Luke 22, John 13: What was in the Cup?

Luke 22:42:

Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.

On His knees in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus agonizes in prayer, pleading that His Father might remove this cup from before Him. We know the scene well, but what we may not know is this:

What was in the cup?

If you or I were praying that night in the garden, we would no doubt have been terrified of the hellish death that we were about to receive. We would have been frightened beyond all understanding to endure such horrific suffering.

But Jesus was not primarily afraid of the physical suffering He was about to endure.

The cup of which He spoke is the cup spoken of in the Old Testament. It is the cup of Psalm 11:5-6:

The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.

It is the cup of God’s wrath against sinful man. The portion of the cup of the wicked is eternal death, punishment for sins against an eternal God. It is the cup prepared for everyone who is dead in their sins. It is the cup of the righteous judgement of a Holy God. And we are all deserving of this cup.

But Jesus drank it.

He redeemed us from the curse by becoming a curse for us. He became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God:

Till on that cross, as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin, on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

The cup was ours to take, yet Jesus took it. It was bitter and terrible, and if we trust in Christ, it is no longer ours to drink. He suffered once for all that we might live.

It’s the great exchange:

He gets our sin, we get God.

If this doesn’t make you rejoice today, I don’t know what will.

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