Drinking From the Cup of Jesus

April 8, 2008

In John 18 we see Jesus about to be arrested in the Garden and His power was evident in just saying, “I am........He”. What some scholars think were 600 roman soldiers, some temple policemen and a mess of Pharisees, drew back and fell down at the uttering of this statement. May He affect us like that in a variety of ways!

 

Then Peter does something that most of us have done at one time or another: he tried to interfere with God’s plan. His motives were great; he simply didn’t know he was interfering.

 

“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.” (John 18:10)

 

Jesus’ response was basically: “I’m gonna do what I came here to do.”

 

“So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?’” (John 18:11)

 

Jesus talked about cups a few times. One was a sobering place: when James and John sought to be placed in seats next to Jesus....in authority.

 

“But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’” (Mark 10:38)

 

In the Old Testament the term “cup” often referred to the outpouring of God’s wrath.

 

“Awake, awake! Stand up, O Jerusalem, You who have drunk at the hand of the LORD The cup of His fury; You have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, And drained it out.” (Isaiah 51:17)

 

“Thus says your Lord, The LORD and your God, Who pleads the cause of His people: ‘See, I have taken out of your hand the cup of trembling, The dregs of the cup of My fury; You shall no longer drink it.’” (Isaiah 51:22)

 

“For thus says the LORD God of Israel to me: ‘Take this wine cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it.’” (Jeremiah 25:15)

 

“You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, The cup of horror and desolation, The cup of your sister Samaria.” (Ezekiel 23:33)

 

Really, could James and John drink of that all so important, long awaited cup? Or, was it something that only Jesus could do? Only Jesus could do this and when He did, He took on all that fury, trembling, horror and desolation.

 

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 

When He drank from that cup, Jesus took on the Father’s wrath for us. Only Jesus could do this, so He says this:

 

“But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’” (Mark 10:38)

 

John knows that he has been confronted with this idea before. He KNOWS that only Jesus can do this. He KNOWS that only Jesus REALLY wants to do this.

 

It’s the same cup Jesus talks about in Gethsemane.

 

“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’” (Matthew 26:39)

 

It’s the same cup spoken of again in Matthew 26:

 

“Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.’” (Matthew 26:42)

 

It’s the cup He spoke of at the Last Supper.

 

“Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’” (Luke 22:20)

 

Only Jesus could drink of this cup yet, in Matthew 20 when Jesus tells John and James what it means, they say, “We are able.”

 

You know, we do that a lot. We believe we can do things that only Jesus can do for us, because we really don’t know how hard those things will be. In this case Jesus tells them, “Not only can you do this, but you will do it.”

 

“So He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.’” (Matthew 20:23)

 

This is important for us because we get a chance to drink from this cup too. We won’t be taking on the Father’s wrath like Jesus did but we will have a chance to experience another aspect of what Jesus did on the Cross; we will have a chance to suffer because of someone else’s sin.

 

Here and there, we will be called to die to ourselves for someone else’s sakes and not just for brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus did it for non-believers (because that is all that existed at that time).

 

Sometimes we will be called to do that: to ride out some pain, to suffer, to put up with indignities, grief, and treachery - for God’s sake.

 

“In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’” (1 Corinthians 11:25)

 

Whenever we drink of it (and I’m not just talking about when we drink some grape juice as we take “communion” in a church building or in someone’s home)….whenever we drink of that cup....and suffer....for God’s sake, we are to do it with Him in mind ...recollecting Him.

 

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)

 

Every single time we die in some way for Him, we proclaim the Lord’s death. Why do we do this? We do it because Jesus died for us and, in Him, we died too.

 

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3)

 

“I have been crucified with Christ…” (Galatians 2:20a)

 

It is our privilege to suffer for Him; it’s a picture of Him...in us.

 

Jesus picks and chooses His words with care when He says this:

 

“Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” (John 18:11b)

 

It’s a huge deal. It’s connective tissue for us, between all the mentions of His cup. It’s a hint for us so that when the idea comes up, we can ask that same question.

 

“Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” (John 18:11b)

 

We can ask it because, after all, we have the same Father.

 

Facing the reality of this can be daunting. This is why the Lord has provided us a forerunner into that kind of suffering. In other words, we know Someone else knows what we are experiencing!

 

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever…” (Hebrews 6:19-20)

 

I believe that when we fully acknowledge and then shrug off our fear of the pain and of the loss and enter suffering on His behalf, we can approach that throne like never before.

 

There is a way to do this that has been provided by the Lord. It is found in the rest of a verse that I partially quoted earlier.

 

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Galatians 2:20-21)

 

As we encounter various trials, let’s remember that it is not we who live, but Christ who lives in us. Let’s not set aside the grace of God; let’s not squander the holy ability that we have, in Christ, to endure whatever comes to us.

 

Instead, let’s remember that it is Jesus who is going through this trial – and we, in Him. As we drink the cup that is set before us, let’s remember that this is His cup…being lived out in what we see as our lives….but which really belong to Him.

 

When he told James and John, “You will indeed drink My cup He was speaking to us as well. He said it was His cup.

 

It still is.

 

Jesus can do this through us. Let’s drink the cup that is set before us confident not in ourselves, because we know we have great limitations. Let us be confident in HIS ability to endure our trials through us.

 

Let’s drink the cup that is set before us.

 

 

 

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

Decatur, Texas

© April 8, 2008

(For use with permission)

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