"But Jesus said to Peter [after Peter sliced off the ear of one of the men arresting Jesus], 'Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?'" From John 18
In the other three Gospels, Jesus has only just been praying that this “cup” might pass without His having to drink it, and yet, according to Mark’s account, “it is not what I want but what you want” that matters to Him. But here’s what matters to us: What is this “cup”? What is the meaning of this that “the Father has given” Him on this night, and what will it mean for Jesus that He must “drink” it?
Looking back at the Old Testament, the Old Covenant, there are fourteen references, each using slightly different language, to describe a “cup of the Lord’s wrath” against the sin of the world and the accumulation of all wrongdoing throughout human history. Then, within the narrative of the Passover, we have the four promises of Exodus 6 – 1) “I will bring you out” 2) “I will deliver you” 3) “I will redeem you” 4) “I will take you as my people” – commemorated by four specific cups of wine – 1) The cup of sanctification 2) The cup of deliverance 3) The cup of redemption 4) The cup of restoration.
Now consider the promise of Isaiah 51, as it pertains to the coming of a Savior:
And why won’t we drink it again? Listen to Jesus, taking up the third cup (the cup of redemption) at that night’s Passover dinner:
As Jesus took and drank to the dregs the eternal “cup of the Lord’s wrath” on our behalf at the Cross, He was simultaneously pouring out His blood and thus, once and for all times, sealing a New Covenant between Himself and the Father. We are sanctified, delivered, redeemed and restored – the four cups of the Passover – because of the empty “cup of the Lord’s wrath” and the cup brimming over with Jesus’ shed blood. And what does He hold out to us?
Psalm 116 tells us: “the cup of salvation.”
And how full is that cup?
David declares: “my cup overflows.”
Grateful for our wonderful friend, Dale Brooks, who sent us this gem from Thomas Merton:
"Make ready for the Christ whose smile, like lightning, sets free the song
of everlasting glory that now sleeps, in your paper flesh, like dynamite."
Brothers and sisters, "the everlasting song of glory" is within us, "like dynamite," and it's our daily experience of the face - of the smile! - of Jesus that lights off this powder keg!
Closer, Jesus, draw us ever closer!