Wooden cross in Good Shepherd Chapel



A Better Cup

Lent 2018

Matthew 26:36-46

For our Lenten journey to be complete, we must go to the Garden of Gethsemane. That dark Thursday night Jesus goes there one more time to pray. The prospect before him is utterly bleak. He knows what is in store and it fills him with the deepest sense of dread. He looks at the chain of events unfolding before him and compares it to a cup full of the most bitter contents imaginable. As he contemplates what is about to take place he prays urgently, pleading with his Father. Three different times he pleads: “Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me. But If it is your will that I drink it, let your will be done.”

And so it happened. He did what the Father willed. When the moment came for the cup to be pressed to his lips he drank. When Judas betrayed him, the cup was put to his lips and he drank. It was put to his lips again before the High Priest and he drank. So again in his time before the High Priest and before Herod, in the mockery, the crown of thorns, the trial before Pilate, the scourging, the nailing to the cross, in the awesome cry of forsakenness and his final breath. Each time he drained it to the last bitter drop!

Why would he willingly do that? He came to drink that bitter cup so that you and I would not have to do it. He came so that we could drink from a far better cup. How could He do that willingly? The answer is that he knew whose hand held the cup. The cup was not in the hands of Judas, or Peter, or Herod, or Pilate, or the soldiers. It was in the hands of his Father. That is why the last moment came he was at peace. He could say “Father, into your hands I commit” (Luke 23:46)

Here is the bottom line for us: because he drank the bitter cup, he puts a far better cup before us. It is a cup filled to the brim with God’s choicest blessings. This is the cup that David pictures in Psalm 23. It runs over with goodness and mercy, with forgiveness and grace. It assures us that when our last journey reaches the final destination, there is a place prepared for us in the Father’s House where we shall dwell forever. All that is ours because He drank the bitter cup.

Pastor Loren Kramer

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