The Third Cup

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A Blogged Bible Study for John 18:

But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath! Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given Me?” ~John 18:11

Only here in the Fourth Gospel is it specifically said that the cup is given to Jesus to drink by the Father, but again this is consistent with the synoptic gospels’ mention of the cup in Jesus’ prayer:

Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”  ~Matthew 26:39

And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”  ~Mark 14:36

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will, not Mine.”  ~Luke 22:42

Four cups are given to drink in the Passover Meal.  The Four Cups represent the four expressions of deliverance promised by God in Exodus 6:6-7:

Therefore, tell the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord. I will bring you out from your enslavement to the Egyptians, I will rescue you from the hard labor they impose, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.  I will take you to myself for a people, and I will be your God.

“I will bring out”
“I will deliver”
“I will redeem”
“I will take”

The meaning of the four cups has been discussed among Jewish scholars for centuries.  One interpretation is the four cups show four worlds: this world, the Messianic age, the world at the revival of the dead, and the world to come.  Other scholars give them a matriarchal meaning: Sarah, Rebeccah, Rachel, and Leah.  Some say they are the four historical redemptions of the Jewish people:

~the choosing of Abraham,  “I will bring out.”

~the Exodus from Egypt,  “I will deliver.”

~the survival of the Jewish people throughout the exile,  “I will redeem.”

~and the fourth which will happen at the end of days,  “I will take.”

Jesus drank of the cup of suffering, the cup His Father gave Him to drink.  We know He came to redeem a people for Himself.  It was prophesied:

Zion will be redeemed with justice and her repentant ones with righteousness.  ~Isaiah 1:27

The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD.  ~Psalms 130:8

He did come.  All who repent will be redeemed.  “I will redeem” . . . the third cup.

AND He will return. At the end of days He will signal for them all to gather, because He has already redeemed them:

I will signal for them and gather them, for I have already redeemed them; then they will become as numerous as they were before.  Though I scatter them among the nations, they will remember in far-off places – they and their children will sprout forth and return.  ~Zechariah 10:8-9

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks He broke it, gave it to His disciples, and said, “Take, eat, this is My body.” And after taking the cup and giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is My blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  I tell you, from now on I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”  After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.  ~Matthew 26:17-25

It is the cup of suffering — the cup of redemption — the third cup — Jesus is about to experience.

When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of what He has experienced, My Righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins.  ~Isaiah 53:11

One day we will drink of the fourth cup with Him in His Father’s kingdom.

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20 responses »

  1. Wow! Great stuff here. How glorious and exciting. I love it! Thanks so much for these great insights.

  2. I studied the “four cups” a while back, and it is very interesting..God is so detailed in HIS plan, and I am always amazed!

    Thanks Michelle, you always do such an awesome job on these studies, I am learning. love ya

  3. Thanks, Joy Renee, and welcome!

    I appreciate that, Joe. 😉

    Hey, Darla. I first heard about the four cups through Beth Moore. But Zola Levitt does a great job explaining the whole Passover, with all the Messianic meanings. Now that is some amazing teaching! Love you.

  4. that is where I heard of it first…too!! Amazing…very good thoughts…still thinking about it…good thinking things when driving in the snow… 😉

  5. Wow, great stuff. Kind of reminds me of some chats I had with good old friends of mine when I was in England. 🙂

  6. I look forward to that forth cup… The hope I have is in Him, that I will get to share it with him.

    I love the connections you made here Michelle… Gives me a lot of good stuff to ponder and study this weekend.

    Peace and Love sister.

  7. This was a very well-detailed study, Michelle. I hadn’t much considered the deliberateness of God regarding The Four Cups. And yet, the simplicity of the words is quite telling:

    ~the choosing of Abraham, “I will bring out.”
    ~the Exodus from Egypt, “I will deliver.”
    ~the survival of the Jewish people throughout the exile, “I will redeem.”
    ~and the fourth which will happen at the end of days, “I will take.”

    And The Redeemer has come. He has drank The Third Cup, which we now reap the benefits of–though through a glass, darkly…for now. But that poor reflection will soon fade when The Fourth Cup is served!

    Very well written.

  8. Hey, Carl. Glad to give you something to ponder. It’s fun to dig, I think.

    Thanks, Nor. Looking through a glass darkly, causes that fourth cup to appear so far away, almost never-reaching. But like you’ve said, along with Peter, “A day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day.” So He only left two days ago…hmmm?

    In His Time.

    Love you two. Have a great Lord’s day!

  9. Two days. Great way to look at it, isn’t it? That means He was here, on Earth, just a few days ago. Walking around as one of us. Sweating and everything.

    And Redwoods were just seedlings…

    …nice thought, eh? 😉

  10. It’s an incredible way of looking at it, Nor. 😉

    Hi, Mike. I think I’ve seen you at Heidi’s blog, “To Be a Fool”…yes?

    Welcome.

  11. Wow, Mic! Great post!! I didn’t know any of that about the cups – very enlightening! I think … the fourth cup may be two different things (but the same) at the same time. 🙂 This, of course, without studying, so perhaps it is foodhardy on my part. But … if the fourth cup is “I will take to you myself as a people, and I will be your God,” it seems to be pointing to the significance of the peace offering that I blogged on a bit ago. The peace offering signified the complete restoration of the people to God. In other words, it went much further than the sin and burnt offerings. Now, Jesus was our sin offering, offering redemption by His sacrifice on the cross, but He was our peace offering too. Now here’s where the ‘different but same’ thing comes in. For us … I think this cup came at Pentecost (“these people are not drunk as you suppose”). For the Jews it will come ‘one day’ when ‘they are all saved, from the least of them to the greatest of them’ which will conclude with the marriage supper of the Lamb (which in one sense you mentioned – that they are the “four historical redemptions of the Jewish people”). So … they are different in that they have different applications for the Jew as the Christian in a time sense, but the same in that they are actually the same event and occurrence – the complete restoration of man to Himself.

