A Memorial for Jesus?

It’s March already, and we will celebrate Easter at the end of this month.  Just now two people came to my door and handed me a flier.  They said that they were inviting me to a “memorial service” for the death of Jesus.  A memorial service?  For Jesus?  Weird.  I knew that the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate Easter, so I knew who they were.   I asked, “You don’t celebrate the Resurrection, do you?”  They replied, “No, we celebrate a memorial for his death.”  I told them that I celebrated Christ’s resurrection, and handed back the flier.

As they left, I thought “how sad!”  They remember the death of Jesus, but don’t believe in the resurrection.  Of course that’s because they don’t believe in the deity of Christ.  They are missing the very heart of the Gospel, that Jesus (God’s Son!) came into the world, died for our sins on the cross, and rose on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4).  The resurrection was absolutely central to the preaching of the Apostles in Acts.  Paul said that if Christ has not been raised, our faith is worthless and our sins have not been forgiven (1 Cor. 15:17).

As we prepare for Easter, take some time to reflect on the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection.  The weeks before Easter, called Lent, is traditionally a time for reflection, prayer and fasting.  It’s a great time for a spiritual Spring house cleaning.  If we prepare our hearts during this month, we will be ready to pull out the stops and joyfully celebrate the resurrection on Easter.  And if the Jehovah’s Witnesses come to your door to invite you to their “memorial service,” tell them ‘No thanks, I celebrate the resurrection!”

Christ is Risen!

For some ideas about how to prepare your heart for Easter, see my article, What is Lent?

 

4 Responses to A Memorial for Jesus?

  • Dumi says:

    Hi,

    What is really important, to do what Jesus said must be done or to do what we think is important?

    Is it wrong to listen to what Jesus said in Matt. 26: 26-28?

    Jesus did not say we must celebrate his resurrection, so why is it celebrated?

    • Ken says:

      Of course we should take the Lord’s Supper, but we can also celebrate the resurrection. The resurrection was central to the preaching of the Apostles. The early church shifted their day of worship from Saturday, which is the Jewish day of worship, to Sunday because that is the day that Christ rose from the dead. In a sense, every time we have a worship service on Sunday, we are remembering the resurrection.

  • Nelson says:

    One of my best friends is a JW and he explained it all to me, they do believe in Jesus resurrection, “they just don’t celebrate it in a special way because the bible never tells them to like it does the memorial. He said it doesn’t tell them not to either, but they refrain from doing Easter related things because a lot of it has its roots in pagan religions.” It wasn’t even considered a christian holiday until around the 19th century.

    Also you raised a question in my head, how is it that Easter always lands on a Sunday? “Sundays” weren’t a thing yet, they used the Jewish lunar calender and according to that calender the day we was resurrected should of been on Friday/Saturday. Why do so many churches celebrate it on Sunday? I have family in Spain who celebrate it on Nissan 14, and they are just Catholic. Do many do it on Sunday just because its more convenient?

    • Ken says:

      There is evidence that Easter was celebrated as early as the 2nd century. A few centuries later it was a major Christian holiday. Of course the Easter bunny and all that have nothing to do with the resurrection. The English name for Easter has a pagan origin. But in most European language the name for Easter is derived from the Greek word pascha, which in turn comes from the Hebrew word for “Passover.” The early Christian writers, who wrote in Greek, used “The Lord’s Passover” as a name for Easter. In Chinese and Japanese, Easter is called “resurrection festival.” So it is mainly English that uses a word with a pagan origin for the day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

      Christ rose from the dead on the third day, as He predicted. He died on Friday (Passover). Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath. He rose on Sunday, the first day of the week (Lk. 24:1). That’s why we celebrate Easter on a Sunday. Christians use a different method of calculation to determine 14 Nissan, but our date of Easter is the Sunday after the Passover.

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"True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." -- C. S. Lewis