Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?

Normally when someone hands a friend or relation a cup of anything, it’s a good thing.  A cup of “Joe” is usually a tasty warm caffeinated beverage.  That’s about as far as the current customs go.  There were a few other customs back in ancient times.  It isn’t difficult to find reference to a cup of suffering or wrath in the Old Testament prophets.  When Jesus was suffering intensely in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was praying that the cup of suffering might be taken from him.  Yet, he prayed that God the Father’s will would be done.  It is this cup of suffering that Jesus speaks of when he asks the question, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

When Jesus asked this question of the Apostle Peter, it was a dangerous situation.  They were in the Garden of Gethsemane surrounded by armed guards.  Jesus and his disciples were not trained ninjas.  The Son of God could have, of course, called upon an army of angels to handle the problem at hand, but then we’re back to the question, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

After we understand the concept of the cup of suffering, now we can consider the type of question Jesus is asking.  The question that Jesus asked is a rhetorical one.  It’s not a question that is looking for information.  The question offers the answer as soon as it is asked.  In fact the question gives us insight, not only into the suffering of our Lord, but also into our lives of suffering.  Jesus was born so that he might be the perfect sacrifice that our souls so desperately needed.  When we face suffering, it isn’t to pay for any sin or make up for a wrong, we are living out our days in service to our king.  Some of the suffering we face is because we bear the name of Jesus.  Some of the suffering we face is due to sinful world we live in.  Everyone comes down with the flu.  The joy of the Christian in the face of suffering is that we never suffer alone.  Jesus knows what we’re going through.  And we won’t suffer forever.  Our home is in heaven.  Our God has secured it.  Want to hear more about a question that carries its own answer?  Watch Sunday’s sermon taken from John 18 right now!