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“The tests came back positive; you’re going to have a baby.” A chill ran down my back the first time I heard those words from my doctor. I was so excited! I could hardly wait to get home to share the good news with my husband! I was going to have a baby. I had to replay those 5 little words over and over in my mind before it finally sunk in. It made me want to laugh with joy. I started loving that child of ours as soon as I heard those amazing words! Think back to your own experience on when you first heard the news of your precious little bundle of joy. Some women might have felt shock or fear or, sadly, maybe even disappointment when they first heard the news.
Imagine how Mary felt when the angel of the Lord, Gabriel, came to her with the news that she was going to carry the son of God (Luke 1:31). Scripture tells us she was perplexed (Luke 1:29). She didn’t understand how she would conceive the son of God (Luke1:34). However, she did accept the news of her pregnancy with belief and obedience. She understood who the Savior was. She understood scripture. She never would have figured she would be chosen for such an honor (Luke 1:38). Mary was just an ordinary Jewish girl. However, Mary was chosen above all women in the world to bear the son of God, the Savior of the world, the Messiah. She did not fully comprehend everything she would have to endure as Jesus’ mother. God knew that Mary was a woman of exceptional strength and obedience. He knew that Mary would have to suffer a great amount of hurt and pain as she watched her son be rejected and later crucified. Mary was the only human to know Jesus his entire life from birth until he gave his life on the cross.
I remember after our son was born. I got to show him off and I was so proud when others would tell me what a sweet baby I had. We had a shower at the church building and many people came and brought my son many gifts. I was so proud of my little baby boy and I loved him so much. Whenever he’d make the slightest sound or movement I’d just think he was brilliant! I cherished it in my heart.
The shepherds came to visit baby Jesus after he was born. They came and found Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus lying in a manger. They told Mary and Joseph what they had heard about baby Jesus; that he was the Savior.Mary was hearing such great things about her son and she treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart (Luke 2:19).
Thinking back on my own experience I remember times when my son did things that I just thought the world should know. He was so smart and listening to him talk to others about scripture just filled my heart with pride, because he was so young, and so bold, and he loved the Lord. These things I treasured in my heart.
When Jesus was 12 years old He was in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. Mary and Joseph were on their way home and realizing that He was not with them they went back and looked for Him. They found him in the temple listening and asking questions to the teachers. The people who heard him were amazed at His understanding and His answers (Luke 2:46-47). Mary and Joseph and Jesus then went back to their home in Nazareth and Jesus continued in subjection to His parents. He increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and men and Mary treasured all these things in her heart (Luke 2:51).
Please understand, I am in no way trying to compare my life, and that of my son’s, to that of Jesus and His mother’s. However, I do wish to provoke in us an association with the suffering that Jesus endured and that His mother was forced, by her love for Him, to witness. As mothers, we know the love we have for our children and that we keep things our children do in our hearts. Mary loved Jesus, she was His mother. Mary watched Him grow and she got to know Jesus like no other human being on this earth. Mary got to see Jesus with the little children and she watched him teach and she learned from Him and His wisdom. How proud she must have been.
In the end, she had to endure great pain as a mother. She had to watch others physically hurt her son. She watched them try him unjustly, she watched them beat him, spit on him and she watched them nail him to the cross. She was standing among the very same people for whom He was dying so that they could have a chance for salvation. Her son was the son of God and He gave up His life for all of our sons and daughters. He gave up His life for the sins of the world so that we all can have a chance to live with God in heaven. Can you imagine your very own son hanging on that cross naked, beaten and thirsty? Do you think Mary thought about that very often? Do you think she went a day without having the image of him hanging on the cross run through her mind? If it was my son hanging on the cross, I would never forget it. It would be forever etched in my heart and mind. Normal human emotions will tug at our heart as we acknowledge our Lord’s heartache for His mother’s sorrows. As mothers, we can try to identify with Mary’s maternal feelings and the grief and mental anguish that she experienced as His mother. But, more importantly, we should explore our own feelings of who Jesus is and what His death means to us individually. Make no mistake, Jesus said those who do the will of His father in heaven is His brother and sister and mother (Matt 12:50). He is our friend (Jn 15:15). He is our advocate and intercessor (1 Jn.2:1, Heb 7:25). He is, in fact, our Savior. He is our Lord. It was for all of us that he suffered. It was for all of us the He died.
In 1 Corinthians 11:23 and following, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper as a memorial for us to remember Him. He gave thanks for the bread and then passed it out to the disciples and he said, “This is my body which is for you: this do in remembrance of Me.” Then he took the cup and gave thanks and said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Scriptural example shows we are to do this on the first day of the week. Nothing can be more pleasing to the soul than the love shown to us by Jesus when He gave His life for our sins. Therefore we do this in remembrance of what He did for us, when he died for us on that cross. When we take the bread we need to make sure our minds are focused on Christ and the ultimate sacrifice.
