which is to be poured out in behalf of many. Truly I say to you, I shall by no means drink any more of the product of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’”—Mark 14:22-25; Matt. 26:26-29.
Some feel that because Jesus said, “I shall by no means drink any more of the product of the vine,” he must have partaken of the Memorial emblems. But, remember, they had just finished celebrating the annual Jewish Passover. As part of the celebration, Jesus drank wine and ate unleavened bread. Referring back to that, Christ said that he would not again share with them in such joy, as symbolized by the fruit of the vine, until he was ruling as king and had exercised his kingly power to awaken his anointed followers out of death. (Ps. 104:15; Rev. 11:17, 18) Jesus had partaken of the passover wine, but there is no reason to believe that he partook of the Memorial emblems.
Please note that the account says that Jesus gave the emblems to “them,” and that “they” drank of the emblematic wine. As symbols during the Memorial celebration, the unleavened bread stood for Jesus’ body, and the wine stood for his blood.
The Lord Jesus did not have to accept or partake of the benefits of the sacrifice of his own body and blood. He gave his “flesh in behalf of the life of the world.” (John 6:51) He sacrificed his blood and flesh to cover the sins of repentant but sinful humans. (Heb. 9:12-14; 10:10) As a perfect human he did not need the ransom benefits of that sacrifice, so he could say to his followers that the sacrifice was made “in your behalf,” not in my behalf. (Luke 22:20) Christ could sacrifice humanity, and blood in which the life of humanity is found, because he would not need these things himself when resurrected as a spirit with heavenly life in view.—1 Cor. 15:45, 50.
But, even though he did not need the benefits of what was symbolized by the emblems, would he have partaken as an example for the apostles? No, they knew how to eat unleavened bread and drink wine. As Jews they had just done so in the Passover celebration. All that was necessary for Jesus to do was to set up this Lord’s evening meal, and then command his followers to observe it in remembrance of him.
LORD’S EVENING MEAL
The date for observing the Lord’s evening meal in 1968 is Friday, April 12, after 6 p.m. Standard Time. Each congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses is making arrangements so that all who are regularly associated with the congregation and other interested persons can gather together for this occasion. In harmony with Jesus’ instructions to his disciples while he was still on earth, those who are heirs of the heavenly kingdom will partake of the emblematic bread and wine on that occasion. In addition, all who look forward to life under that kingdom are urged to be present to observe this Scriptural commemoration.
As “fishers of men,” Jehovah’s witnesses obey the Lord Jesus Christ, so during March they will continue to ‘let down their nets for a catch’ by sharing in the ministry. (Matt. 4:19; Luke 5:4) As they do so, they will offer to all persons a year’s subscription for The Watchtower, along with three booklets, for $1; or a year’s subscription for both The Watchtower and Awake!, along with six booklets, for $2.
MEETING GOD’S REQUIREMENTS
Jesus commanded those whom he had instructed: “Go therefore and make disciples . . . teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) That means all Christians must be ministers. Are you? Regular instruction is conducted free by all congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses. Along with the Bible, one of the current textbooks used at the Kingdom Hall is Qualified to Be Ministers. Get your copy today and join this most profitable training course. The book is only 50c. The training is free.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
April 14: True Worship Under Challenge. Page 169. Songs to Be Used: 87, 116.
April 21: Sanctifying “the Holy One of Israel.” Page 175. Songs to Be Used: 57, 59.