STUDY ARTICLE 4
Why We Attend the Memorial
“Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”—LUKE 22:19.
SONG 20 You Gave Your Precious Son
1-2. (a) When especially do we remember a loved one who has died? (b) What did Jesus institute the night before he died?
NO MATTER how long it has been since our loved ones have died, we still remember them. The anniversary of their death usually brings especially vivid memories to mind.
2 Each year, we are among the millions worldwide who gather on the anniversary of the death of someone we dearly love—Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 1:8) We come together to remember the one who gave his life as a ransom to save us from sin and death. (Matt. 20:28) In fact, Jesus wanted his followers to remember his death. The night before he died, he instituted a special evening meal and commanded: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” *—Luke 22:19.
3. What will we discuss in this article?
3 A small number of those attending the Memorial of Christ’s death cherish a heavenly hope. But many millions who have an earthly hope are also present. In this article, we will consider reasons why both groups are eager to attend the Memorial each year. We will also examine how we benefit from attending. Let us start by considering some reasons why the anointed attend.
WHY ANOINTED ONES ATTEND
4. Why do anointed ones partake of the bread and the wine at the Memorial?
4 Each year, anointed ones look forward to attending the Memorial as partakers. Why do they appropriately partake of the bread and the wine? To answer that, consider what happened on the final night of Jesus’ earthly life. After the Passover meal, Jesus instituted what has come to be known as the Lord’s Evening Meal. He passed the bread and the wine to his 11 faithful apostles and told them to eat and drink. Jesus spoke to them about two covenants, or agreements—the new covenant and the Kingdom covenant. * (Luke 22:19, 20, 28-30) These covenants opened up the way for those apostles and a limited number of others to become kings and priests in heaven. (Rev. 5:10; 14:1) Only the anointed remnant, * who are in these two covenants, may partake of the bread and the wine at the Memorial.
5. What do the anointed recognize about the hope they have been given?
5 Here is another reason why the anointed are eager to attend the Memorial: This observance gives them an opportunity to contemplate their hope. Jehovah has given them a remarkable hope—to enjoy immortal and incorruptible life in heaven, to serve alongside the glorified Jesus Christ and the rest of the 144,000 and, above all, to be in the very presence of Jehovah God! (1 Cor. 15:51-53; 1 John 3:2) The anointed recognize that they have been invited to enjoy such privileges in heaven. But to be admitted to heaven, they must remain faithful until their death. (2 Tim. 4:7, 8) It brings the anointed great joy to reflect on their heavenly hope. (Titus 2:13) What about the “other sheep”? (John 10:16) What are some reasons why they attend the Memorial?
WHY THE OTHER SHEEP ATTEND
6. Why do the other sheep attend the Memorial each year?
6 The other sheep attend the Memorial, not as partakers, but as observers. In 1938, those with the earthly hope were for the first time specifically invited to attend the Memorial. The Watchtower of March 1, 1938, stated: “It will be entirely right and proper for the [other sheep] to be present at such meeting and observe what is done. . . . It should be and is a time of rejoicing for them also.” Like invited guests who are happy to observe a wedding ceremony, the other sheep are happy to be present as observers at the Memorial.
7. Why do the other sheep look forward to the Memorial discourse?
7 The other sheep too contemplate their hope. They look forward to the Memorial discourse, for much of it focuses on what Christ and his 144,000 corulers will do for faithful humans during the Thousand Year Reign. Under the leadership of their King Jesus Christ, those heavenly rulers will help transform the earth into a paradise and lift obedient humankind to perfection. How thrilling it is for the millions of observers at the Memorial to imagine the future fulfillment of Bible prophecies, such as those found at Isaiah 35:5, 6; 65:21-23; and Revelation 21:3, 4. By picturing themselves and their loved ones in that new world, they strengthen their hope for the future and their determination never to stop serving Jehovah.—Matt. 24:13; Gal. 6:9.
8. What is another reason why the other sheep attend the Memorial?
8 Consider another reason why the other sheep attend the Memorial. They want to show their love and support for the anointed. God’s Word foretold that a close bond would exist between the anointed and those with the earthly hope. How so? Let us discuss a few examples.
9. What does the prophecy recorded at Zechariah 8:23 indicate about the way the other sheep feel about the anointed?
9 Read Zechariah 8:23. This prophecy paints a touching picture of the way the other sheep feel about their anointed brothers and sisters. The expressions “a Jew” and “you people” refer to the same group—the anointed remnant. (Rom. 2:28, 29) The “ten men out of all the languages of the nations” represent the other sheep. They “take firm hold of”—loyally attach themselves to—the anointed, joining them in pure worship. Naturally, then, on the night of the Memorial, the other sheep show their close attachment to the anointed by being present with them.
10. What has Jehovah done in fulfillment of the prophecy found at Ezekiel 37:15-19, 24, 25?
10 Read Ezekiel 37:15-19, 24, 25. In fulfillment of this prophecy, Jehovah has brought the anointed and the other sheep together in an unbreakable bond of unity. The prophecy mentions two sticks. Those with the heavenly hope are like the stick “for Judah” (the tribe from which the kings of Israel were chosen), and those with the earthly hope are like the stick “of Ephraim.” * Jehovah would unite the two groups so that they would become “one stick.” This means that they serve unitedly under their one King, Christ Jesus. Each year, the anointed and the other sheep attend the Memorial, not as two separate groups, but as “one flock” under “one shepherd.”—John 10:16.
