The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is the occasion for remembering the person and work of Christ Jesus. In particular, when we meditate on the Lord’s Supper, we should look towards the vicarious nature of the cross. Consider the words of the Apostle Peter:
… and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. 1 Peter 2:24
We must first see that Christ, the very Son of God, bore our nature. It was the all-essential preliminary to His whole work. In order for Him to be our Head, He became “The Word made flesh” (cf. John 1:14). In other words, the incarnation of the Son was absolutely necessary for Him to be our Savior and Redeemer. It was necessary to be made like His brothers in all things so that He might become a faithful and perfect high priest (cf. Hebrews 2:17).
In the ultimate expression of humility, the Son of God took upon Himself a true human nature. The whole time of His earthly life from His birth to His crucifixion on the cross was one humiliation after another. This include the troubles of His childhood; the opposition to His ministry; the rejection of the scribes and Pharisees to His teaching; His agony in the garden; His torture; His thirst on the cross; and His burial in the earth. It was one insult after another. All this he endured for us, yet without sin (cf. Hebrews 4:15).
Moreover, this suffering was for us and for our salvation – namely, He suffered for our sins. This is clearly represented throughout the scriptures
Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried. Isaiah 53:4
For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6
Christ bore our sins in the sense that He bore the penalty of our sins. As James Waddle Alexander notes,
We were to have been punished. Christ was punished for us. We were to have died. Christ died for us. It is the plain signification of the expression often repeated in Scripture; ‘Christ died for us’, that is, died in our stead.
Christ so bore our sins as to remove from us all their penal consequences and secure our salvation. By that suffering, He exhausted the penalty and fully discharged the debt.
When we gather around the Lord’s Table , we recognize that Jesus the very Son of God has been sent by the Father to call a rebellious and sinful people to Himself. At the Supper, God’s elect are called to enter into the great banquet – the wedding feast of the Lamb. The faithful come to the Supper and there, they see how God can be just and yet the justifier of the ungodly that believe in Jesus (cf. Romans 3:26).
At the Lord’s Table, the history of our salvation in Christ is recounted and the signs of the New Covenant are on the table before us. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is the memorial of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Just as the Passover was a memorial of redemption from Egypt, so the Supper is a memorial of our redemption from this world. This is why we can say that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of the incarnation of the Son and His redemptive sacrifice.