I wonder sometimes what Christ thinks when He looks down from above. Are we doing the things that please Him? Are we making the sacrifices we pledged to make when we made that commitment to wear His name? Christ died for us because He loved us. Our love for Him should lead us to serve Him obediently (John 14:15) and to proclaim His death, on the first day of each week (Acts 20:7) until He comes.
By Karen Bookout
published in the Spring 2010 issue V3N2
As Christians, we participate in the memorial of Christ every Sunday. This is because of what we have reasoned out from the scriptures by command and by example. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial of Christ’s death, and His sacrifice for us. Christians should participate in this act of worship and focus our minds on His gift to us. This gift is salvation from our sins, and without it we would be eternally lost. Jesus Christ is the Savior of all who obey Him. He saved us from our sins and is now preparing a place for us with His Father in Heaven (John 14:3). Jesus is the only one who could do this because He is the only one who has ever lived a perfect, sinless life. He is the creator and the light of life.
Let’s examine the scriptures relating to this subject.
What is our example?
The Lord’s Supper was first instituted by Jesus (Mark 14:22-26).
Who should partake?
The Lord’s Supper is for those who are in the body of Christ. The saints, Christians, are people who have completed God’s requirements for entering into His kingdom (Acts 20:6,7).
Why should we do it?
Jesus explained the purpose when he commanded “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:15-22).
When do we observe this memorial?
We have an example of this memorial being observed on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). The first day of the week is The Lord’s Day. Every single week has a first day, thus we observe the Lord’s Supper every week on the first day of the week.
What are the elements of the Lord’s Supper?
Unleavened bread is used to symbolize the body of Jesus, to remind us of His great suffering. Jesus endured the humiliation, the beatings, and then the hours of pain during the crucifixion. All of this was done by the hands of His own people, so we could have the opportunity to know God (John 1:1-3). Grape juice represents the blood of Jesus that takes away our sins. His blood was offered so ours wouldn’t have to be.
How should we partake of the Lord’s Supper?
It should be taken with a reverent attitude and a pure spirit. “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” (1 Cor. 11:23-29). God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
We should note that the Lord ’s Supper is NOT the “most important” act of worship, because all worship acts are equally important. None of them should be neglected or exalted above another. Partaking of the Lord’s Supper does not relinquish our duty to the other acts of worship. It is certainly a privilege to partake of the Lord’s Supper with our brethren as we are assembled on the Lord’s Day! From a mother’s perspective I know it can be difficult to keep your mind on what you are doing while having to deal with little ones. We are constantly distracted by them, trying to keep them quiet or in their seat. But perhaps we can think of these times as opportunities to hone our concentration skills, for if we can keep our focus, then we have thwarted the devil once again. We should strive to keep this holy memorial in a worthy manner and thus “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).
by Karen Westbrook
published in the Spring 2010 issue V3N2
As physical beings, we enjoy having physical reminders of those we love, especially those who are no longer with us. A grandmother’s china teacup or grandpa’s pocket knife can remind us of special times whenever we hold them.
Jesus understood how important it would be for His apostles to have a physical reminder of Him after His return to Heaven. As He sat at supper with the twelve on the night of His betrayal, Jesus instituted a memorial that would serve as a reminder of His death until He comes again (I Cor. 11:26).
This memorial, often referred to as the Lord’s Supper, involves two specific elements – the bread and the cup. Jesus assigned very special meanings to both of these elements. In Mark 14:22, Jesus took bread and blessed it. Then He broke the bread and gave it to His apostles and told them to eat because it was His Body. Jesus understood this symbolism because He knew that very soon His body would be broken for them and raised again. Following His resurrection, the apostles would better understand the symbolism as they met together to break bread in remembrance of their Lord.
Following the breaking of the bread, Jesus took a cup and gave thanks for it. He then gave it to his apostles and commanded them to drink all of it (Matthew 26:27). We understand that it was not the container that was special, but the contents in it. Jesus refers to this drink as “fruit of the vine” in Mark 14:25 and Matthew 26:29. The apostles were told that this drink represented Christ’s blood which is shed for many for the remission of our sins (Matthew 26:29). Jesus used this symbolism because He knew that very soon his own precious blood would be shed because, without the shedding of blood, there could be no forgiveness for our sins.
Not long after Jesus shared this meal with his apostles, His body was given for us and His blood was shed. Jesus knew that he would be raised again, so He took the time to establish this memorial that Christians today observe as the Lord‘s Supper. Disciples of Christ all around the world meet on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7) to celebrate His death and resurrection and share in this memorial. These two simple elements, bread and grape juice, have held much meaning over the years for the followers of Jesus Christ. Today, all those who have been baptized into Christ’s church can participate in this memorial and remember the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord as often as we eat the bread and drink the cup (I Cor. 11:26). These are physical reminders left to us by Jesus Christ – the son of God who also lived as a man and understands our need for physical remembrances. He left us with a memorial, a promise to return, and a command “This do in remembrance of Me.”
by Valerie Enoch
published in the Spring 2010 issue V3N2
I recently read a book written by a woman whose husband was gunned down in their own driveway after they were both robbed at gunpoint. Part of the book described his memorial service and as I read her story, I found myself overcome with grief over her loss and how that must have felt. Her story is very tragic and I can’t imagine the feelings of loss suffered over an innocent loss of life such as this.
