Permanent reminders. In the OT stone pillars were erected as memorials of striking events, as of the crossing of the Jordan (Josh. 4: 4–24). The Passover celebrated annually was a memorial of the Exodus from Egypt. In the NT Cornelius is told that his prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God (Acts 10: 4); that is, what he had done was as acceptable to God as the sacrificial offering made by a Jew in the Temple (Lev. 2: 2; Ps. 141: 2).
The Last Supper was to be repeated as a memorial of the death of Jesus (1 Cor. 11: 24), a bringing back into the present of that past event, the sacrifice of Christ, risen from the dead and victorious. Thus, the Christians' celebrations with bread and wine were believed to be the means by which the power of Jesus' accepted sacrifice could be continually made present in their midst.