Christ’s Cup

For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.
~ Psalm 75:8

And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
~ Matthew 26:39

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
~ Hebrews 12:2

Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
~ John 11:41-42

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
~ John 17:24

Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
~ John 12:27-28

Sermon Upon John XVIII. 11, by Thomas Manton.

The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? John xviii. 11 c, d.

These words are part of Christ’s rebuke to Peter, who, when the high priest’s servants came to attack Christ, draweth his sword, and cuts off Malchus’ ear, which our Lord first healeth, and then reproveth his disciple for this temerarious action: ‘ Put up thy sword into the sheath.’ He reproveth him, partly because it becometh no private man by opposition to resist authority; but the chief reason was, our Lord would not be hindered in performing the great act of his mediation, his dying for sinners. You shall see in another place, when Peter counselled him against his sufferings, he rebuked him with the same severity that: he doth the devil tempting him to idolatry ‘ Get thee behind me, Satan,’ Mat. xvi. 23, compared with Mat. iv. 10. And here this rash and unseasonable interposition, to save his master by force, is again reproved. In Peter’s temerity, take notice of the difference between military valour and christian fortitude. He that faltered and was blown down by the weak blast of a damsel’s question hath now the courage with a single sword to venture upon an whole band of men. Military valour is boisterous, and dependeth upon the heat of blood and spirits, and is better for a sudden onset than a deliberate trial; but christian fortitude dependeth on the strength of faith, and lieth in a meek subjection to God, and will enable us to endure the greatest torments rather than encroach upon the conscience of our duty to God. A man of a military forward spirit may outbrave dangers when they are sudden, but faileth or fainteth in weaker trials, that are managed rather in a way of charge and accusation than force. But in Christ’s rebuke, take notice of his obedience to God and love to men. Obedience to God: Shall I not suffer patiently, without resisting, what my Father hath determined me to suffer? And love to men; it was the cup which God had given him to drink for the good of his people, and therefore he would by no means decline it.
In the words take notice of—

(1.) The notion by which affliction is expressed; it is ‘ a cup.’

(2.) God’s ordering of it, ‘ Which my Father hath given me.’

(3.) Christ’s submission, ‘ Shall I not drink it?

1. For the term or notion whereby Christ’s sufferings are expressed, ‘a cup.’

We read of a threefold cup in scripture—

(1.) A cup of tribulation;

(2.) A cup of consolation; thanksgiving.

The first of these is often mentioned: Ps. xi. 6, ‘ Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup.’ So the prophet Jeremiah is bidden, chap.XXV.15, Take the wine-cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations to whom I send thee to drink it.’ So Ps. Ixxv. 8, ‘For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture: and he poureth out the same; but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.’ Thus God’s dispensations are ordinarily expressed by a cup poured out and given to men to drink. And therefore our Lord Christ himself useth this form of speech, not only here, but elsewhere; as Mat. xxvi. 39, ‘ Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.’ It was a dreadful cup that he was to drink of.

The second cup, the cup of consolation, is spoken of Jer. xvi. 7, * Neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother; taken from the Jewish custom of sending it to them that mourned, or to condemned persons. The same is spoken of Prov. xxxi. 6, 7, ‘ Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts; let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more; Amos ii. 8, ‘ They drank the wine of the condemned.’

(3.) A cup of salvation and taken from the Jewish custom of sending

The third was the cup of salvation, spoken of Ps. cxvi.,13, ‘I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.’ Or the cup of deliverance, used more solemnly in the temple by the priests, or more privately in the family. Sometimes called the drink-offering of praise; and to which the ‘cup of blessing,’ 1 Cor. x. 16, used in the Lord’s supper, hath a great respect; for it was always used with cer- tain expressions of commemoration and praise. The first is plainly here intended, the cup of tribulation, so called because our afflictions are measured out by God, both for quantity and quality, either by his justice or by his wisdom and mercy.

2. God’s ordering of it, ‘ Which my Father hath given me.’ Christ mentioneth not the malice of his enemies, but the will of God and his Father. His hand in Christ’s sufferings is often asserted in scripture Isa. liii. 10, ‘ It pleased the Father to bruise him he hath put him to grief;’ Acts ii. 23, ‘Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain;’ Acts iv.28,’For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.’ God did not excite and instigate those wicked wretches to that cruelty which they exercised upon Christ, yet it was predetermined by God for the salvation of mankind.

3. Christ’s submission, ‘Shall I not drink it?’

If God put a bitter cup into our hands, we must not refuse it, for here we have Christ’s example. The meaning is, this bitter passion which the Father hath laid upon me, shall I not suffer it patiently?

Doct. That it is the duty of christians patiently to suffer whatever God hath appointed them to suffer.