My mind then went to Jesus and the death he suffered on the cross and how cruel and agonizing it must have been. I became painfully aware of the fact that I was tearful over a family whom I had never really met and yet, I could count the number of times that I’d had that type of reaction during the Lord’s Supper which is, as Jesus said, to be done in remembrance of Him (1 Corinthians 11:24-26). I shamefully admit that although I sometimes reflect on the cross and Jesus’ death, it’s typically a very quick thought as my mind quickly affixes upon my child crying or walking around or on things that I need to get done that day. While I don’t believe that I should necessarily have tears streaming down my face every Sunday, it is apparent to me that much more of my time should be devoted to reflection, prayer and meditation during this time of remembrance.
Below is a memorial of the life and death of Jesus. I pray that you will use this to help you focus more on remembering Jesus and His life and death until He comes again.
Jesus was a Baby:
Jesus was born to a woman (Matthew 2:1) and although the circumstances were much different than those of ours today, He was a baby with tiny fingers and tiny toes. His mother tended to His physical needs by feeding Him, rocking Him, bathing Him, soothing Him and changing Him. She must have felt the same connection to Him as we feel to our own children. Could you imagine your own child on the cross? How would that feel?
Jesus was Innocent:
Jesus lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15). Can you imagine being able to live your life without sin? If you lived at that time and were a follower of Jesus, how would you feel seeing him on that cross knowing that he was sinless? Most people today become very upset over the killing of innocent life. Christians vehemently and rightfully oppose abortion because it is the killing of innocence. When you think of the cross, are you saddened by the thought of an innocent person dying the death that he died?
John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept.” Have you ever thought of Jesus in this manner? When I think of Jesus, I don’t think of a man weeping; however, in the hours leading up to His arrest, the Bible clearly shows that Jesus was distressed by the events He knew would ultimately take place. Have you ever felt distressed and prayed to God that things would change? Try to place yourself in the Garden knowing what Jesus knew. Consider the impact this would have on you.
Jesus triumphed over death (Acts 2:27). If He had not risen, we could not be saved. Rejoice at this thought and always give thanks to God for the gift of His Son.
by Beth Drake
Published in the Spring 2010 issue V3N2
In Your Own Words: The Lord’s Supper
(aka: Reader Polls)
When partaking of the Lord’s Supper, what do your thoughts focus on?
The events leading to and the actual crucifixion
• Christ’s death for me, but sometimes I get distracted
• Christ dying on the cross for me
• Each time is different, but mostly on the Christ death on the cross and the suffering he went through before he died.
• Christ on the cross
• Christ’s Death
• The Lord’s crucifixion
What methods do you use to keep from being distracted by your children or other distractions nearby?
• Reading one of the accounts from the Bible
• Taking notes is the best thing for me, that way I listen better to write down scriptures, etc.
• Trying to visualize the suffering Christ bore
• If I have trouble focusing, I either read about this event in the gospels or read a song which tells me about it. I pray mostly.
• Keeping my eyes closed, reading passages in the Bible
• Sometimes reading scriptures & sitting near the front
• I try to think about the song that was just led or I get out my Bible and look up the account in Matthew 27
Published in the Spring 2010 issue V3N2
For Further Study and Thought:
Am I taking the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner? 1 Cor. 11:20-34
How is Jesus being the bread of life important to the Lord’s Supper? John 6:26-58
How does the Passover relate to the Lord’s Supper? Exodus 12, 1 Cor. 5:7-8
How does the Old Testament sacrifices compare with Christ’s sacrifice? Lev. 4, Heb. 9:11-26, Heb. 13: 10-16, 1Pet. 1:18-19
How does Christ’s body of the Lord’s Supper effect or relate to the church? Col. 1:22, Heb. 10:10, 1 Pet. 2:24, 1 Cor. 10:16-17, Eph. 5:23, Rom. 12:4-5
What does Christ’s blood do for you? Acts 20:28, Rom. 5:9, Eph. 1:7, 2:13, Heb. 10:19, 1 John 1:7
Originally printed in the Spring 2010 issue V3N2
Yours and Mine
by Amy Ellis
Your love,… My example
Your glory,… My awe
Your body,… My shame
Your suffering,… My sin
Your death, …My only hope
Your blood, …My forgiveness
Your sacrifice,… My blessing
Your resurrection, …My eternal Life
originally printed in the Spring 2010 issue V3N2
Connected to His humanness,
Awed by His Godly prefection,
Humbled by His willingness,
Thankful for His coming,
Grieved for the pain He suffered,
Sorrowed for adding to His burden,
Indebted for my sins being paid,
Free for my sins have been removed,
Overjoyed at His resurrection,
Impowered by His victory,
Hopeful for our future together,
Loved…because he first loved me!
by Amy Ellis
Originally printed in the Spring 2010 V3N2