Remembrance – The Scriptures and the Word


Biblical Text: John 2:13-22
Full Sermon Text

I used the title remembrance because that is the word John uses twice in the text to help explain it. John has yanked an event out of time, an event from Holy Week, and put it at the start of his gospel. He’s done this because the spiritual importance to him, what he wants to get across to us, he’s only seen in remembrance. And his importance is different than that attached to the event by the other gospels.

The event is the cleansing of the temple. To the other gospel writers this event is the action of the returning king, even if it is drenched in irony as in Mark. To John, in remembrance, this is the start of the sacrifice. This is where Jesus starts to clean the temple. But the temple is not one of stones. It is one of flesh. Jesus chases the animals out, because he becomes the offering.

The two pieces of music I’ve left in here pick up on that theme. The choir sings “What Wondrous Love” which is a gorgeous meditation on that sacrifice. And I’ve left in the hymn we sang after the sermon, LSB 431 Not All the Blood of Beasts which contemplates exactly that exchange. “A sacrifice of nobler name and richer blood than they.”

What we remember – What God remembers

Text: Mark 14:1-11

Jesus will issue the disciples commands like watch! or like love one another. He will also tell us to forget things – like God forgetting our sins. There are only two things that Jesus says remember. We hear the one every communion Sunday – Do this (bread and wine, body & blood) in remembrance of me. This text is the other one – what this woman did will be told in memory of her. What did this woman do? She broke the alabaster jar. She poured everything out without saving a drop. She did it all for Jesus sake. What did Jesus do that we remember in the Lord’s Supper. He poured out his very life blood for our sake. What we do for ourselves lasts as long as we have the strength to keep it there. Even what we do for others, while seemingly good, will not be remembered. Only what is done in Christ is remembered. Only the one that loses their life will find it. For ultimately isn’t that what life is – being remembered by God?