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April 29, 2009 / beidson

Remember The Cup–It Was Ours To Drink

This morning I was reminded of the wretched awfulness Jesus endured in his suffering on the cross.  Sitting in my cozy chair, Ijesus3 was so thankful that Christ hung from a shameful cross, knowing he had done nothing to offend God.  We need to remember the depths to which he went as the Suffering Servant if we are to realize the heights to which he may now take us as the resurrected Messiah.

He was forsaken by his Father, and he who knew no sin became sin for us, so that we might be reconciled to God, and become new creatures living out a new righteousness, singing a new song, looking for a new home.  In our rejoicing, however, we often overlook the greatest reason for our celebration.  The cup of God’s furious wrath, which loomed over our heads, ready to be poured out, was emptied instead on our sinless Savior, who gladly drank it to the last drop.  He made us objects of God’s love because he himself became the object of his Holy Father’s wrath.

Even as he despised the cross, he loved us.  Even as the crowds and soldiers and criminals at his sides mocked him and spat on him, he opened not his mouth to curse and condemn, but only to forgive and to fulfill his Father’s perfect will.  There was no reason that he should be abandoned by the Spirit and the Father, but he was.  He, who had always known full fellowship with God, was resisted and turned away, as he hung there with our sin pushing down on his shoulders, drowning him in his own blood.  He cried “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me” and now we may cry out “Abba, Father.”  We were nameless before God, but through Christ we have become his children.  We deserved the punishment of death, but now through the Son we receive an inheritance as sons also.  We were alienated from the life of God, but now Jesus calls us brothers.  Jesus cried out in dereliction, and now we may speak with wisdom and righteousness.

Before we share “Christ loves sinners” we must say “God is angry at you.”  Before we can say “Jesus died for you” we must say “God will take your life.”  Before we can confess “Jesus is God’s faithfulness to us” we must admit “God’s wrath is his faithfulness too.”  And before we can say “There is hope in Christ” we must warn “You have no hope if you remain in your sin.”

Do not forget this.  Remember the cup.  It was ours to drink.  And for many people, it still threatens to tip over their heads, to cover them and consume them and condemn them.  But they can drink a new cup, the cup we drink in remembrance of Christ’s blood.  They too may look to Jesus, not merely as a peasant preacher, but as the High Priest, the One who exchanges the cup of wrath for the cup of fellowship, the One who removes from our shoulders the burden of judgment and gives to us instead a ministry of reconciliation.  He has born the weight of the curse and now gives us a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.

We should be drinking that cup, but we are no longer condemned to do so in Christ.  It was ours to drink, but he drank it, and he will drink a new cup with us one day when we sit down together at a table for everyone.  And we will drink it with him.  It will be ours to drink.

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