Monday, January 18, 2010

The Cup

Sometimes we come across passages in Scripture that are not so pleasant at first glance. They make us feel a little uncomfortable. One such place is in Jeremiah 25 where God instructs the prophet to “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). God then lists off a whole host of nations—Egypt, Edom, Moab, all the nations of Arabia, and, of course, Israel. But lest we think that any nation be left unnamed, God says at the end of the list: “and all the kingdoms of the world which are on the face of the earth” (v. 26).

What is clear in this passage is that by drinking the wine cup of God’s fury, these nations are headed for sure destruction. Indeed, total annihilation. Everyone. Yet this isn’t something we talk about very often. We are not too keen to talk about God’s justice and the destruction that He brings against sin.

But maybe that’s because there is another place in Scripture where this same cup comes up again. It’s in all four Gospel accounts, but it is in the hand of a different Man (see Matt 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42; John 18:11). Jesus is in the garden before His crucifixion, and He is pleading with His Father. Three times He says to His Father, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matthew 26:39).

This same cup of God’s wrath and fury, that was meant for the nations—indeed, the whole world—was now placed in Jesus’ hand. And He trembled from the weight of God’s justice. Yet, in the end, He conceded to His Father’s will and took that cup. As He said to Peter, when Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant, “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” (John 18:11).

And this is the awesome point—the point that none of us should miss: Jesus drank that cup for you and me. Indeed, He drank it for all the nations; He drank it for everyone. As Hebrews 2:9 says, He tasted “death for everyone.” He lifted that cup to His lips and tasted the full weight of God’s wrath and fury—what He does to sin—for every single person who has ever been born.

We mustn’t miss the point.


Dingo said...

Whoa - - This is going to take some prayer and meditation. It's hard to take the magnitude of what Jesus did when put in the light of what Jeremiah said. What gratitude and love we need in order to respond to it. I cannot wait to share this one at worship tonight and the prayer meetings this week!The most precious message has been kind of fading into the background in our area and maybe this will help recall our hearts to it.

Dingo said...

Oops. Proofreading never catches everything until after I hit the button. God's love isn't "hard to take" its "hard to take in".

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