March/April – 2015
In The Beginning
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Jesus had little regard for ceremonies. There were only two observances that he asked of
his followers. One was baptism, the other was the memorial of his death. While baptism
is a single event and can come at any time, the Memorial coincides with the Jewish Passover because that was the time of year when Jesus died on the cross. When he passed bread and the fruit of the vine to his disciples the evening preceding his death, Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” In this issue we remember the death of our savior in several aspects. “Jesus Wept” reviews the various ways that Jesus demonstrated his qualities of high priest
in compassion for both his followers and those of the Gentile world with whom he came into contact. In the case of the death of Lazarus, Jesus’ love for the family brought him to tears in sympathy with them even though he knew that he would raise Lazarus from the dead.
“The Way to Jerusalem” highlights Jesus’ final journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. During this final week Jesus prepared his disciples for his departure. During this week he also performed his final miracles and especially emphasized the importance of prayer for his followers. “Jesus’ Last 21 Hours” examines the intensity of the last day of his life. From the joy of sharing a final supper with his disciples to the loneliness of six hours on the cross, Jesus maintained his focus on his final task — to provide the ransom price for mankind — the culmination of three and one half years of his ministry.
“A Parting Wish” considers the thoughts of Jesus in the upper room on the night before his crucifixion as he asked his disciples to remember his death through the Memorial emblems. Although Barabbas was only briefly mentioned in the trial of Jesus, the lessons we can take from his release instead of Jesus are detailed in “Barabbas and the Perfect Man”
“Communion or Common Union?” is a meditation on the sharing of the bread and the cup that forms an integral part of our Memorial service. The hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” proclaims our togetherness as “all one body” in accordance with 1 Corinthians 10:17, for together we all partake of the one bread, Jesus.
Finally, “The Unity of the Body of Christ” considers ways we can better reflect the principles of Christian character in edifying and building up the body of believers. It encourages self-examination and humility in dealing with differences that exist among brethren.
May this issue aid our readers to prepare for this most important observance, the Memorial supper, “in remembrance” of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus.