Updated: Sep 21, 2019
A Message through Danny Ninal on Luke 22:39:44
City Cross Link – 01 September 2019
LESSONS FROM THE CUP
Good morning, Church! Thank you for coming today. Today is a special day for me because this is my first opportunity to deliver God’s message to City Cross Link. Let me start with a prayer.
Heavenly Father, we ask that you will speak to us today through Your Word. Open our minds so that we can have a glimpse of your wisdom. Open our hearts so that we can have a taste of your glory. Come, O Holy Spirit, and envelop us with your presence and your love today. Inspire us Lord, encourage us, strengthen us. Teach us how to trust you, in spite of our broken spirit. Be with us today. This we pray in the sweet name of Jesus. Amen.
“Father, if it is possible, take this cup from me, yet not my will but Yours be done.”
This is the verse that we shall tackle today. This is from Luke 22:42 (NIV). To get a better picture of the verse, let us read from verse 39 through verse 46 of Chapter 22 of the Gospel of Luke
Please open your bibles. I will be reading from the New International Version.
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
And here’s the verse that we shall be studying today, “Father, if it is possible, take this cup from me, yet not my will but Yours be done.”
As a matter of habit, and to understand the Bible better, I always ask questions. Today’s verse is no exception. In one of my devotional readings, I saw this verse. Then I ask, why did Jesus Christ use the word ‘CUP?’ Have you ever asked the question yourself? Cup? So, we ask the question, What is the Cup?
To understand that we need to go back to the Old Testament. In the OT, whenever the cup was mentioned, the cup was often associated with judgment, the pouring out of God’s judgment, the cup of suffering, the cup of agony, the cup of pain, the cup of God’s wrath.
This was what Jesus had in mind, when he said, ‘take this cup from me.’ He was thinking about God’s wrath. This was the pain that he was going to suffer, the agony of his death in the cross. That’s why Luke said he was in anguish, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Wait a minute, was he scared? Was Jesus scared when he said this? When he saw the cup and what it meant, was there fear in his heart?
It has been suggested over the years, that perhaps Jesus stumbled here. Some argue that this was a sign of weakness, in Jesus’ part. Because on one hand he had been talking about his death, with confidence he said that ‘no one takes my life over me, I take it down upon myself.’ Over and over again, he had said that he was going to die, and he knew that he was going to suffer. And then, all of a sudden he asked, ‘remove this cup?’ take this cup away?
Why was he even asking this? Is this a sign of weakness or failure? ANSWER: Absolutely NOT. This is a proof of Jesus’ full human nature. We know that Jesus has two natures, He is both God and Man. This is Jesus, the man, asking. In our discipleship program we shall discuss in details under Christology, this doctrine. For today, let it suffice to say that here actually Jesus, the man, was tempted.
Yes, here Jesus was actually tempted. And these words in verse 42 were his prayer, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done.’
But I want you to take a closer look at our verse today. Notice that this verse was kind of wrapped up or boxed in by verse 40, which says, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation,’ and verse 46, which says ‘Get up and pray that you will not fall into temptation.’
So, here Jesus was actually tempted, and Satan was attacking the human nature of Jesus. Satan wanted Jesus to give up; because what Jesus was going to do was painful, that Jesus was going to suffer and Satan tempted him to give it up. That’s why Jesus here prayed to his father. That’s why in verse 43 an angel appeared to encourage him.
Take note, there were only two times that angels appeared in the life time of Jesus, except during his birth and his resurrection. The first was when Jesus was tempted in the desert, and the second was here in our verse today, when Jesus was tempted in the garden of Gethsemane.
The angel appeared in both situations to do the same thing, and that was to encourage him, or to assure him that God is with him. Why, you might ask? Well, not that Jesus did not know, but I think Jesus wants us to know. That is why he asked the disciples in both verses 40 and 46, to pray so that they will not fall into temptation.
Now we know what is the Cup. We know that it is referring to God’s judgment, to God’s wrath? So, we ask, what did Jesus see in the Cup? So the question now is “What is in the cup?”
Is it coffee? Tea? Or wine? Vinegar? All of the above? Let me propose the following things that explain this scene. There are four things that are relevant in our verse today. They all start with letter S.
I. The first thing is SIN.
The wrath of God was a result of man’s sin. We all know that sin separates us from God. It angers God, and it cuts our relationship with Him. The Old Testament is a narrative of the ups and downs of the Israelites, a story of sin and forgiveness. In fact, the whole Bible is a story of Man’s sin and God’s forgiveness. Happening over and over again. Man sinned, God forgave, then man sinned again and God forgave again. We see in this narrative the sinfulness of man, but also God’s mercy and forgiveness. But how did they do this in the Old Testament? The clue is in our next question - what is in the cup
II. The second thing is SACRIFICE
This is the cause of the vicious cycle of man’s sinfulness. Because in the OT, God allowed them to offer sacrifices, and if the sacrifices were acceptable to God, then they are forgiven. But then, with corruption in the leadership, the offerings and sacrifices became not just a liturgy, but a business.
