The Old Testament uses the metaphor of drinking in discussing God’s plan for human lives. The cup we are given to drink can be a blessing of prosperity or an affliction of judgement. David thanks God because his “cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5) and says, “you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.” (Psalm 16:5) David also declares that for his enemies, “fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.” (Psalm 11:6) In the same way, the cup of God’s wrath is mentioned in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, and Zechariah.
In which cup is Jesus referring when he prays to the Father in Gethsemane?
If anyone should have been able to drink the cup of prosperity, it should have been Jesus. Sinless… blameless… compassionate… Jesus lived only to say and do what his Father wanted. (John 6:38) The voice from heaven declared that God was pleased with him. (Mark 1:11) Surely this Messiah would drink from the cup of blessing just asa David did?
Jesus knew that the cup he faced was his suffering and death of the cross. The cup that ought to have been ours – the cup of God’s judgement – Jesus reached over and drank from instead. He did not deserve God’s wrath, but he became the sin that plagued us. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus was given the bitter cup of suffering and was truly revealed as the Messiah we needed.
If that wasn’t enough to show the love of the Father and Son for us, the news gets even better. The cup of favor – the cup that should have been for Jesus alone – is handed to us. Not only was he made to be sin for us, but it was done that “we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) We enjoy the same relationship to the Father that Jesus enjoyed! We’re the children of God! We sit at the table of the Lord! We drink from the cup of salvation rather than the cup of devastation.
This wonderful exchange is available to every person. Jesus accepted the bitter cup for you. Will you accept the cup of God’s favor? He holds it out to you.