I’ve been listening to The Beautiful Girls lately, an Aussie band, and one of my favourite songs of theirs is ‘Bring Me Your Cup’ which is actually a cover of a UB40 song. It’s a cheery little song talking about sharing a drink with a friend who cares a lot but has never actually stated how he feels about the woman he is sharing a drink with. The lyrics go like this:
Did I ever say, how I feel about you I think I never found that easy to do The things that you do, don't need to be heard You know your actions, girl, speak louder than words (CHORUS) I've got the bottle, bring me your cup Pop the cork, and try a sup And when you're empty, I'll fill you up We'll drink it down till the sun comes up I'm heading home, like a steaming train Foot to the floor, in the driving rain My head is aching and my mouth is dry I've got a thirst only you can satisfy
And I love the song! It speaks of a close relationship between two people in which their love is shared and known through their actions. It’s beautiful.
But I’ve been reading about another cup lately too. One that has also been downed in love by one whose actions speak directly to my heart, loudly but also with words.
This morning I read in Jeremiah 25 that every nation of the world is to drink of the cup of God’s wrath:
15Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16They shall drink and stagger and be crazed because of the sword that I am sending among them.”
This is particularly terrifying because to drink from God’s cup means to be judged and after years of being reminded to turn back to God, God then says this judgement is to come to everyone. You can read about it in Jeremiah 25.
At this time of the year in our approach to Easter, I am reminded of how Jesus really understood the terror involved in drinking God’s cup. For in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before Jesus was to be crucified he prayed, through bloodied tears and sweat,
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
And he prayed this prayer – that he would not have to drink from God’s cup – THREE times that night. Three times! He truly must have known the torment associated with drinking the cup of the wrath of God. But he did it. Knowingly, Jesus drank. And he experienced the consequences when he cried out on the cross just before he died,
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
For Christ, drinking God’s cup meant taking on the wrath of God that was due to the WHOLE WORLD because we have ignored God and tried to do things our own way. Jesus drank from that cup and was cut off from God, like we should have been. Instead of us. It’s amazing. It’s incredible. Now, because Jesus drank from this cup, we don’t have to! Because he took the judgement of God for the world, we don’t have to! Because he rose from death, so can we! It’s amazing!
So I was thinking, The Beautiful Girls song ‘Bring Me Your Cup’ kinda reflects, in a small way, the relationship we can now have with God. God has shown us how He feels about us through Christ. He has spoken clearly, with actions and words. At the cross we see how God feels about us ignoring him and doing things our own way – He hates it! And it deserves punishment! Severe punishment!! – but He loves us and takes that punishment himself so we never have to experience the judgement that separates us from Him. God has made it very clear how He feels about us.
God has filled the cup and passed it to Jesus, He drank, took the consequences and through obedience came through having won a way free of judgement for us – if we acknowledge that Jesus took the punishment that was really due to us! Thank God! And now Jesus offers to fill our cup with water from the spring of life, not judgement but life,
6He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life…” (Revelation 21:6&7)
And you know that just makes me feel like “heading home, like a steaming train, Foot to the floor in the driving rain, [because] my head is aching and my mouth is dry, I’ve got a thirst that only [Christ] can satisfy.”
But Revelation shows us that if we don’t take the cup Christ offers us, we must still drink the cup of the wrath of God…for if we don’t accept that Christ has drunk it for us, then we’re left to drink it for ourselves.
I thank God I’m drinking from the cup of life this Easter and forever.