I HAVE A vivid recollection of that day.
My wife came in the room, turned on the TV set and then spoke in shaken tones. She said, “They’ve flown a jet-liner into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York…” For the next several hours I sat transfixed before the television and watched in horror as the events of 911 unfolded.
Twenty-one years after that dreadful day, some Americans, like myself, look back on September 11 with intense emotion. We recall those gaping wounds in the sides of the towers. We remember those ill-fated flights and how they were intentionally slammed into the very icons of our nation. We remember those thick plumes of noxious smoke as they bellowed out of the top of those lofty skyscrapers and into our collective conscience. We remember our own anxiety and ponder what must have raced through the hearts of fellow-citizens as they contemplated the end of their earthly existence and the brevity of human life. We remember the internal shock of watching the first, and then the second tower plummet to the ground. We remember those feelings of helplessness and despair as lower Manhattan was engulfed in ash and debris.
But may I suggest, dear reader, that there is a far more terrible tragedy that warrants our joint remembrance.
Every first day of the week (Acts 20:7), we need to call to memory (1 Cor. 11:23-26) those horrific events which transpired nearly 2,000 years ago:
- We need to remember the murderous plot against the innocent Son (Mt. 26:3-4; Heb. 4:15; 7:26).
- We need to remember the Lord’s internal struggle as He pondered His impending death (Mt. 26:37-39).
- We need to remember His betrayal at the hands of one of His own disciples (Mt. 26:47-50).
- We need to remember the ill-informed attempt to thwart His crucifixion (Mt. 26:51-54).
- We need to remember the disciples’ cowardice and how they fled for their lives when He needed them the most (Mt. 26:56).
- We need to remember the howls of the angry mob as they shouted, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Mk. 15:13-14).
- We need to remember the incredible injustice of both the Jewish and Roman courts (Mt. 26:57ff).
- We need to remember Pilate’s timidity before that blood-thirsty crowd (Mt. 27:24-26; Lk. 23:13-25).
- We need to remember the brutal flogging (i.e., “little death”) at the hands of the Roman lictors (Jn. 19:1).
- We need to remember Peter’s lying about his association with Jesus (Mt. 26:69-75).
- We need to remember the slanderous mockery of the soldiers, priests, and thieves (Mt. 27:27ff; 39-44).
- We need to remember the Lord’s humiliation as He was stripped of His clothing and numbered with lawless, ungodly men (Isa. 53:12; Mt. 27:28; Heb. 12:2).
- We need to remember that ruthless blow to His head (Mt. 27:30). We need to remember the heavy burden of the cross that was thrust upon His weary shoulders (Mt. 27:32).
- We need to remember those cruel nails that pierced His hands and feet and how that He was suspended between holy God and sinful man (Jn. 3:14; 12:34).
- We need to remember the bitter taste of sour wine mingled with gall (Mt. 27:34).
- We need to remember His desperate cry to His own Father (Mt. 27:46).
- We need to remember the frightful earthquake that shook the earth the moment the Savior died (Mt. 27:54).
- Perhaps most importantly, we need to remember that our own sins made this barbaric occasion necessary (1 Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53).
“Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Thine agony, lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary.”
“Do this in remembrance of Me…” (1 Cor. 11:24, 25).