IN ALL THINGS GIVE THANKS TO OUR HEAVENLY FATHER IN CHRIST JESUS NAME
Dear Friends and Partners:
As we approach Easter, just a few thoughts to consider, Before We Drink The Cup:
“Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21.) “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” 22.) “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. 23.) Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” 24.) When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25.) Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26.) Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27.) and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28.) just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In this conversation that Jesus is having with the sons of Zebedee, he asks them if they can drink from the cup that he is going to drink from. Their answer, seemingly without hesitation, is yes. When I first read this passage my immediate thought was how arrogant they were to say “yes,” that they could drink from the same cup that Jesus was going to drink from.
Then I began to think about the cup that Jesus asked to be taken from him that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. As quickly as he asks this of his father he recants, saying, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
This cup is both the pouring out of his life as a “drink offering,” and the cup that he drinks when he gives up his life, conquers death and is resurrected on the 3rd day. This cup is the cup for our salvation that he is drinking. If there is any doubt that this is the cup that Jesus is speaking of in the garden all we have to do is look at what he says earlier that night when he is in the upper room with his disciples celebrating the Passover feast. Jesus, serving the meal does not drink from the cup of wine that follows the breaking of the bread and, in fact, he says to them “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:25.
During the Passover feast there are typically 4 cups of wine that are drunk (Exodus 6:6-7). The first 2 are drunk before the meal, the third cup is drunk during the meal and the last cup is drunk after the meal.
The first 2 cups essentially are memorials to God’s deliverance of the Israelites by taking them out of the land of Egypt and delivering them from Egyptian slavery.
The 3rd cup (not the 4th cup), which represents redemption, is actually the cup that Jesus does not drink when he says to his disciples that he will not “drink from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
In John 19:28-30, at the end of Jesus’ life, just before he gives up his spirit, “….knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” “A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30.) When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
When Jesus says, “I am thirsty,” is his thirst really a physical thirst or a thirst to drink from the cup that his Father sent him to drink through the sacrifice of his own life? Is this not the cup of salvation that Jesus yearns to drink? Nothing of this earth can possibly satisfy that thirst. The spoiled wine that he is given surely speaks to this. And once Jesus has sacrificed his life for us, thus, drinking the cup of salvation, upon his resurrection that same cup that he has drunk he then offers it to us to drink from.
Surely this would explain why, when the brothers of Zebedee say that they can drink from the cup that Jesus is going to drink he says: “You will indeed drink from my cup.” What yet remains to be explained, though, is what it will mean for them, and for anyone who drinks from this cup for the loss of ones own life in exchange for eternal life in Christ.
By way of explanation Jesus says: Matt 20:25-30“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. . 26.) Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27.) and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28.) just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Perhaps what Paul says in 2Timothy 4:6 “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near,” explains it best. Paul, who has first drunk from the cup of salvation that has been extended to him by Jesus, then allows his own life to be poured out as a drink offering on behalf of others until the end of his physical life. He states this even more plainly in Philemon 2:17 “But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.”
What Jesus is telling the sons of Zebedee is exactly the example that Paul has lived out based on Jesus’s own poured out life for us. “Yes,” Jesus says, “you will drink from my cup,” but if you do then there is a cost involved and that cost is the laying down of your own life by letting yourselves be poured out as a drink offering on behalf of others in accordance with my Father’s will. “Just as I came to serve and not be served,” and just as I modeled for you what it means to “Love God with your hearts minds and souls and your neighbors as yourselves,” those who will drink from my cup must be willing to, likewise, like Paul, abandon all that was our former selves.
It’s Good Friday, today. In 2 days Christians will gather together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. On that day the cup will be passed among us. Before we drink, though, are we as confident as the sons of Zebedee were, that they too could drink this same cup that Jesus drank? Are we equally as confident, that by drinking this cup we are, likewise, willing to allow our lives to be completely poured out like a drink offering on behalf of others? Because that is the other part of the equation that Jesus is presenting both to the sons of Zebedee and to us in this passage. Are we ?
Thy Kingdom come,