The note is plain. I shall discuss it in this method —

1. That in all calamities we should look to God.

2. That it is a great advantage to patience when we can consider him not as an angry judge, but as a gracious father.

3. That it well becometh his people to endure that willingly which he calleth them unto.

I. That in all calamities we should look unto God Ps. xxxix. 9, ‘ I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it.’ That is the first thing that quieteth the heart, when we see God’s hand in all tilings that befall us. So Hezekiah: Isa. xxxviii. 15, ‘What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it.’ If God hath done it, it is time to cease, and say no more; for why should we con- tend with the Lord? We murmur and repine if we look no higher than second causes; but owning God’s hand, we have nothing to reply by way of murmuring or expostulations. So Job, chap. i. 21, ‘ The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ He doth not say, Dominus dedit, diabolus abstulit—The Lord hath given, and the devil hath taken away; nor yet, the Chaldean or Sabean hath taken away; but he owneth God in the providence. Compare the different carriage of David when Nabal slighted him and when Shimei railed on him. The one you have1Sam.xxv.21,22,’ Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained to him; but he hath requited me evil for good. So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertaineth to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.’ A rash speech, because he only reflected upon the unkindness of Nabal, and meditateth nothing but revenge. The other you have 2 Sam.xvi.11,’ Let him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him.’ David then considered not the instrument, but the supreme author; he looked not to the stone, but the hand that flung it, to God’s providence, who thought good by that means to chastise him. If we mind providence rather than revenge, we must not reflect on the injury done to us, nor the malice of our adversaries, but the will and good pleasure of God. SoJoseph:Gen.1.20,’As for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it for good.’ So he calmeth his heart, and fortifieth it against all thoughts of revenge against his brethren. In short, there are two sorts of evils and afflictions, such as come immediately from the hand of God, or such injuries and afflictions wherein men are the instruments. Patience hath to do with both, that we may bear afflictions from God without murmuring, and injuries from men without thought of revenge. Such as come immediately from the hand of God are not to be looked upon as chances or casual accidents, but the Lord is to be owned in them, and then we must ‘ humble ourselves under his mighty hand,’ 1 Peter v. 6. In injuries from men, we must consider they are also governed by God’s providence, and sent by God as well as other evils. Some are patient under an affliction from God, but very impatient under injurious deal- ing from men; as when a shower of rain falleth from heaven, we bear it quietly, but if one throw a basin of water upon us, we storm, and are vexed at heart. But if we did look through the wrongs of men to God, they would not be so irksome to us, be they injuries in civil commerce, such as oppression, detention of dues, contumelies, reproaches, or persecution for righteousness’ sake; see God in all, that you may not fret at it.

Two things we must lay down briefly —

1. That nothing falleth out without God’s particular providence: Lam. iii. 37, 38, ‘ Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when out of the mouth of the Most High that is, nothing is done here below but by a divine disposal and providence, nothing but what he by his secret the Lord commandeth it not? proceedeth not evil and good; wisdom hath pre-ordained and appointed.

2. That cross issues and punishments, as well as benefits and prosperous successes, come all of God Isa. xlv. 7, ‘ I form the light, and: create darkness; I make peace, and create evil: I, the Lord, do all these tilings.’ AH evils of punishment come from God, as well as the blessings of providence; and without this principle we could neither be thankful for the one nor humble under the other. We look upon it as a piece of atheism and irreligiousness if we be not thankful for benefits; it is as great an evil if we be not humble under punishments. We count him a profane man that should thank his dungcart for his good crop; and doth not he as much deny providence that in all his afflictions looketh only to instruments, and not to the hand of God? that rageth against men, but doth not take notice of the will of his heavenly Father? It is very notable, Jonah iv. 6, 7, that God first prepared a gourd to shelter Jonah from the scorching heat of the sun, and then prepared a worm tliat smote the gourd, and deprived him of that comfort and benefit. He that gave us the delight in any natural comfort doth also take it from us. The same hand must be owned in giving and taking, or else we shall not prevent atheism. He that created the gourd created the worm; and he that governed the gourd, and made it a refreshing shadow from the heat of the sun, he governed the worm to eat out the root and life of the gourd. As Christ here saith, not the Jews or pharisees provided this bitter cup for him, but the Father, AEicnmenius, an ancient Greek writer on the scripture, in his comment on the Acts of the Apostles, telleth us that once a great plague invaded the city of Athens, and miserably desolated it, which also other histories testify; the citizens being almost consumed, ran to the image of Jupiter with sacrifices, vows, and prayers, to save them from the pestilence, but Jupiter could not do it; then to Saturn, Mercury, Neptune, and other gods, but still in vain, for the plague daily increased, and was more mortal and deadly. And when this was considered in the court of the Areopagites, a wise man among them said, Without doubt these gods known to us did not send this pestilence, because upon our prayers and supplications to them they cannot take it away; there may be some other god unknown to us who sent it, and who alone can cause it to cease, therefore he is to be sought unto, an altar erected to him, and sacrifices and intercessions offered to him, to take away this plague from us. And this writer thinketh that this was the original of that altar which Paul saw with this inscription,’ To the unknown God,’ Acts xvii. 23. I have brought this account to show you that all evil is sent by God, and his hand must be acknowledged in it, or else religion will fall to the ground. When the disciples were terrified in a great storm, Christ cometh walking upon the waters, and telleth them, ‘Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid,’ Mark vi. 50. They thought it was a spectre, but Christ saith, ‘It is I.’ In short, the author of all the annoyances and afflictions that befalleth us in this life is Gou, their end is repentance, their cause is sin; and this well thought of will silence all our murmurings.

II. That it is a great advantage to patience when we can consider him not as an angry judge, but as a gracious father. The cup which Christ drank off was very bitter, and yet he saith, ‘The cup which my Father hath given me.’ Now every one cannot apply this comfort, for many are not so much as in a visible relation to God, and others that visibly live in his family yet are not owned and acknowledged by him as his dear children, rather counted bastards than sons, as the apostle speaketh, Heb. xii. 7, 8, ‘If ye endure chastening, God healeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisements, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.’ Not legitimate, but degenerate children. Others have a special relation to God, such as is between father and children: 2 Cor. vi. 18,’I will be unto yon a Father, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ These have an interest in his dearest love, and a right to his choicest benefits; and they shall know it by his fatherly dealing with them. Now to Ruch this comfort properly belongeth; for though God may punish and afflict others, yet he cannot be said to chastise them as a father, but as au angry judge he doth punish them for their offences and rebellions. Therefore, if .you would apply this comfort, you must clear up your interest, enter into covenant with him, and sincerely believe in Christ, and devote yourselves to him, that he may be your God and Father.