Do you remember how mad Jesus was in the Temple, when he saw in the ‘temple courts’ he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money? It was one of the few times that Jesus was really angry. We know his compassion and meekness. But this time he needed anger management. He shouted, in John 2:16 “Stop turning my Father’s house into a market.”
This was when Jesus’s mission on earth became real. The meaningless sacrifices needed to end. There was a need for AN ULTIMATE SACRIFICE. And for that God sent Him to earth to become the sacrifice. Jesus saw that in the cup. That sacrifice will bring the world into a new dimension. I told you earlier that the whole Bible is a story of Man’s sin and God’s forgiveness. Allow me to bring up something that really stood out for me, but it was in the previous verses. It was in Luke 22:20.
Before Jesus went to the Garden, they had dinner with the disciples. It was what we call the Last Supper. In verse 20 it says, ‘… after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.”’
This puts our verse in a higher level. Notice this shift from Old to New, from Old Covenant to New Covenant, from Old Testament, to New Testament. Let me ask you, ‘What is in the middle?’ Or should I say, ‘Who is in the middle of this transition?’
JESUS CHRIST, yes, indeed. Jesus Christ is the central character in this book, the main actor in the movie, the central point of our lives. It was his ultimate act of sacrifice that ushered us into the new covenant. That is why we don’t do sacrifices anymore, because it has already been done by Him. That is why we don’t need to walk on our knees from the front door to the altar of the church to be forgiven… because He paid for our sins already.
And that is why satan wanted to prevent this transition from happening.
Allow me to digress for a while.
Our church, City Cross Link, is going into transition now, and satan does not want it to happen. That is why we pray, so that we will not fall into temptation, we pray so that with Jesus on our side this church will grow, so much so that we will not fit in this place already, so much so that we will need perhaps an auditorium so we can have our worship services, or an office so this is not just going to be a Sunday event only. And we will say to satan, you have no place in this church, that we will all hold on to our cups, and usher this church into what God intends it to be.
We had our strategic planning last week, and leaders, you know your cups already. Don’t ever drop it. Hold on to your cup, whether it is in music, or in finance, or in IT, or in ushering, or in food (or shall I say, especially in food). Do your work with the gifts God has given you.
And from here on, just as Christ said, we also say, “Thy will be done.”
III. And that brings us to the third S.
The third thing I want to emphasize is SALVATION
Let us go back to our verse, ‘Father, if it is possible, take this cup from me, yet, not my will, but yours be done.’
Because Jesus said that, because Jesus died on the cross, because he obeyed the Father, we are now saved. Salvation, is our third S.
Allow me to insert another idea here. When we talk about salvation, we remember John 8:32 he said, THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE. When he said this, it has reference to his previous words, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
But what is the problem these days? The truth is not anymore absolute. It has become relative. The truth has become subjective.
Let me illustrate it to you. I will need two volunteers for this. No, this is not magic.
Ok, both of you face each other. In the middle I put a cup. Ok, your task is just to answer the question, “WHICH SIDE OF THE CUP IS THE HANDLE? IS IT IN THE RIGHT OR IN THE LEFT?”
(The cup was shown to those in the left, to confirm the answer of the guy in the left.
Then the cup was shown the cup to those in the right, to confirm the answer of the guy in the right.
As I walk down the aisle and then going back, look the the handle of the cup. Let me ask you again. Which side of the cup is the handle? You will change their answers because I am now facing the opposite direction.)
Please sit down. Thank you, guys.
This is the problem in today’s age. THE AGE OF RELATIVISM. THE ERA OF SUBJECTIVITY. We always say, that is my opinion and you should respect it. If our opinion differs, you don’t judge me. We have lost the Moral Standard that is unchangeable. We have lost the standard that doesn’t change in time. We are now ruled by standards which are made by men, whose minds change over time.
In my example of the handle of the cup, when I change, the answer changes with it. Because I do change.
We need to base our decisions in life in a moral law that doesn’t change. Here is why I hate it when people misuse the words, The Truth Shall Set You Free. Let me give you an example. Let me show you this picture of a lobby in a big building. Look at the carving on the wall. Can you read it?
“YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE.”
Can you see this quote carved on the wall? This is actually on the wall of a lobby of a huge office. Guess where this is.
----- THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
How on earth can they put the Word of God on this lobby of the Original Headquarters Building? In a place where deceit is the norm of those workin