‘Do This in Remembrance of Me’
At sundown on March 27, Jewish families the world over will gather in homes as they have for thousands of years to instill in future generations the Passover Seder traditions. The evening consists of reading the Passover story, eating, sipping wine, reading, sipping, eating, reading, sipping, and eating again.
I’m being facetious, but I’m not far off from a typical Passover celebration. And a celebration is what it is—a celebration of God’s faithfulness to liberate His people according to His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
At the Seder table, interesting foods are consciously consumed for one simple but significant reason: to remember.
Matzoh (unleavened bread) represents the haste in which the Israelites fled Egypt. Parsley, a symbol of the hyssop used to smear blood on the doorposts, is dipped in salt water and eaten to savor the tears shed by the Jewish forefathers as slaves. Bitter herbs (horseradish) and charoset (sweet apple-walnut relish) are fused into a small sandwich to represent both the bitterness of bondage and sweetness of freedom.
Wine is poured four times to remember God’s sanctifying power (Ex. 6:6), His deliverance (v. 6), His redemption (v. 7), and His acceptance of His people (v. 7).
The Passover story has been retold for more than 3,000 years for one reason: God commanded the Israelites to celebrate it annually (12:14). Why? Isn’t once enough?
God knows us. He knows we’re forgetful, absentminded, and easily distracted creatures. Research on the problem of forgetting has revealed that within one hour, people forget an average of 50 percent of the information given to them. Within 24 hours, they forget 70 percent; and within a week, the percentage can reach as high as 90 percent. That’s a lot of forgetting.
God commanded that Passover be an annual event because He did not want His people to forget the mighty hand that delivered them from slavery. Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses warned them, “Beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Dt. 6:12).
To forget Passover is to deny God the honor and glory He deserves. It is to forget God’s holy laws and commandments. Throughout the Old Testament, the Lord is remembered as the God who liberated His people from Egypt. Passover night is when Israel was set apart and set free to serve Him in the sight of all nations.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the Israelites to minimize Passover’s significance. For nearly 400 years, between the time of the prophet Samuel to King Josiah, they neglected to celebrate their God-given freedom properly. As Passover vanished, the priority to worship the Lord was replaced with idol worship, a dilapidated Temple, and impending judgment. King Josiah prioritized Passover, wanting to reconnect the wayward with the Way Maker who brought his forefathers through the Red Sea on dry ground.
Like Israel, we, too, can forget the deliverance, redemption, and salvation Jesus bought for us with His blood. He died so we might be forgiven and set free to serve Him.
It is fitting that Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper on Passover. The Lamb of God used the matzoh and wine, traditional symbols of freedom from Egyptian bondage, and connected them to His broken body and shed blood, which bring freedom from the slavery of sin to all who trust in Him. I’m confident He did so for one reason: so that as often as we eat the bread and drink the cup, we would do it in remembrance of Him (Lk. 22:19).
Let this Passover and Easter season be a time to stop, reflect, and remember the Good News of Jesus the Messiah. The same mighty hand that redeemed Israel has redeemed all of us who have placed our faith in Him. “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:24).