As we consider the Lord’s Supper, a major part of the celebration of the Supper is the meditation of the recipient. In particular, the Supper is a meditation on the passion of Christ and in this meditation one moves from beholding the cross to closing with Christ. It is in this meditating on the cross that we set our “Amen” to the promise of the gospel. As we prepare for the Lord’s Supper, we should become acutely aware of the gravity of our sin, the pain and suffering it laid on Jesus in His passion, and the redemptive glory of His sacrifice.
It was expected that the Lord of glory should live a pleasant life with full enjoyment of all of the delights appropriate to a king. However, on the contrary, He was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Although his whole life was worse than ordinary men, the last scene of His life was particularly tragic. The Son of God placed Himself under a very low condition to which He humbled Himself even to the point of death. He bore our sorrows and griefs and did not shrink from them nor sink under them (Isaiah 53:4). The load was exceedingly heavy, yet He persevered until He said “It is finished.” He was indeed “stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4). He received wounds and stripes according to the merciless penalty of the Roman law. Although not a single bone was broken, yet every part of His body, from the crown of His head which was crowned with thorns to the soles of His feet which were nailed to the cross, was smitten. On the cross, nothing appeared but wounds and bruises. He was wronged, abused, oppressed, and ill-treated. He was afflicted in body and soul as one who had no comforter.
All of this was done for us and for our salvation. Truly, He was pierced through for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). We were the ones who should have received God’s wrath and curse, yet the Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him (Isaiah 53:6). In his commentary of Isaiah 53, Matthew Henry states
Being made sin for us, He underwent the sentence sin had subjected us to, that we should eat in sorrow all the days of our life and thereby relaxed much of the rigour and extremity of the sentence as to us.
Because He was made sin for us, He was tried as the most wicked of men; He was apprehended and taken into custody, and made a prisoner. He was oppressed by wicked men and yet He did not open His mouth to vindicate Himself (Isaiah 53:7-8). He was cut off by an untimely death though He lived a perfectly innocent and most useful life. He was stricken to death, to the grave which He made with the wicked. At the cross, we see God’s disposition towards sin and yet we see the glory and the holiness of God fully vindicated.
This devotional meditation should bring us both to repentance and to thanksgiving that Christ’s death in the end brings us to salvation. This highlights that penitential worship is an important aspect of the Supper. May we never take our eyes away from the cross of Christ.