Memorials: Who God Remembers

imagesThe first time the word 'memorial' is mentioned in the Bible it referred to the name God used to reveal Himself to Moses and the children of Israel. "Then Moses said to God, 'Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM,' Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' Moreover God said to Moses, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: 'The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations'" (Exodus 3:13-15).

A memorial is a reminder. It can be an engraved stone like a tombstone, a brass plaque that marks the time, place, and event of something or someone significant. It can be a religious service to remember the life of someone dear who has died. Its purpose is to remind people of something or someone of significance.

One of the New Testaments most interesting stories is of the salvation of the house of Cornelius, the Roman centurion. He was an authority figure of the oppressive Roman Empire that had imposed its power upon the people of Israel, yet his good deeds, prayers and gifts to the poor had ascended into heaven as 'a memorial' capturing the very heart and attention of God Himself. God could not do without such a Roman in His kingdom! He sent an angel to Cornelius's house instructing him to find a man named Simon Peter who spoke to him words of eternal life. His whole household was saved. God remembered Cornelius.

God wants to be remembered for God wants to be loved. The gospels record the story of a woman named Mary who poured out upon Jesus the contents of a flask of very expensive oil of spikenard, an ancient and valued perfume. Some estimate the value of it at nearly $30,000.00 in today's currency. Different gospels emphasized different aspects of what she anointed; Matthew and Mark the anointing of Jesus' head, while John emphasized the feet. Jesus Himself proclaimed that His whole body was being anointed for burial.

Some of the disciples were indignant towards Mary and 'criticized her sharply' for wasting something precious on Jesus that may have been used for the poor. Jesus came to her defense and rebuked them by saying, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her" (Matthew 26:10-13).

Once again we find the word 'memorial', but this time it is to remember the woman who placed such an extreme value on Jesus. Jesus said that her story would be told wherever 'this' gospel is preached. Not just any gospel is 'this' gospel! If Jesus is not held in extreme honor and loved in such a radical fashion then the gospel being preached is at best an incomplete one.

It is true that God remembers everyone. He has a very good memory. But what is more especially true is that He pays special attention to those who love Him. He knows who you are and He will not forget you.