Magazine Leader – July 2010

We’ve noticed how local people may check the bottom of their cup. If it’s not
obvious from just a glance, then the trademark reveals who manufactured the
Some cups are specially made to symbolise a significant event. For example the
FIFA world cup is a trophy made of 18 carat gold. It depicts two human figures
holding up the Earth. Whoever wins it will raise it to glory in their victory and
it will be treasured as a symbol of national pride.
But there is another type of cup, which is far more important. This is not the
trophy from The Ashes, Ascot or even Wimbledon. It is the world’s cup. This
cup is of such importance that only one person in history was able to drink from
it. His name is Jesus Christ: he drank from a cup on the night before he died to
explain what would happen when he was crucified the next day.
In the Bible, a cup is used figuratively to mean something that contains the share
of blessings or disasters allotted to a person or nation. There is, for example, the
mention of the cup of God’s wrath being passed to the enemies of God’s people
that will make them stagger (Isaiah 51v17). But it can also used for the cup of
blessing from the Lord who is so generous that the cup overflows (Psalm
23v5b). When Jesus took a cup of wine at the Last Supper, the two ideas were
combined. Jesus would drink the cup of God’s wrath against sin and evil, while
also making available the cup of God’s blessing: ‘this is a new covenant in my
blood, which is poured out for you’ (Lk 22v20). We read out these words in
church to help us remember the special meal of bread and wine that he shared
with his disciples the night before he died.
How can we benefit from this? It would be a tragic mistake to think that merely
eating the bread and drinking the wine provides forgiveness – as if it were some
sort of ‘supernatural antibiotic’ or ‘divine flu jab’ against sin (see 1 Cor 10v1-5).
It would also be wrong to forget the true cost of our forgiveness that carries the
responsibility to live a new life (1 Cor 11v27-32 warns against neglecting this).
The symbolic meal of the Lord’s Supper is a vivid reminder of a rich vein of
theology of the cup. Jesus has drained the cup of wrath and now pours out His
blessings to all who humbly trust in His death for their
own forgiveness. His death alone can reconcile us to God.
The Bible describe this as His amazing GRACE = God’s
Riches At Christ’s Expense. Jesus has lifted the world’s
cup, so Christians are to rejoice with songs of praise and
thanksgiving until He comes again.
Paul Kingman