An illustration of Jesus preaching to the disciples.

Remember when?

Harvest Partner — June 14, 2024

In the gospel accounts we read the words of Jesus and his astonishing work. What great lessons these would have been for his disciples.

The Lord was instilling in them what they needed to understand and would later need to remember. Their lives would be so different after his ascension and after the birth of the church on the day of Pentecost.

Often it seemed that the disciples didn’t quite grasp that the prophecies of centuries past, as well as those spoken by Jesus, were being fulfilled before their eyes.

As we read the chapters of the passion of Christ, we get the sense that, at least for a while, the disciples were disoriented by the crucifixion and by how things seemed to have ended.

By the time Jesus ascended to heaven they had clearly come around to believe and to act in faith, and waited in Jerusalem for “the promise of the Father”. Even though they couldn’t have guessed what the Holy Spirit’s arrival would look like, they believed, trusted, and acted in obedience anyway.

As their understanding of his words and actions grew, their lives were changed and redirected into a life-long path that none of them could have imagined. The Lord’s teaching, his signs and wonders, all contained critically important things to remember as they set out on their journey of ministry. They would see the fulfillment of his earlier promise, “Greater things than these will you do”. (John 14:12) They would face challenges beyond their imagination and capacity. However, the promise that Jesus would be with them to the end of the age clearly anchored them.

I wonder if those early apostles ever stopped to discuss among themselves and say to each other, “remember when Jesus said…?,” or “remember when Jesus did…?”.

Remembering and pondering what they had seen and heard when Jesus was walking with them was clearly stirring hope and faith in their hearts. This simple practice would have given them encouragement, guidance, and inspired them to persevere.

In the Bible, the word “remember” appears hundreds of times. In fact, in the Old Testament, God established festivals and celebrations to help his people remember his gracious and merciful actions on their behalf. They were occasions to specifically remember God’s deliverances, his protection, and his provisions in the past. Not only were they remembering important moments, but in faith, they were also anticipating blessings that would come through the Messiah.

Today, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper and remember the work of Christ on the cross and what is now possible for every human being because of his death, resurrection, and ascension. We receive communion as he told us to: “Do this in remembrance of me.”

It’s important to remember the right things at any time, but it’s crucially important as we face the challenges of this fallen world.

In our recent staff prayer time, we have been considering the valuable practice of intentionally remembering the right things. The following are a few of many blessings we noted.

  1. Remembering the words that Jesus spoke and what he did causes hope to rise in our hearts. In times of sorrow or despair, this can make a crucial difference in how we get to the next day.
  2. Remembering his words helps us understand the brokenness of the world, and stimulates wholesome thinking. It informs us of what is yet to come. (2 Peter 3:1-9; Rev 22)
  3. Remembering and meditating on the thousands promises that God makes establishes our faith in God. (Romans 10:17)
  4. Remembering God’s faithfulness in history and in our own personal journey of life stirs our gratitude and generosity.
  5. Remembering the cross and resurrection and partaking of the Lord’s Supper keeps the necessity of his sacrifice central in our thoughts until he comes again. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Remembering these truths and the promises of God anchors us, deters us from sin, and opens our hearts and minds to the wisdom of God. We need it in this world of chaos and ungodliness.

I invite you to consider the simple practice of building a growing list of “remember when” for your personal encouragement. Here are two simple steps.

  1. Revisit what God did and said throughout the Bible, and make notes for yourself. Review these from time to time.
  2. Revisit your life journey and remember specific instances or experiences when God undertook or helped you in some way. Pause, give thanks, praise God, and allow the Holy Spirit to increase hope and faith for your present and future circumstances.

The simple practice of writing these things down can be very helpful for our own remembering. It also helps us be prepared to give an answer for the hope that lies within us as a people on mission with God.

As we journey and serve the Lord, let’s remember the right things.


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