The Cup He Has Assigned

I have been thinking of this passage in Psalm 16:5 that says, “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.”

What does the word ‘cup’ refer to? In Hebrew poetry, repetition is a device used to amplify meaning. Chosen portion, cup, and lot are all words used to convey the concept of your assigned outcome in life. So here in Psalm 16, the believer’s assigned outcome in life is the Lord himself. This is wonderful news, but it becomes even more wonderful when set in a wider context. Look at these other verses:

Jeremiah 25:15 says, “Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.”

Isaiah 51:17 also speaks of the cup of wrath: “Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.”

In these passages the prophets speak of God’s wrath being poured out on his own people and the nations as punishment. It is pictured as a cup of wrath they must drink. Read all of Jeremiah 25 to get a full picture of the sovereignty of God in bringing about a just and holy punishment.

Now turn to Matthew 26 and see something more astounding. When read against the backdrop of Jeremiah and Isaiah, this passage shines like a diamond and is honey to the soul.

Matthew 26:39, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Verse 42, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

Do you see this? Jesus Christ, the Creator himself, the King of Kings to whom all praise and honor is due, drank the cup of wrath that we deserved. This is what happened on the cross. This is why Jesus became so troubled that Luke says he sweat drops of blood. The cup assigned to him was to take the wrath that I justly deserved. He drank it down to the dregs.

And to add grace upon grace, back up just a handful of verses in Matthew 26. Just prior to Christ’s soul-wrenching time of prayer in Gethsemane, he offers the disciples a cup:

Matthew 26:27-28, “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'”

Take a moment and really ponder this. Psalm 16 says that the Lord is our portion, our cup, he holds our lot. This can only be possible if God knew what was coming, and he did. He knew from the foundations of the world that his one and only Son would come and drink the cup of wrath that we deserved.

Jesus drank the cup of wrath so that we may drink the cup of the new covenant, the cup of life.

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3

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