21 PORTRAITS OF JESUS IN JOHN'S GOSPEL
The song writer wrote "fill my cup" as a request. I'm asking as a question. In verse 11, Jesus says, "...the cup which the Father has given Me shall I not drink it?" It is a question by the Lord. It is stated in such a manner that the answer is an obvious, "yes".
However, from the Garden of Gethsemane there seems to be a development in the resolve to drink this cup. First, the Lord prays, "...My Father if it is possible let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but, as Thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39) Secondly, we hear, "...My Father if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done." (Matthew 26:42). Then, the third phase is the question stated in our text.
But, what is this cup? It is the will of God for His Son and can have
teaching for each of God's children. For the Lord Jesus it is the experiencing
of mankinds sin in the Lord's crucifixion. It is a bitter cup. To further
understand this cup I want us to look at the following: 1) The mixture
of the cup; 2) The giver of the cup; and 3) The drinker of the cup. Please
follow this development.
The mental stress would be caused by the knowledge of betrayal. Jesus had chosen Judas to be one of the twelve. He had allowed him to be the treasurer of the group. In every way the Lord had given opportunity for Judas to respond to the gospel. Now the Lord knows He will be betrayed by a close associate. The gospel record states He was betrayed by a kiss and a greeting of , "Hail Rabbi." (Matthew 26:49) To anticipate the betrayal, is involved in the cup.
The priest and religious leaders of the day should have recognized Jesus. They should have followed Him and fought for His cause, but they led in the plea for crucifixion. The Lord anticipates hearing their accusations, lies, and our right blasphemies.
The rejection of the Jewish people and the failure of His disciples to understand and be willing to pray with Him is further cause of mental anguish. Can we say, "Fill my cup, Lord" if we know it will cause mental anguish?
There is also physical stress. The Lord knew about crucifixions. It
was not something to look forward to. They would beat Him first with a
cat of nine tails. Thirty nine lashes ripping away at
the flesh. The spikes through wrist and feet; the crown of thorns; hanging naked in front of the world; the abuse hurled at Him. All of this is a cause of anguish.
But, also think about the spiritual distress. Jesus will be dying for the sins of these who are crucifying Him. He will say, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing." But, they will still reject Him. Both thieves on the other crosses hurl abuse at Him. Then only one responds in submission. The other says, "If you be the Christ save yourself and us."
But, Jesus must know that this cup includes a separation from the Father. He knows His cry will come, "...my God, my God why hast thou forsaken me...?" He didn't want this part of the cup if there was any other way. But he prayed, "...not my will but thine..."
Bill Glass was an all American football player from Baylor University. He was elected All Pro several years while a member of the Cleveland Brown. Thirty years ago he preached a revival at our church. He gave a somewhat crude, but effective illustration related to this cup.
He asked how many of us had ever seed a dead animal laying on the highway.
He asked how many of us ever got out of our car to take a better look.
Then, he really got gross. He asked how many of you ever thought about
eating such an animal. Then he said that if that idea is repulsive to you,
how do you think the Lord looked upon this cup? This cup represents anguish;
mentally , physically, and spiritually. It is repulsive to the sinless
one to take upon Himself this cup mixed for each individual Christian.
It is our part in making the gospel story known. It represents God's will
for our life. Follow as this emphasis is developed further.
The giver of the cup also loves the disciples. They will soon be scattered. They will not know what to do and their lives will be threatened. But, the Father loves the disciples. In John 17:23, the Lord said, "...and has loved them, as thou as loved me." Yes, the disciples will not understand everything said and done in the last days of Christ's earthly life, but they ought to understand they are loved.
The giver of the cup also loves the world. This certainly includes all the believers of this day. I can say, "I know God loves me." You can say that you know God loves you. The simple basis for this thought is recorded in John 3:16. "For God so loved the world , that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish , but have everlasting life."
The giver has a cup His Son. It is the Father's will for the Son. He also has a cup (or a cross) for each of us born anew into His family. God has a will for our lives. When my will is submitted to the Father, I will experience His cup (or cross) for my life. I am to learn how to deal with this through the example of our Lord.
Several people, in the 30 plus years I've been preaching, have expressed something like this: "If I really yield to the Lord's will He might ask me to do something really far out; something I don't want to do. I'm afraid to do his will."
Can you imagine going to a loving parent and saying: "I want to do whatever you desire? I know you want the best for me. You years of experience or such I yield to you and then that parent thinking up the most awful life for them to live. As a parent what would you do if your child came and said, "I want to do exactly what you want me to do?" I think we would be very careful to map out what you want them to accomplish and you'll want the very best for them.
Is God not a good Father? Does he not want the best for His children?
Yes, there might be a bitter cup along the way, but the end result is certainly
the best. The crucifixion was a humble experience, but the resurrection,
ascension and exultation of Christ. Or on the other side, in Phillipians
2:9, it says, "Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name
which is above every name..." You see God loves the Son. The giver of the
cup has a plan that reaches far beyond the immediate experience of the
cup. God has the best in mind for us. Please notice the third point.
Because it is the cross of salvation on one, but Christ, can drink it. Notice with me the following verses. "For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son,..."(John 3:16) and Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes unto the Father, but through me. (John 14:6). Now look at Acts 4:12. "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' The same emphasis is recognized in 1 Timothy 2:5. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
There is a lesser cup (or cross) for each of the children of God. We have the example of Jesus and we should say, "not my will, but thy will be done."
A fable type story is told of a person who complained about the cross they were required to bear. They told God they could do better if they just had a different cross to bear. So God said, "All right, I'll let you exchange your cross. You come into this room where we keep the crosses and I'll cause you all the crosses available to pass by you. The person turned in his cross and sat down to watch the crosses pass by. They had trouble deciding which cross and requested to see them again. God patiently agreed. The person then picked out a cross. God said, "You are sure you would like that cross?" The person responded, "Oh yes, I can easily bear that cross." Then God said, "That's the cross you have had all the time. It's the one I picked out for you."
The Bible says, "...If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." God had made a cup for Jesus. It included the cross of salvation. Jesus faithfully carried that cross and drank that cup.
Today, would you sing "fill my cup" as a question or like the song writer write the song, "Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up Lord, come and quench this thirsting of my soul?" I give thanks that Jesus drank His cup. I pray we will also be obedient.