29th Sunday Ordinary Time – Drink of this Cup…

Cup of salvation

The Greek, poterion, “Cup” (not chalice), appears only four times in Mark. Stunning and telling instances. Witness!

Mark 10:38–39            But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;

They all DID drink! What happened?

Mark 14:23f             Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

Mark 14:36f             He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour?

What kind of cup? The Septuagint gives these hints… First, notice that the cup of coals of fire and sulfur TESTS the wicked to see how they will respond to them and the scorching wind. It’s not punishment. It’s a way God tests their reality. 

Primarily, it’s a way to get their attention, to repent & call them back from their idols. The threat of punishment & wrath are calls to repent!

Psalm 11:4–7            The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind. The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and his soul hates the lover of violence. On the wicked he will rain coals of fire and sulfur; a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Lamentations 4:21f             Rejoice and be glad, O daughter Edom, you that live in the land of Uz; but to you also the cup shall pass; you shall become drunk and strip yourself bare. The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter Zion, is accomplished, he will keep you in exile no longer; but your iniquity, O daughter Edom, he will punish, he will uncover your sins.

How were the disciples tested? How did they drink the cup? By betraying Jesus and fleeing for their lives – because they did not ‘get it’. Their urge to preserve their lives defeated their allegiance to Jesus

How was Jesus tested? How did he drink the cup? By becoming an object of terror and scorn, shamefully treated. And he did not curse back.

How are we tested? Hmmm.

There also is the cup of salvation… which one enjoys in the midst of testing & troubles, not after them. 

Psalm 23:1–5              The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Psalm 116:12–14              What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, 14 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

The disciples and the Twelve drank of the cup at the Last Supper. It was not YET the cup of salvation – in the sense stated above  because they slept, fought, fled, and abandoned Jesus.

So what? Yes, it’s good to have high goals for serving God and the people and pure intentions and to be good all our days. Indeed, it is good to follow Jesus and pray and live in the Spirit.

Can you and I drink the cup?

Scares the c*$% out of me. You? 

How could it be possible we might become willing to drink from Jesus’ cup?

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