11. How do “the sheep” mentioned at Matthew 25:31-36, 40 primarily show their support of Christ’s brothers?
11 Read Matthew 25:31-36, 40. “The sheep” in this parable represent righteous ones in the time of the end who have the earthly hope—that is, the other sheep. They loyally support the remaining ones of Christ’s spirit-anointed brothers primarily by helping them to fulfill an enormous responsibility—the worldwide preaching and disciple-making work.—Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20.
12-13. What are some further ways in which the other sheep show their support for Christ’s brothers?
12 Every year in the weeks leading up to the Memorial, the other sheep show their support for Christ’s brothers by sharing fully in a global campaign to invite interested ones to the Memorial. (See the box “ Are You Planning Ahead for the Memorial Season?”) They also help make all the necessary arrangements so that the Memorial can be held in every congregation worldwide, even though most congregations do not have any partakers in attendance. The other sheep are thrilled to support Christ’s brothers in such ways. These sheep know that Jesus views what they do for his anointed brothers as if they were doing it for him personally.—Matt. 25:37-40.
13 What are some additional reasons why all of us, regardless of our hope, attend the Memorial?
WHY WE ALL ATTEND
14. How have Jehovah and Jesus shown great love for us?
14 We are thankful for the love that Jehovah and Jesus have shown us. Jehovah has demonstrated his love for us in many ways, but one way stands out above all others. Our God made his greatest expression of unselfish love by sending his precious Son to suffer and die for us. (John 3:16) We recognize that Jesus too showed great love by willingly giving his life for us. (John 15:13) We can never repay Jehovah and Jesus for the love they have shown us. But we can show our thankfulness by how we live our life each day. (Col. 3:15) And we attend the Memorial so that we may remember their love for us as well as show our love for them.
15. Why do both the anointed and the other sheep highly value the gift of the ransom?
15 We highly value the gift of the ransom. (Matt. 20:28) The anointed treasure the ransom, which makes their wonderful hope possible. Because of their faith in Christ’s sacrifice, Jehovah has declared them righteous and has adopted them as his children. (Rom. 5:1; 8:15-17, 23) The other sheep too are thankful for the ransom. On the basis of their faith in Christ’s shed blood, they have a clean standing before God, can render him sacred service, and have the hope of coming “out of the great tribulation.” (Rev. 7:13-15) One way that both the anointed and the other sheep show their gratitude for the ransom is by being present at the Memorial each year.
16. What is another reason why we attend the Memorial?
16 Another reason why we attend the Memorial is that we want to obey Jesus. Regardless of our hope for the future, we take personally the command that Jesus gave on the night he instituted the Memorial: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”—1 Cor. 11:23, 24.
HOW WE ALL BENEFIT FROM ATTENDING
17. How does the Memorial help us draw closer to Jehovah?
17 We draw closer to Jehovah. (Jas. 4:8) As we have learned, the Memorial gives us an opportunity to think about the hope Jehovah has given us and to meditate on the great love he has shown us. (Jer. 29:11; 1 John 4:8-10) When we reflect on our sure hope for the future and on God’s unfailing love for us, we deepen our own love for Jehovah and strengthen our bond with him.—Rom. 8:38, 39.
18. What does meditating on Jesus’ example move us to do?
18 We are moved to imitate Jesus’ example. (1 Pet. 2:21) In the days leading up to the Memorial, we focus on Bible accounts about Jesus’ final week on earth, his death, and his resurrection. Then on the evening of the Memorial, the discourse reminds us of Jesus’ love for us. (Eph. 5:2; 1 John 3:16) As we read about Jesus’ self-sacrificing example and meditate on it, we feel compelled to “go on walking just as that one walked.”—1 John 2:6.
19. How can we remain in God’s love?
19 We are even more determined to remain in God’s love. (Jude 20, 21) We remain in God’s love by doing all we can to obey him, sanctify his name, and bring joy to his heart. (Prov. 27:11; Matt. 6:9; 1 John 5:3) The Memorial observance moves us to be more determined to live each day in a way that says to Jehovah, ‘I want to remain in your love forever!’
20. What sound reasons do we have for attending the Memorial?
20 Whether our hope is to live forever in heaven or on earth, we have sound reasons to attend the Memorial. Each year when we gather together on that date, we remember the death of someone we love, Jesus Christ. Above all, we remember the greatest act of love—the love that Jehovah showed us by giving his Son as a ransom. This year, the Memorial will be held on the evening of Friday, April 15, 2022. We love Jehovah and his Son, so on the anniversary of Jesus’ death, nothing could be more important to us than being present at the Memorial.
SONG 16 Praise Jah for His Son, the Anointed
^ par. 5 Whether our hope is to live in heaven or on a paradise earth, we look forward to attending the Memorial each year. This article will discuss the sound Scriptural reasons why we attend and how we benefit from doing so.
^ par. 2 These words have been rendered “Do this in memory of me” (Today’s English Version) and “Do this as a memorial of me” (The Jerusalem Bible).
^ par. 4 For more information about the new covenant and the Kingdom covenant, see the article “You Will Become ‘a Kingdom of Priests’” in the October 15, 2014, issue of The Watchtower, pp. 15-17.
^ par. 4 EXPRESSION EXPLAINED: The expression anointed remnant refers to the remaining anointed Christians still alive on earth.
^ par. 10 For more information about the prophecy of the two sticks found in Ezekiel chapter 37, see Pure Worship of Jehovah—Restored At Last!, pp. 130-135, pars. 3-17.