The Expository Files


 Why We Celebrate Jesus' Death

Think about this for a moment.

Suppose a group of admirers of Abraham Lincoln got together and decided that they were going to celebrate him. They would remember his work, his wit, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, how he fought to keep the nation intact. Perhaps they would also remember his death at the assassin's hand, but that would be an acknowledged tragedy but not a part of any celebration., but it might be pondered what more he could have accomplished had he lived.

Similarly, if John Kennedy's admirer's got together to do the same thing, they might remember his charisma, his work in civil rights, his confrontation of the USSR with regard to the Cuban Missle crises. But again, his death would be a tragedy and, again, they might wonder what more he could have accomplished had he lived.

How unusual - what we remember about Jesus as His admirers and disciples. His death. We do not ponder for a moment how much better it might have been had He not been crucified. This is because His death was not a waste at all. In fact, it is the primary reason we gather on the Lord's day - to remember His death and its significance. His death was not the end of hope, but rather paved the way to redemption and hope and eternal life. This, we do celebrate as we commune with him and appreciate His love for us and contemplate His victory over the grave.

There are probably several reasons why disciples, even those who were with Him, treat His death so differently than we do the deaths of others. I believe the chief reason is because Jesus lives again, thus giving us an eternal hope.

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. 

 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

By Jon W. Quinn
The Final Page
From Expository Files 16.11; November 2009