It is Passion or Holy Week, ending with the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. However, in the meantime we have the scourging and the cross. This awful journey was taken by the Son or God, God of all gods’, the second person of the trinity for us that we might be saved from our sins. He substituted Himself for each of us that we would not die. I am talking about the second death or spiritual death, through which we go eternally to heaven or hell.
Can you drink the “cup of suffering?” What a question. But it is God’s question to each of us this Easter. “Can you handle it?” What is the cup of suffering? It is life’s trials and temptations. They come at us continually, without ceasing. That is the way that life is designed. We were never promised a rose garden, although I have always wondered why diving into a thorn infested garden was rosy. No we are promised the “valley of the shadow of death” from Psalm 23:4. That psalm says that we “walk through” and not to “fear no evil for You are with me.” It also says “my cup overflows.” Now that is a joyous way to look at our “cup” or life. But let’s go deeper.
The Prophet Isaiah said, “See I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger; from that cup, the goblet of my wrath you will never drink again” (Isaiah 51:22). This is speaking of Jesus taking this cup for us for the propitiation or covering of our sins. So do we understand this most profound of all concepts, the disciples didn’t. James and John’s mother came to Jesus asking for them to sit on the left and right sides of His throne in heaven, what gall. “You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” Matthew 20:22).
I think the answer to the question of can we take the cup is no without God’s help. That is why Jesus took communion in the Upper Room on the Passover. After washing the disciples’ feet (John 13) He wanted to show the ultimate gift or sacrifice, His life. So after supper He took the bread and after giving thanks to His Father in Heaven He broke and gave it to them saying, “This is My body broken for you, do this in remembrance of Me. In the same way after supper, saying, this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19-20). This is the Holy Communion made sacred by our Savior and Lord that night and for tonight for us.
But can you take the cup? Jesus said, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with” He was speaking of His disciples and that is us as well today.
We will suffer in this world, Jesus told us so. “But take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Yes, we will have trials and tribulations, seemingly beyond our ability to handle them. There will be illness and loss and fear and smears. But God took the cup for us. He is the One and only One who can take us through the trial so that we may be mature and complete lacking nothing. Often we hear “I’ve got this” or “I can handle it, God won’t give me more than I can handle, right?” Oh yes He will. He will give us much more than we can handle in this world, without His help. Don’t ever think you can handle it. But remember what He has done for us taking the cup. We will take the cup and we will have to drink it to the dregs. But are we going to take it with His help? Is He the One and only One we pray to hold the cup with us, to take the cup again with us?
When we take the cup together today, let us remember who took it first for us, in the remembrance of God. AMEN