We recently went on a trip to New York City, and like any other tourist, we visited as many sites as we could and walked what seemed to be miles and enjoyed the subway and buses. It was amazing to see the “Freedom Tower” and humbling to visit the 911 Memorial. We visited the shops of course and got souvenir hats, “I Love New York” t-shirts, and of course CUPS. I mean who can pass up having an authentic, China made, New York coffee cup?!
Now I am not one to collect cups, because a cup is a cup… and yet not all cups are the same. I have a cup which was dad’s and has “Jack” on it. I doubt it is a collector’s item, and would probably sell for 10 cents in a yard sale, but to me… I would not trade it for 10 ‘authentic’ New York City souvenir cups! That’s because it is a reminder of dad. He drank from it. The coffee doesn’t taste better because of the cup. It is just a cup, made like any other cup.
Jesus “… took a CUP and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” It was just a cup right? The contents tasted no better because of the cup. Where is the cup? If we could ever find it what would we do with it? Would it be special to us? Of course! Would we trade it for an ‘authentic’ New York City cup? Hardly! How much would it sell for? Why, it would be priceless! Why? It’s JUST A CUP!
Of course it is what Jesus held in his un-nailed hands. It’s the cup that He prayed over after the fruit of the vine was poured into it. It’s the cup that He drank from and passed to the disciples and told them, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins… I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:27-29).
Is it the cup or the contents or what it all represents? Should we worship the cup or the Savior? Should we make a ‘law’ that only one cup can be used? Shall we argue on whether or not the juice was fermented? If so, then we miss the blessing of the meaning.
The “cup” is used to ‘hold’ different things in the Scriptures…but in this case, it held suffering, shame, pain, and death…“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this CUP be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” This was the real CUP… So Paul instructs Christians in 1 Corinthians 11:26 “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” When we drink of the cup, we should examine ourselves and be so grateful that He drank of it FIRST! (I Corinthians 11:28). More than a CUP, more than GRAPE JUICE.