A Night of Remembrance
You Are Invited
Annual Commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ
Sunday, April 7, 1974
Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses
OF ALL the things that you could do after sundown on Sunday, April 7, one is of the highest value and importance. What?
It is attendance at the celebration of the memorial of the death of Christ Jesus.
During the nineteen centuries since his death, hundreds of millions have died. But the memory of the vast majority is now gone—lives, deeds, even names, have all been forgotten. In many countries, it is true, a certain few who have died are held as worth remembering on set dates each year, generally men who gained fame through military or political exploits. How is the memorial of Christ Jesus’ death of incomparably greater importance and value? And why remember him on this particular date more so than on other days?
Considering the latter question first, this year April 7 (after sundown) marks the start of the fourteenth day of Nisan on the old Hebrew calendar (a calendar geared to lunar cycles for fixing the course of each month). Nisan 14 marked the annual celebration of the ancient festival of Passover. (Ex. 12:1-3, 6-14) It was on that date, in the year 33 of our Common Era, that Jesus had his last meal with his disciples, later retiring with them to a garden where he was arrested. Before that day ended, he had died on a stake, executed as if he were a condemned criminal.
But remembrance of Jesus’ death means more than just remembering that it happened, that the event took place. Few forget that. Rather, it is a matter of remembering the meaning of his death for each of us, remembering as well the kind of person Christ Jesus was, his qualities and what his example should move us to do in our own lives. To keep our appreciation of these things strong and clear, we need to take the time and act to refresh our remembrance.
Showing some of the benefits of doing this, the apostle Paul writes: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, as we look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus. For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Indeed, consider closely the one who has endured such contrary talk by sinners against their own interests, that you may not get tired and give out in your souls.”—Heb. 12:1-3.
It is especially the role he played in God’s purposes that makes Jesus’ death so worthy of special remembrance. That role was not one bringing political or military fame, but one that has to do with one of the greatest needs of all mankind—life itself. Revealing the source of mankind’s problem, the Bible at Romans 5:12 says: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”
Due to becoming a rebel against God and hence a sinner, our first father, Adam, did not leave us a legacy of life but passed on to us a deadly defect, which has been transmitted from generation to generation down till this day. (Ps. 51:5) Thus, all mankind has sorely needed someone who could wipe out this continuing, poisonous stain of sin; someone who could, in effect, give them a new start—as if the past had been erased and they now had a different first father, a different life source.
Christ Jesus provided this. As he himself said: “The Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” (Matt. 20:28) Since our first father, Adam, lost for us perfect human life, Christ Jesus ransomed what Adam lost, doing so for the human race, thereby opening the way for them to regain perfect life. He did this by paying over his own perfect human life as an exchange of equal value. Yes, “one man died for all,” a fact made possible because he was a perfect man, born on earth by God’s power, his life having been transferred from heaven to the womb of the virgin girl Mary.—2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Luke 1:34, 35.
What did his sacrificial death open up to all mankind? The opportunity of accepting this new life source and benefiting from all that he can give. For God granted his Son the rightful authority to cancel out our debt of sins and give us a paternal inheritance of everlasting life, freedom from slavery to imperfection and death. (Heb. 2:14, 15; Rom. 5:21) Those who exercise heartfelt faith in him can, in effect, transfer to the family of an undying father who can “save completely those who are approaching God through him, because he is always alive to plead for them.”—Heb. 7:25.
THE RIGHT MANNER OF REMEMBRANCE
How can we adequately commemorate the death of Christ Jesus? He himself showed the manner, one of unusual simplicity. The inspired apostle Paul wrote: “For I received from the Lord that which I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was going to be handed over took a loaf [of unleavened bread, as used at Passover] and, after giving thanks, he broke it and said: ‘This means my body which is in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.’ He did likewise respecting the cup [of wine] also, after he had the evening meal, saying: ‘This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood. Keep doing this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’”—1 Cor. 11:23-25.
On April 7, after sundown, in nearly 32,000 congregations around the earth, Jehovah’s witnesses will be ‘doing this in remembrance of him.’ Not that all will partake of the emblems, for the Bible shows that it was those with whom Jesus made a ‘covenant for a kingdom’ that he invited to partake of such emblems. (Luke 22:29) It also shows that only a “remnant” of such anointed Kingdom heirs would be on earth at this time. (Rev. 12:17) Though the observance by Jehovah’s witnesses, like the original one instituted by Jesus, is simple and free from elaborate ceremony or ritual, the enlightening talk that always accompanies it enables all attending to appreciate the richness of meaning involved.
If we recognize Christ Jesus for what the Bible shows him to be, “our only Owner and Lord,” we will certainly want to be among those remembering him in harmony with his instructions. (Jude 4) World wide, Jehovah’s witnesses will unitedly be doing this on April 7 after sundown. They will be happy to have you visit their local Kingdom Hall and share with them in this night of remembrance.