Summary: Revised from a sermon by Pastor Matthews called What's in The Cup?
Pastor Matthews told this story. “Several years ago I had an uncle that was in the hospital preparing for open heart surgery. I went into his hospital room early on the morning of surgery and we talked a little about the surgery and I asked him if he was scared. He responded quickly with, "No!"
He told me that he was praying the night before with quite a bit of anxiety. The Lord spoke peace to his heart by reminding him of all that Jesus had suffered
just before and on the Cross. He told me that if Jesus endured such pain for him, then he would be willing to endure what was necessary to be a witness for Christ. At that point in our conversation the surgical nurses came to take him back to surgery. I prayed with him and on the way out of the room he asked me a question..... "What was in the cup?", he asked. I replied with confusion.... and he said, "You remember, Jesus was praying at Gethsemane about the cup", I responded that I remembered the passage, but I didn’t understand the question. As he was rolled down the hallway he asked me one more time...., "What was in the cup?". For the next four or five hours I dare say I was in more agony than he was in that operating room. I grabbed a Gideon Bible that was in the waiting room and began to study and pray. I knew that when he came out of that surgery and had a day or so to get his bearings, he would be quizzing me concerning his question about the cup. So I studied and prayed..... I was right, when he came out of that surgery and recovered, we had the discussion about the cup... and here is what the Lord (and my uncle Jimmy)
inspired me to see:”
Read Mat 26:38-39, 42, 44 Three times He asked for the cup to pass and the silence from heaven was His answer.
Jesus enters the garden to pray as He looks ahead to the cross. He is not only approaching the cross but He must face the betrayal and denial that is yet to come. When we read this passage, there is a sense of anxiety in His words.
What could possibly be in that cup that would cause the very Son of God to sweat great drops of blood? What is it that would cause the Son of God to return to that spot in the garden three times to pray the same words?
"What Was In The Cup"!
There are five things I believe Jesus saw in that cup.
1. When Jesus looked into that cup He saw the sin of the entire world.
He looked back to the beginning and saw Adam and He looked from there all the way to the very last sinner that will ever live on earth. He saw all sin, past, present and future. He saw your sin and mine and though He was the sinless Son of God He was about to carry ever vile deed from the beginning of time to the very end.
Think about this… if He only carried my sin it would still be so much more than He deserved.
2. Jesus saw suffering in that cup.
He was not caught by surprise by the suffering, but I believe that when He was praying in the garden, it all became so real because now the hour had come.
We all know that if we live long enough we will face a certain amount of suffering. We will all be betrayed by someone we considered a friend, we will all face death in some form... some of which will cause a great deal of suffering and pain through disease or accident. My point is this; just because we know that suffering is going to come, it doesn’t make it any easier to handle when it actually happens. Jesus knew He would suffer and die (Luke 9:22). But now that hour had come. He would face trumped up charges during trial, he would be mocked, spat upon, slapped, beaten, and His flesh would be ripped to unrecognition. This is what Jesus saw as He looked into the cup. For most believers the dying part is easy but how we die worries us. No one should have to die this way. But there was more....
3. Jesus looked beyond the Sin, beyond the Suffering and recognized His role as Sacrifice.
The Day of Atonement was not a pretty sight. It was an awful, awful bloody sight at the tabernacle on that day as the lambs would be slain at the altar. Imagine the small lambs, white without blemish, being slain as they stood helplessly. The sight of the blood that must have overcome that altar as the lamb would be numb at first, but then too late, realizing the pain of sacrificial instrument the lamb would thrash about literally throwing its life blood all over the altar. I know that it is an awful image to suggest... but such was the day of Calvary. There is no artistic rendition of Calvary that has done justice to what Jesus must have endured at the Cross. It must have been a bloody, bloody sight that day as Jesus lay down on that cross, already covered with blood from his scourging, only to be mocked again and again.... then a crown of thorns driven into his brow which would only add to the crimson scene that day as the blood flowed out of his head, down his face, out of his back and chest where he was ripped to pieces by the scourging.... and then even in death, the spear that came to his side to let the blood that remained, flow down from the cross. All of this, Jesus saw in the cup! He would be the final, the once for all sacrifice. Oh But there was more....