Chris Powers: Shall I Not Drink the Cup?
Chris Powers is creating visual resources for the global church. These include artistic renderings of scripture, animations, and his first book, Visual Exegesis, Vol. 1, available on Amazon. These resources also include study guides for use in small groups.
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Shall I Not Drink the Cup...
Matthew 26:39, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me..."
Mark 14:36, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me..."
Luke 22:42, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me..."
John 18:11, "Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?"
While reading in John18 this morning I decided to do a quick word search on the Greek work behind "cup" (using biblearc, which is a wonderful study tool).
What was especially moving about doing this was to see that, while it is used a number of times in the Synoptics, the climactic use of "cup" in Matthew, Mark and Luke is always the prayer in Gethsemane. And then the only use in John is the one above. It's as if in doing the word search I heard the threefold prayer of Christ to the Father: Father, let this cup pass, yet not as I will, but as you will...Abba, let this cup pass, but not my will, yours be done....Father, if it is possible let this cup pass, but your will be done..........and then, the next time we see the word, Jesus is saying, "put away your sword, Peter, shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"
The Lord's hope was not granted to Him....His genuine desire and--I think we must say--genuine hope that, perhaps the cup would pass from Him....this was shattered before His eyes as He saw Judas and the others approaching......the cup would not pass, He would have to drink it to its dregs. And see the love and grace and humility with which He receives the cup! "Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?"
This is the love of the Savior....it is His love for the Father (14:31), and it is His love for His Church (15:9, 13). Love--the enjoyment and communication of God--Love takes the cup of wrath from the Father and drinks it to the final damning drop. Yes, it is love that does this, love that bears this most horrific of sufferings.....what is stronger than love? As the Song of Songs reminds us, it is strong(er) than death and fierce(er) than the grave, the very fire of YHWH.
Indeed, it is the Fire of YHWH, His love IS the fire of His wrath that would consume all that opposes the communion of His Trinitarian life, and His love IS the fire of Christ's heart that swallows up and extinguishes the flames of wrath in itself. Love has wrought the greatest work of reality, it has borne the greatest burden, faced the greatest test, endured the deepest hardships......what can steel the soul for war and strengthen the mind to endure and drive the body into torments? Love alone. Love alone....only God known and enjoyed. This is what moved our Lord--after pouring out His soul in pleading that it might pass from Him--to reach up and take the cup of wrath that we deserved and to bear it fully in Himself.