This past Sunday I had the honor of assisting in the Communion table for our church. I prayed over the cup. I asked the Lord to give me words to say about the cup of Salvation that represents the blood of Christ.
In answer to my prayer, I found a whole new way of looking at the cup. God led me to think about Jesus’ prayer in the garden pleading that the cup would be taken away from Him. I thought about the cup that God asked Jesus to drink. It was not Jesus’ idea to drink the cup. God asked Jesus to drink it. Anyone could understand why Jesus longed for another way to redeem mankind. Although none of us can fully comprehend the mystery of His death, burial and resurrection, we can conceive that it is a spiritual and physical horror none of us could or would want to endure.
The only reason that Jesus drank the cup that brought about our great salvation was because God asked Him to drink it.
Compare what God asked of Jesus to what Jesus asks of us. In the same way that God asked Jesus to drink the cup, Jesus asks me to drink the cup. When I drink the cup that Jesus asks me to drink, I have little reason to fear because drinking the cup symbolizes the blood that covers my sin and the way I have been cleansed from all unrighteousness. It is a cup that frees me from the power of sin, not a cup that forces me to cleanse the world of sin. It is a celebration, not the greatest challenge of all time. When Jesus asks me to drink the cup, He doesn’t ask me to give my life on a cross; rather, He asks me to remember that He gave His life for me.
The contrast is stunning. Jesus drank the cup that poured out his blood for my salvation. I drink a cup that remembers His sacrifice for me.
But the truth is that sometimes I have drunk the cup and shared in communion with little attention to the great sacrifice of Christ. Rather than remember Him as I take, eat, and hold the bread and then the cup (the Baptist way,) my mind drifts to how I like that woman’s dress or the fact that I need to remember to talk to that person, or even what I need to add to the grocery list.
God asked of Jesus more than we can even imagine. It was a sacrifice that challenged Him to the very core of what it meant to be Divine and Human. We can understand the human side of Jesus in His suffering, but we can only imagine the Divine mystery of Jesus’ sacrifice and what that meant. Psalm 116:13 says:
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.
What little Jesus asks of me compared to what God asked of Jesus in drinking the cup of salvation! For Jesus it was the total emptying of Himself (And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:8) For us it is the emptying of our sin and drinking full of its remedy—the blood of Christ. Drink it in humility and praise. Drink it in remembering and consenting to participate fully in the Divine mystery of God’s love!