Summary: The cup of suffering our Lord drank of has been passed down through time to each of us, and He has given us the example of how we should partake.
1. Nobody wants to talk about suffering.
a. Many people who are suffering don’t want to talk about what they are going through.
2. Suffering takes on many forms:
a. It comes in the form of sickness.
b. It comes at the hands of others.
c. It comes at the hand of the enemy of our soul.
d. It comes as a part of life in this fallen world.
3. I don’t want to take lightly anyone’s suffering – but sometimes it’s good to put our suffering into perspective.
a. Illustration of Nazi Death Camp Prisoner “Almost 50 years ago Elie Wiesel was a fifteen-year old prisoner in the Nazi death camp at Buna. A cache of arms belonging to a Dutchman had been discovered at the camp. The man was promptly shipped to Auschwitz. But he had a young servant boy, a pipel as they were called, a child with a refined and beautiful face, unheard of in the camps. He had the face of a sad angel. The little servant, like his Dutch master, was cruelly tortured, but would not reveal any information. So the SS sentenced the child to death, along with two other prisoners who had been discovered with arms. Wiesel tells the story: One day when we came back from work, we saw three gallows rearing up in the assembly place, three black crows. Roll call. SS all around us; machine guns trained: the traditional ceremony. Three victims in chains—and one of them, the little servant, the sad-eyed angel. The SS seemed more preoccupied, more disturbed than usual. To hang a young boy in front of thousands of spectators was no light matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was lividly pale, almost calm, biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow over him. This time the Lagercapo refused to act as executioner. Three SS replaced him. The three victims mounted together onto the chairs. The three necks were placed at the same moment within the nooses. “Long live liberty!” cried the two adults. But the child was silent. “Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked. Total silence throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting. “Bare your heads!” yelled the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping. “Cover your heads!” Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues hung swollen, blue-tinged. but the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive...For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not yet glazed. Behind me, I heard the same man asking: “Where is God now?” And I heard a voice within me answer him: “Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows.” That night the soup tasted like corpses.” Elie Wiesel, Night, Bantam, 1982, pp. 75-6, quoted in When God Was Taken Captive, W. Aldrich, Multnomah, 1989, pp. 39-41.
4. According to Jesus, suffering is to be expected, and even embraced.
a. Matt.16:24 “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
b. Paul embraced suffering when he said “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
5. Seeing how Christ handled suffering gives us strength as we follow in His footsteps.
I. Christ Took the Cup
A. Christ has never asked us to do anything He Himself would not do.
B. In His humanity He was no different then you or I – He wanted to avoid the cup if at all possible (v.36)
1. But He did take it.
C. Christ’s cup took Him all the way to Golgotha. (hill of suffering – shame)
D. Where will the cup lead you?
1. No one knows – only God
2. Rest assured he will not leave you nor forsake you.
3. Just be willing to take it.
II. Christ Gave Thanks For the Cup
A. Christ not only took the cup, but the way He took it is a testimony of grace in action.
1. He took it with a thankful heart.
2. He knew the cup He held in His hand represented His death.
3. He also knew the cup within His hand was for all of humanity.
B. Think back to a cup you have had to take.
1. Be thankful – that cup may have been a blessing to someone else.