we go to the Memorial we show that we have not forgotten. We remember God’s wonderful gift through Jesus.