A Powerful Memorial
- Memorials have an important role in our culture.
- Have you visited a memorial lately?
- illustrate: On April 1, 1995 I finished my tenure of employment with my father in downtown Oklahoma City. Shortly after that, on April 19, 1995 I remember watching in fear as Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal Bldg. and blowing up my fathers office in the process. I remember seeing the images on tv and frantically calling my father. He never answered. The lines became blocked. I remember driving downtown and it looked like a war zone. I couldn't get close to my dad's office but I could clearly see that it wasn't the same. Finally we got word that dad was okay and that he wasn't there. The only person in the office was the young lady who took my job. She was not so lucky. She lived but would require multiple surgeries to restore her face. So days came and went and they finally erected the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. It is a beautiful memorial. This past summer I went and visited the site again and as I did I was forced to take a long hard look. I guess you could say I was looking all over the place.
- I looked back and remembered that day, I looked within and counted my blessings. I evaluated my life in regard to that event. Then I looked forward and what the future would hold. All the potential, all the posibillities.
- There's something about memorials that do that - they make us take a long hard look.
- 2000 years ago the most powerful memorial known to man was established and you and I are standing at the table of that memorial. Jesus went to the cross to die for our sins so that we might have eternal life, but before he carried out that task, he gathered his believers and he gave them this memorial.
- It is accessible to all believers, it is participatory for all who partake. And as we stand at the table today, just like with any memorial we are forced to take a long hard look. Paul, described this "looking" in 1 Corinthians.
Look Back and Remember (v. 24-25)
- Jesus gave us the reason for our coming to this memorial. To remember.
- I can just see Jesus as He is with his disciples saying, you can't see it now, but my body is about to be broken. You can't see it now but my blood will be shed. And then when the disciples witnessed the resurrection of Jesus, the power of this memorial.
- It forced them and it forces us to look back and remember. Remember what?
- That Jesus body was broken for you. Not His bones, but His body, It was pierced from head to toe.
- That Jesus blood was shed for you. The OT requirement of a sacrifice was fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Had he not been broken and shed his blood we would have no way to receive forgiveness.
- As you look back today, what conjures up in your mind? Does it stir you what this memorial stands for?
- I cannot go to the OKC Memorial without shedding a tear and feeling the hairs stand on the back of my head. Because it is very real to me. Is Jesus death on the cross, His sacrifice, very real to you?
Look Within and Repent (v. 28)
- When we come to the table to partake of the Lord's Supper it is an awesome time for us to do some serious internal inspection.
- I find it interesting that Paul does not say, let a man examine everyone in the room.
- When we look within ourselves three important goals are accomplished
- 1. We are forced to see our sins
- 2. We are encouraged to repent
- 3. The need for God's grace is underscored
- Oftentimes it is difficult for us to look within because that is the opposite of what we want to see. But when we come to the Lord's table we need to come with clean hands and a pure heart. We obtain that by a serious heart to heart with God.
- In fact, I want you to take the opportunity to look within. Let's bow our heads and just listen for a moment, listen to what God is revealing in your heart.
- Amen! There's one more direction we need to look.
Look Ahead and Rejoice (26)
- Jesus was asking us to remember something that was greusome and tragic. But at the same time this memorial was designed to be a reason for rejoicing!
- So it's not just a memorial, it's a celebration.
- Had Jesus stayed in the grave then it would just be a memorial. But he didn't he rose from the grave, that makes it a celebration.
- Not only is he alive but He is coming back again someday. If that's not reason to rejoice then I don't know what is.
- Everytime you and I come together for the Lord's Supper we are proclaiming our hope of Jesus' return to this world.
- I was told the story of a family who left their Christmas lights up past Christmas. January came and went and the lights were still up. February came and went and the lights came on every night. Just about the time the neighbors were going to come and ask them to take them to remove the lights a sign appeared in their front lawn. It simply read, "welcome home, Jimmy.". Jimmy had been deployed overseas and was returning home. The family was holding Christmas until he came home and they wanted everyone to know.
- You and I are proclaiming the Lord's death and sacrifice and forgiveness of sins to a world that needs to hear the good news. We are waiting for His return.