Deuteronomy 8 verses 2, 11, 14, 18, 19 have an antiphonal chorus that works between the seriousness of the command to remember and the devastation wrought by the tragedy of forgetting. Should his temporal blessings make them flatter themselves with a sense of independence, they are warned not to “forget the Lord your God” (11) and ignore his commandments. “Remember” challenges the mind to grasp the covenantal mercy of God with such conscientious commitment that nothing can drive a wedge of temporal delusion between the moral and spiritual mind of a person and the infinite power and mercy of divine provision. When Jesus established the symbol of the final, ultimate, perfect redemptive act, he commanded his followers, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
The theme of the 2024 Founders Conference surrounds Paul’s admonition, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, out of the seed of David, according to my gospel.” God willing, and according to his enlightenment and strength, I want to discuss this sobering theme in a series of posts focusing on the biblical developments of “remember.” The word points to events that are both pivotal and central. Not only do they give a swift alteration of direction for humanity, but they rise to a culmination and a subsequent response in thought and deed. The flow of the entire biblical text presses forward to this command, “Remember Jesus Christ.” It summarizes every other call to remember. I intend also to describe historical manifestations of the loss (forgetting) and recovery (remembering) of this culminating event in the history of redemption.
“Remember” calls to mind central admonitions in the history of God’s revelation of redemptive power to his people. The command is not for a mere mental recall of an event or a casual reminder of a person’s name or status. It is a critical summons to put an event or person or commitment so at the center of your concern that the weight of its importance transforms your thinking. When the thief said to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom,” (Luke 23:42) he wanted to be taken personally by Jesus into that status of perfect, sinless, beneficent rulership. Jesus responded with an answer commensurate with the purpose of the request, “Truly I say to you, this day with me you will be in paradise” (Luke 23:44). “As surely as my work of atonement will bring me into the glory of heaven in the presence of the Father, so it will do for you.” The request of the crucified thief was for Jesus’ personal investment in the eternal well-being of his mind, body, and soul—”Remember.”
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8), involves more than simple mental recall, but an investment of life in the rhythm of divine labor. As God worked for six days in creation, so should these redeemed people labor for six days at life-sustaining tasks that deserved their energy. As God had finished creation and then rested, so were the people rescued from relentless labor in Egypt to embrace a sabbath as instituted and practiced by God on the seventh day. All the animals, each member of the family, all the nation would so esteem the glory of the Creator/Redeemer/Covenant God that their lives individually and corporately would be defined by it. “Remember Jesus Christ” has that same claim on the lives of his redeemed ones but with an even greater intensity in light of an even more powerful delivery.