Do You Appreciate What Jesus Christ Did for You?
1 No other man who has ever lived on earth could do what Jesus Christ did for mankind. He has aided us to receive the greatest gift anyone can obtain, everlasting life. Yet, most people have little appreciation for what he did. How about you?
2 Lack of appreciation is a serious matter, and especially is this so with regard to our attitude toward the Son of God. (Heb. 10:28, 29) In contrast, how can we show that we are truly appreciative? For one thing, we will surely be in attendance at the Memorial on Wednesday evening, April 11. But more is involved than that. We can be helped to realize this by reviewing briefly a few of the thrilling events during Jesus’ last six days on earth.
3 On his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Sunday, Nisan 9, the disciples were overjoyed at seeing “the One coming as the King in Jehovah’s name!” Their appreciation for the Messianic king moved them to “rejoice and praise God with a loud voice concerning all the powerful works they had seen.” (Luke 19:37, 38) If you had been present that day, undoubtedly you would have shared in praising God. Would you have had the same appreciation a week, months, or even years later?
4 The expressions of praise were so important that Jesus said: “If these [disciples] remained silent, the stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:40) If the stones had done so, would that not have revealed a lack of appreciation on the part of the disciples? Today Christ is actively ruling as King with his Father. Do we truly appreciate what that means? If so, we will be ‘rejoicing and praising God with a loud voice’ in the field service.
NISAN 10, 11
5 On Monday, Nisan 10, the chief priests and scribes schemed to destroy Jesus, “for they were in fear of him, for all the crowd was continually being astounded at his teaching.” (Mark 11:18) Despite this religious opposition, Jesus courageously “entered into the temple and . . . overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.” (Mark 11:15) What high regard he showed for Jehovah’s worship! It is true that we are not authorized to take physical action against those practicing wrong things, but we can be both courageous and zealous as Jesus was for Jehovah’s worship. (Compare the similar action at John 2:14-17.) Do we personally show such qualities for Jehovah’s worship?
6 On the next day, Tuesday, Nisan 11, the Son of God fearlessly denounced the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Right in Jerusalem he told them: “You shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men; for you yourselves do not go in, neither do you permit those on their way in to go in.” (Matt. 23:13) At the same time, Jesus was putting forth every effort to aid people to get into that kingdom. It was on that same day, outside of Jerusalem, that Jesus gave his disciples the outstanding prophecy about the sign of his presence and the conclusion of the system of things. He urged his disciples then, and us today, not to let other affairs of life distract from the importance of these events. Pointedly he said: ‘Pay attention to yourselves so that your hearts may never become weighed down with overeating, and heavy drinking, and anxieties of life.’ (Luke 21:34) How much do we appreciate what he said? Is the message that he delivered back then as important to us as it is to him?
7 On that same day Jesus drew attention to a woman who discerned the preciousness of the things of God. He pointed out a widow in the temple who had dropped into the treasury chest two coins of very little value. But, as Jesus explained, this was “all the means of living she had.” (Luke 21:1-4) Do the things that we do to advance the interests of true worship show that we appreciate it as much as she did?
8 On Wednesday, Nisan 12, Jesus did not return to Jerusalem. But the Bible tells us he was anointed with very expensive perfumed oil by a woman named Mary. As Jesus said, ‘She did it in preparation for my burial.’ (John 12:7) He appreciated her kindness so much that he said: “Wherever this good news is preached in all the world, what this woman did shall also be told as a remembrance of her.” (Matt. 26:13) This incident sparked the greed of Judas. He “went to the chief priests” to bargain with them as to what they would give him for betraying Jesus.—Matt. 26:14, 15.
9 Before sundown, Thursday, Nisan 13, God’s Son made arrangements for his last passover with the disciples. Nisan 14 began about 6 p.m., and Jesus faced a very difficult 20 hours or so. At the Passover meal he washed the feet of his apostles, including those of Judas. This was a special night for the Son of God and for his apostles. He said to them: “I have greatly desired to eat this passover with you.” (Luke 22:15) How difficult it must have been for Jesus to know that Judas, eating right there with the other apostles, would betray him! After they ate the Passover meal, Judas left, and Jesus instituted with the eleven faithful apostles the memorial of his own death. When the betrayer left the table, Jesus knew that his most difficult hours were fast approaching. The fulfillment of his Father’s Word and the life prospects of all mankind depended on what he would do. Before singing praises to God and departing for the garden of Gethsemane, he prayed, not only for himself, but for individuals who had not as yet even put faith in him. (John 17:20) What unselfish love for people!
10 Out in Gethsemane, he repeatedly prayed with deep feeling to his Father. He had told three of his disciples: “My soul is deeply grieved, even to death. Stay here and keep on the watch with me.” (Matt. 26:38) But, failing to appreciate the significance of what was about to take place, they fell asleep. Soon the betrayer appeared, along with a great crowd that had swords and clubs. While the disciples fled, Jesus was taken into custody.
11 After being betrayed, Jesus spent the rest of the night and the following morning before the chief priests, the Sanhedrin, Herod and Pilate. Finally, around three o’clock Friday afternoon, Nisan 14, as he hung from the torture stake, Jesus declared: “It has been accomplished!” “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” When he had said this, he expired.—John 19:30; Luke 23:46.
12 What a fine record of courage and loyalty! However, what Jesus did was not for his own glory. It was to honor his Father. Also, the apostle Peter said: “Christ suffered for YOU.” How should we show appreciation for his outstanding and unselfish way of life on our behalf? Not only by attending the Memorial. As Peter stated: “Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely.” (1 Pet. 2:21) Yes, in every way, let us show deep appreciation for what Jesus did, striving every day to do things that will contribute to the vindication of Jehovah’s name.