The Two Cups
(A Communion Meditation)
By Michael Zaucha
The Cup of the Severity of God. The Scripture tells us that there is a cup in the hand of the Lord and it is full of mixture – what is in His cup is of full strength without dilution - and He poureth out the same (Ps. 75:8). Of God’s intent for that cup it is written: “The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth. Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this (pouring out of the righteous judgment of God) shall be the portion of their cup” (Ps. 11:4-6). These ones shall truly drink the dregs from the cup of God’s wrath and indignation.
But let the truth of the pouring out of this cup not escape from any one of us for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). When this truth dawns upon the heart of man, that one is in this most deadly of positions, the plea sounds forth from our hearts and lips: “Is there anyone that could pardon us from the partakement of this cup of fury, from this righteous judgment of the Lord being our portion to drink? Is there anyone able to grant us forgiveness so that we would not have to drink of the dregs of that cup?”
Brethren, we come here to this table, the Lord’s Table, to hear the proclamation of good news, and this table is good news. For this table declares the forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31, 13:38; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14), and our being made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (II Cor. 5:21), and of our being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 3:24). We come here to partake of and be filled once more of this glorious provision and to remember, to give thanks and praise unto our God and Father for His most precious and merciful provision unto us - that being His Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Provision of God’s Beloved Son. As we come together, let us remember Jesus, who in the days of His flesh, would partake of the cup of the fury of the Lord – in our place – Himself being the fulfillment of the promise of God spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “Thus saith Thy Lord the LORD, and Thy God that pleadeth the cause of His people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of My fury; thou shalt no more drink it again” (Isa. 51:22). God would fulfill this in righteousness by pleading our cause through our Lord Jesus Christ by taking the cup of His just wrath due all of us out of our hand and giving it to Another to drink – even His Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, being sent to taste death for every man (Heb. 2:9). While on the cross, Jesus drank of this cup, the cup of God’s fury, in our place.
On that night before His hour had come to give life for us, Jesus began to be sorrowful and very heavy, crying out: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (Mk. 14:34). “And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from Me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mk. 14:36). And kneeling down and praying again “Saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him” (Lk. 22-42) – not unto the removal of the cup that He must drink, but that He would strengthened to drink from it all the fury of the Lord.
And drink it Jesus did – to the full – on the cross being made to be sin for us who knew no sin (II Cor. 5:21). God having laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all (Isa. 53:6), whose own self bear our sins in His body on the tree (I Pet. 2:24), even bearing all the curses of the law that were to be administered to all the lawbreakers –Jesus was made a curse for us (Gal. 3:16). Hanging on the tree, being thusly so made by God, Jesus did drink fully of the cup, even the dregs of the cup of the Lord’s fury.
The Cup of the Goodness of God. But through all this suffering of Jesus, the glories would burst forth. The glories of an accomplished salvation would shine forth, for by His death, all the good pleasure of the Lord God Almighty was satisfied – God Himself announcing that verdict of good news: “I have seen the travail of His soul, and I am satisfied.” This is the glorious verdict of the righteous Judge (Isa. 53:10-11). And with that verdict of God flows unto all that are joined to His Son’s death and are walking in the reality of that pronouncement: “Therefore I shall be merciful to (our) unrighteousness and (our) sins and (our) iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 8:12).
So let the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ continue to be declared of this table: “For in the hand of the Lord is a cup: it is full of mixture – it is not diluted in any way - and He poureth out the same” (Ps. 75:8), but because of Jesus and what He accomplished for us, the mixture of this cup is not a cup of trembling; it is not the cup of His fury because – by the word of God Himself - we shall not drink of that cup no more as we continue to abide in Christ, and He in us.
The full mixture of the cup at this table is a cup of blessing, and by the grace of God, it is a cup that we do drink of to the full. As the Apostle Paul revealed to the saints the good news received from Jesus Himself: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me” (I Cor. 11:23-25).
The cup which we partake of here is neither a cup of trembling nor a cup of God’s fury, but instead a cup of blessing for us. As it is written: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (I Cor. 10:16). As we partake of Jesus Himself, and grow thereby, and increase thereby and are strengthened thereby, we do show the reality of the truth of the provision of Jesus Christ for us and that the cup from which we do drink truly is a cup of blessing.
Brethren, let us continue to remember Jesus and that through Him and in Him no longer is poured upon us the mixture of the wrath of God’s fury because Jesus drank of that cup for us. And now, to all that are in Christ Jesus, the mixture – in full strength - of the blessings of God is poured upon us from the cup that is in the hand of the Lord, which is truly a cup of blessing. It is truly a cup full of blessing, and the Lord God Almighty - through Christ Jesus – poureth out the same upon the redeemed of the Lord.