Good Friday: The Cup ~ 20170414 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

04/14 Good Friday: The Cup; Audio available at:

The Cup

Matthew 26:36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant when he prayed to his Father 'let this cup pass from me'?

Matthew 26:42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

...44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.

What was the cup that Jesus must drink? Mark's account equates the cup with the hour.

Mark 14:35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

The Answer

Luke tells us that in response to Jesus' prayer in the garden, an angel was sent from heaven to strengthen him. On other occasions there was thunder, a voice from heaven. On other occasions we heard the words from heaven “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt.3:17; 17:5) Here, silence. An angel was sent, not to answer him, but to strengthen him, to prepare him for what was to come.

Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke tells us that he was in agony and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

What Was the Cup?

What was it that caused Jesus such anguish of soul? This is not the only place we hear Jesus referring to the cup. In Matthew 20, James and John with their mother ask to be seated on his right and his left in his kingdom.

Matthew 20:22 Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” 23 He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

John tells us that after Jesus' prayer in the garden, Peter seeks to defend Jesus from arrest with his sword.

John 18:11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Jesus, having asked his Father to let the cup pass from him, is now determined to drink it. It is the cup the Father gave him to drink.

We can look to the Old Testament to gain some clarity on what the cup meant. In Genesis 40-41, we see Joseph introduced to the cupbearer. The cupbearer was part of the special service who would protect the king. If someone tried to poison the king, the cupbearer would drink the poison first to protect the king.

Later, in Genesis 44, Joseph's special cup was used to indicate guilt. The one who had the cup was the one who was found guilty.

In the Psalms we find this poetic language of justice.

Psalm 75:2 “At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.

...7 but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.

8 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.

This is a cup the wicked must drink. Isaiah identifies the cup.

Isaiah 51:17 Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.

This cup is the cup of the LORD's wrath.

Jeremiah 25 brings a word of judgment that is to begin with God's people who have disobeyed him and turned away, and it to extend to all the nations of the earth.

Jeremiah 25:9 ... I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. ...14 ... I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.” 15 Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16 They shall drink and stagger and be crazed because of the sword that I am sending among them.” 17 So I took the cup from the LORD's hand, and made all the nations to whom the LORD sent me drink it:

The cup is repayment for their deeds, the work of their hands. It is the cup of the wine of the wrath of the LORD. Jeremiah goes on:

Jeremiah 25:27 “Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Drink, be drunk and vomit, fall and rise no more, because of the sword that I am sending among you.’ 28 “And if they refuse to accept the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: You must drink! 29 ...You shall not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, declares the LORD of hosts.’

This cup is punishment from the LORD for the deeds of the whole earth.

This is the cup our Lord Jesus asked “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me” (Lk.22:42). Jeremiah goes on to paint a picture of what Christ would experience for us on the cross.

Jeremiah 25:30 “You, therefore, shall prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: “‘The LORD will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice; he will roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. 31 The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for the LORD has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgment with all flesh, and the wicked he will put to the sword, declares the LORD.’ 32 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Behold, disaster is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth! 33 “And those pierced by the LORD on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground.

Revelation describes it as “to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath” (Rev.16:19) and

Revelation 14:10 he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night...

Psalm 11 reads:

Psalm 11:5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. 6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Often our attention is drawn to the physical and emotional suffering of Jesus in the Roman whip, the crown of thorns, the taunting crowds, the wooden beam, the iron nails. But there was something more horrific than that which he experienced. Jesus, looking into “the cup of the wine of the fury of ...God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger,” recoiled in utter revulsion. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Mt.26:39). In those hours of darkness, Jesus, the sinless Lamb, “was made to be sin for us” (2Cor.5:21).

Isaiah 53:4 ...we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. ...10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief;

From noon to 3 pm that Friday,

Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

During those hours of darkness, Jesus was drinking the cup of the wine of the fury of God's wrath toward my sin. Jesus was forsaken by his Father. Jesus was experiencing hell for me. Jesus was enduring the punishment that I earned.

Jesus drained this cup, but it was a cup that left him thirsty. Like the rich man in his own parable who

Luke 16:24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’

Jesus drank the cup of hell to the dregs and it left him desperately thirsty. Jesus, who claimed to be the source of living water, now having been forsaken by his Father, experienced a thirst of soul deeper than any natural thirst.

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said ( to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!
Our load was laid on Thee;
Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,
Didst bear all ill for me.
A Victim led, Thy blood was shed;
Now there’s no load for me.

Death and the curse were in our cup:
O Christ, ’twas full for Thee;
But Thou hast drained the last dark drop,
’Tis empty now for me.
That bitter cup, love drank it up;
Now blessing’s draught for me.

Jehovah lifted up His rod;
O Christ, it fell on Thee!
Thou wast sore stricken of Thy God;
There’s not one stroke for me.
Thy tears, Thy blood, beneath it flowed;
Thy bruising healeth me.

The tempest’s awful voice was heard,
O Christ, it broke on Thee!
Thy open bosom was my ward,
It braved the storm for me.
Thy form was scarred, Thy visage marred;
Now cloudless peace for me.

Jehovah bade His sword awake;
O Christ, it woke ’gainst Thee!
Thy blood the flaming blade must slake;
Thine heart its sheath must be;
All for my sake, my peace to make;
Now sleeps that sword for me.

For me, Lord Jesus, Thou hast died,
And I have died in Thee!
Thou’rt ris’n—my hands are all untied,
And now Thou liv’st in me.
When purified, made white and tried,
Thy glory then for me!

Words: Anne R. Cousin (1824-1906)


Cup of Salvation

Psalm 116 describes a sinner crying out to the LORD for mercy.

Psalm 116:1 I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. 2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. 3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. 4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!” 5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.

Jesus drained the last dark drop of the cup of God's wrath. God is righteous, and God is gracious. God punishes sin, but God delivers sinners.

Psalm 116:12 What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,

Now that the cup of the wrath of God has been drained by our Lord Jesus on the cross, we can enjoy a different cup. We drink from the cup of salvation!

Psalm 16:5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

We enjoy a different cup. The LORD is my portion. The LORD fills my cup. Because of Jesus, we can drink deeply of him.

Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.


Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~