Monday, November 16, 2009

No More Wrath to Pour

In the sermon text, we read the words of Jesus’ prayer to the Father, “let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless not as I will but as You will,” and then the second time, “if this cup cannot pass away from me unless I drink it, your will be done…” Matthew says that Jesus went away and prayed again, a third time, saying the same words. His prayer to the Father concerns the cup of God’s wrath and judgment against sin. Notice though, that there is a slight but significant progression in Jesus’ prayer. He begins by explicitly asking for the cup to be taken away from Him, allowing for God’s will to be done. But secondly He prays that God’s will would be done even if it means taking the cup away after He has drunk it. Jesus prays that the cup would be taken away either by God removing it all together or by taking it away after Jesus has tasted it. We know that it is the will of the Father for this latter scenario to come to pass. The cup of God’s wrath and judgment is taken away after Jesus drinks that cup on the cross. He drinks the cup of wrath, and the wrath and judgment of God is absorbed by Jesus in His sufferings. The resurrection is the proof, the event of the cup of judgment being removed. This is why for all those who are in Christ, this cup is not a cup of judgment, but the cup of blessing, the cup of forgiveness, the wine of joy and gladness in the blood of Christ. This means that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. God does not pour out his wrath against sin on us who are in Christ. He does not pour out His wrath on us because there is no more wrath to pour. The cup of wrath is empty; Jesus drank it all for us. But then what of our hardships and sufferings? We know that God does discipline us as a faithful Father His children. And that means that this cup has been refilled. What was the cup of wrath and judgment for sin was emptied in the cross – Jesus drank it, and then Jesus bled, and His blood has become the wine of a wedding feast, a cup of joy and blessing.

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