    I do find it interesting that the indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit frequently has references to wine. And by the way … ‘banquet’ in Biblical Hebrew comes from the root ‘drink.’ 🙂 Therefore in a Biblical sense, banquets identify more strongly with what is drank, than what is eaten. Interesting, huh?

    Thoughts?

    PS: sorry I’m so late reading …

  12. Good thoughts, Annie! Lots to dig into. I wonder how much they are different for us and the Jewish people. All that end time stuff can get so confusing. The amount of study…it overwhelms me. Every time I think I’ve got something down, I’ll read something else and have to rethink again. It’s never ending. You know, I’m really hoping for the time when Daniel spoke about that knowledge will increase. I need some increased knowledge!

    The root of banquet is interesting. The Spirit being referred to as wine is beautiful…and water…and a river…and wind…and the breath of God. So many beautiful metaphors and they all seem to refer to movement in some way. (Well, wine doesn’t really seem to say much about movement) I wonder.

    So…what do you think about what I think? 😉

  13. I like what you think! And yes, I fully identify with concepts just getting BIGGER the more you know. That’s why I love the way C.S. Lewis pictured heaven (Aslan’s kingdom) in The Last Battle. Have you read it? Pick it up again if you have and if not … read. 🙂 “Further up and further in.” So beautiful.

    The Spirit in movement … yeah, that’s a good thought! Although if you think of wine as a liquid, it is sort of in movement. In that a liquid always feels and moves with the movement around it. And it needs a container or it will be in movement in some way. Spilling, flowing, running, puddling. 🙂 I have an interesting thought on language and the Spirit. Perhaps I will blog on it sometime. Blogs take SO long to write (!) and Christmas is coming. I have great intentions about giving less time to the blog monster … we’ll see if it happens. I have LOTS to do.

    As to Daniel – I think we’re in it. 🙂 However, it will keep increasing (praise God!). Oh! And the reason I came over here is to say … I just read Psalm 57 and it made me think of you. Perhaps the Lord will minister to you through it. 🙂 Hope so. ♥ you!

  14. Hey, Annie! You’re so good for me! 🙂

    I have read The Last Battle, years ago. But I do remember the description of entering into the Kingdom/Heaven. Yes, so beautiful. I think I’ll go read it again.

    Yeah, you’re right. Wine is a liquid so movement works there too. He fills us up and spills over to others. I look forward to a blog on language and the Spirit. But, yeah, writing blogs takes concerted effort that you might not have during this season. Lots of Christmas orders?? You can do it!! I have faith in the abilities the Lord has given you, Sparkle.

    I am determined, O God! I am determined!
    I will sing and praise you!
    Awake, my soul!
    Awake, O stringed instrument and harp!
    I will wake up at dawn!
    I will give you thanks before the nations, O Master!
    I will sing praises to you before foreigners!
    For your loyal love extends beyond the sky,
    and your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
    Rise up above the sky, O God!
    May your splendor cover the whole earth!

    Thanks, Annie! I am determined. I will praise. His loyal love extends far beyond the sky and His faithfulness is my assurance! He truly does come near to all who seek Him.

    ♥ U2!

  15. I have it heard many times, mostly in Reformed circles, that the cup Jesus drank was the cup of His own Father’s wrth againt sin. There is a dimension in that that gos beyond just ‘suffering’, although that is not an unreasonable description of the cup jesus drank.

    However, there is a difference between the two descriptions that impacts the depth of our view of grace in the atonement. More popular is that He drank of the cup of ‘suffering’. It is a more general term with a broader meaning that is compatible with the thought that Jesus died just to ‘bridge the gap’ between us and God.

    On the other hand, that Jesus drank the cup of His Father’s wrath against our sin has a more personal dimension to it in that we are the ones who deserved God’s wrath poured out upon us. This is not a popular description since defining the issue of sin, speaking of the need to repent, impending judgment and wrath are pretty much taboo in many evangelical circles.

    Sad, but I think true, is the possibility of thousands of professing believers never having come to Christ to settle the sin issue, but for a lot of other reasons and as a result might not be saved at all and will never taste of the 4th cup.

    Well, I took it straight to the message of the gospel again, as I am prone to do. I hope I am not out of line on your blog.

    Just observations.

  16. Hey, Dan! I was sticking with the gospels and did not see the word “wrath” as a description in any of the cross-references. I did see this note and looked up the verses:

    This cup alludes to the wrath of God that Jesus would experience (in the form of suffering and death) for us. See Ps 11:6; 75:8-9; Isa 51:17, 19, 22 for this figure.

    I didn’t notice any of these passages as messianic prophecies. Are they?

    My understanding is the wrath of God will be poured out on those who remain disobedient in the end. The seven bowls of wrath found in Rev. 16, 17:1, and 21:9.

    Do you have some scriptures I’ve missed which definitively state it was God’s wrath poured out on Jesus? I’m not disputing, just can’t think of any. Isaiah 53 is the closest I can see, but even in that, suffering, pushishment, chastisement seem to be the words used. I can’t find wrath in the passage.

    I chose to stick with the plain language of the scripture. I do believe that the debt we owe for the sins we’ve committed against God has been paid in full. I’ve never been known to water that down.

    “Well, I took it straight to the message of the gospel again, as I am prone to do. I hope I am not out of line on your blog. Just observations.”

    Have I somehow not stated the message of the gospel? We have been redeemed because He drank of the cup the Father gave Him to drink.

    As long as everyone is respected, no one is out of line on my blog for bringing up observations.

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