Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One Night, Two Cups

(by Pastor Joe)
The Word for today: Matthew 26:17-29
When was the last time you celebrated the Lord's Supper?
Did you go forward or were the elements passed to you?
Was it wafers, matzo crackers or real bread?
Individual or community cup?
Meaningful to you, or perhaps regretfully trivial?
There are lots of differing answer to these and many more questions that could be brought up.
Regardless of your church or background, Communion (aka the Lord's Supper) is a common point that all Christians share, despite our various differences.
The problem is, what is familiar and regular for us can quickly become old hat. Since we know some of the words or verses that are being spoken, since we think we already know the story, we can impatiently move on in our minds, and forget the entire reason for participating. I would have to admit with shame how, at times, my focus is everything except the actual cross--and judging from what I've seen, I am not alone in this bad habit. (Don't feel too bad, the very first instance of this ceremony was marred by doubts and petty arguments, even with Jesus Christ physically present- see Luke 22).
One of the things found in this 26th chapter of Matthew that helps me overcome my distraction is the fact that there is more than one cup that night. Only by focusing on the second cup can we see the true value of the first.
Cup One- v. 27-28
Location- The Upper Room
This is the Communion cup offered to all followers of Jesus Christ.
This is what we celebrate and remember and give thanks for.
- Jesus' Blood
- The New Covenant
- The Forgiveness of Sin.
None of these do we deserve, yet in Jesus they are freely given.
Cup Two- v. 36-39
Location- The Garden of Gethsemane
This cup gets way less publicity, yet it is equally important.
This is the Cup of God's wrath, the consequences of all our sins.
In multiple places, especially in Psalms and the Prophets, and even Revelation, the Bible speaks of this metaphor -- a cup that symbolizes punishment, bitter consequences, and God's fury against sin.
This cup is our long overdue toll.
We each deserved to drink from this cup, yet Jesus Christ took it in our stead.
Next time you find yourself participation in a communion service, consider this verse from Isaiah 51:22 and how it speaks directly to you:
"This is what your Sovereign LORD says,
your God, who defends his people:
"See, I have taken out of your hand
the cup that made you stagger;
from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
you will never drink again."
(signed- Jesus Christ)

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