“So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath, shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?’” (John 18:11)
Jesus knew what was in store for Him. He knew He would be crucified and beaten and scourged. He knew Judas would plot His murder, and that Peter would betray Him, and that His disciples would flee. He knew all of this when He shared His last meal with them. He knew all of this when He washed their feet as a servant; the greatest servant. He knew all of this—that they would break His heart—when He chose them … even Judas. With their betrayal, denial, and abandonment so fresh in His heart and mind He lovingly went to the cross for them (and for us) so that He could redeem them, save them, and spend eternity with them. With all those who repented.
Jesus was willing to drink that cup. And His cup was the wrath of God against all of mankind: past, present, and future. The cups that God has offered to me aren’t filled with His wrath for me. I still resist drinking them because they aren’t to my liking. I want a cup that I perceive to be better. And I always think my fallen, created, 3lb. brain knows what is better for me than the eternal, omniscient, all-seeing, good, gracious, and loving Creator of the universe.
I always just want to drink the cups of joy, friendship, love, marriage, and grace. I don’t want the cups of trials, sorrow, pain, frustration, and suffering. I am a hypocrite. I say I lovingly follow Jesus Christ and He drank a cup from the Father that is incalculably, unbelievably, and unimaginably worse than mine could ever be.
When I am given one of those unpleasant, not pretty cups it is all I can see. Just the sloshing, swirling liquid of the pain of injury, of a broken heart, or the fear of losing my ability to work. I always forget to look up, away from the rim, to the better cups that are in line waiting for me. I ignore or forget about the loving arms of Jesus around me as I drink my cup. I cast aside the knowledge that the Holy Ghost lines my mouth, throat, tongue, esophagus, and stomach so that He takes the brunt and fills me with Himself—nurtures me with Himself—rather than what is going by my lips to pass through me. I shamefully, casually ignore the fact that no matter the cups, in the end I am in heaven forever, in a world without sin, beloved of the LORD, sharing in His eternity.
I don’t always look up. I just stare at what is in front of me. I don’t fully know, intimately, that God is in control and that the LORD is good. I doubt it even though I don’t realize it when I am doing it. My heart gets troubled when I stare at an L&I that won’t help me and doctors that care more about paper work than my immense pain. My heart hurts and gets lonely as I stare at that cup. I don’t want it anywhere near my lips because I see myself alone in its dark depths.
What I fail to realize is that the only reason I can see anything—including myself—is because of the Holy Spirit within me. He shines out the light of Jesus. Not only am I not alone I am shrouded in the loving grip of Jesus’ hand. He does not lose any of His children. God will never let me go. If I would just take my focus off myself and that damnable cup I would see the immeasurable love of the LORD that has already consumed me.
Like a sponge that has soaked up its fill, so I am in the LORD. All the water the evil of this world tries to drench me with cannot find a single cell of my existence that is not already saturated with the blood of my Savior. And when I fall and fail it isn’t because this isn’t true. It is because I choose to doubt this truth. I don’t fully believe. And I go chasing after lies.
Jesus drank the cup of the wrath of God against all the sins that have ever been committed and will ever be committed. That cup is unimaginable immense. Jesus drank every last drop for us, for you and for me. He kept His eyes on heaven. He kept looking up. He saw beyond the far side rim to the riches and glory that God had waiting for Him. Jesus saw beyond Himself to see Peter, His mother Mary, John, and even Judas. Jesus saw John Calvin, Martin Luther, Henry the Eighth, Hitler, Mother Theresa, George Washington, Obama, you, and me. He chose to love all of us. Because we all need Him. We are all sinners from the beginning to the end. Jesus is the only good guy.
He drank His cup in faith and I pray so desperately that I can do the same. And that the Holy Spirit will keep lifting my head and my eyes to see beyond myself. I pray that I will no longer doubt God for the unpleasant cups and only rejoice in seeing Him with the good. I pray that one day the cups won’t matter: bad or good. That no matter what I drink my only thought is of His glory. I pray that I will joyfully see to His will and His works no matter how sorrowful my cup and situation is.
I love you Jesus. I love you Holy Spirit. I love you God my Father. You alone are worthy of my praise, worship, and focus. Please never cease reminding me of this fact. I ask in the name of Your son Jesus Christ. Amen.