01 Aug The Cup of Wrath and the Crown of Glory
Love in its most potent form was poured out when Jesus Christ was crucified. Not a distant event etched in the annals of history, this act reverberates in our lives, challenging us and shaping our understanding of grace, sin, and salvation.
Imagine the weight of a wooden cross – now multiply that by the weight of the world’s sins. That’s what Jesus bore on His shoulders. It wasn’t just physical suffering; it was the burden of our failings, mistakes, and wrongdoings. This is where we start our exploration – a journey that promises to reveal new facets of God’s love for us.
Along the way, we encounter a seemingly small but grand act: Jesus refusing wine mixed with myrrh. It’s here that we witness His resolve to fully embrace the path ahead, not seeking to numb the pain or find an easy way out. His dedication was absolute, His love for us unwavering.
And then, the climax – an act of selfless sacrifice that echoes through eternity. Jesus facing God’s wrath head-on, not sparing Himself from any drop of the punishing cup meant for us. He absorbed it all, demonstrating the profound depth of His love and the lengths He would go to for our salvation.
Together, let’s embark on this journey, gleaning insights from these defining moments, and discover how they continue to shape our lives today.
So, let’s explore these significant events together, delving into their enduring impact, and uncover how they continue to transform our understanding of grace, faith, and our daily lives today.
The Symbolism of the Cross
Jesus carrying His cross is an image that resounds powerfully through Christian history. More than a simple piece of the crucifixion story, it carries deep symbolic meaning. The cross that Jesus carried wasn’t just made of wood and nails; it was, metaphorically, the weight of our sins. Each step Jesus took towards Golgotha was a step taken with the heavy burden of humanity’s disobedience, rebellion, and fall.
This was the beginning of Jesus’s suffering, the start of a redemptive journey that would end with the ultimate sacrifice. His acceptance of the cross was not a sign of defeat but rather the first act of victory. For it is by this means that He would conquer sin and death once and for all. It showed His willingness, His submission to the divine plan of salvation, and the lengths He would go to bring about our redemption.
Understanding that Jesus carried our sins on His shoulders radically changes how we perceive grace and sin. Recognizing that our wrongdoings contributed to the weight of that cross should lead us to a place of deep repentance. At the same time, it’s also a vivid reminder of the boundless grace we’ve been shown. Our sins were carried up Golgotha’s hill, and nailed to the cross with Jesus. They died there with Him, setting us free from the power and penalty of sin.
In our daily lives, this should stir in us a profound gratitude for Jesus’s sacrifice. It should inspire us to live a life worthy of the price He paid, one marked by grace, mercy, and love. As we face our own struggles and trials, we can look to the image of Jesus carrying His cross as a reminder of His strength, His dedication to us, and the freedom we now have in Him.
Choosing Suffering over Ease
Amidst the agony of crucifixion, Jesus made a choice that often goes unnoticed – He refused the wine mixed with myrrh, a concoction intended to numb His pain (Mark 15:23). This decision, small in the grand scheme of events, holds profound implications. It was a deliberate choice to embrace suffering in its full intensity, an affirmation of His willingness to endure God’s will in its entirety, without seeking temporary relief or an easier path.
This act is a testament to the depth of Christ’s love for us and His unwavering commitment to our redemption. It highlights the selfless nature of His mission: He chose to endure the unfiltered brunt of our sin’s consequences to offer us unmerited salvation. It wasn’t merely about physical pain; it was about bearing the full weight of sin’s spiritual ramifications. In His refusal of the wine, we see a love so profound that it chose to undergo the worst of sufferings for the sake of others.
In our own lives, Jesus’ example offers valuable lessons. It teaches us that faithfulness to God’s plan may often involve discomfort and hardship. Yet, in choosing God’s will over temporary relief, we follow the path Jesus walked. This doesn’t mean that we seek out suffering, but rather that we understand following Christ may sometimes mean forsaking the easier road in favor of faithfulness.
When we face hardships, Jesus’ example encourages us to remain committed to God’s will and trust in His purposes, just as Jesus did on the way to Calvary. As followers of Christ, we’re called to pick up our cross daily, echoing His dedication and unwavering faith amidst trials, guided by the strength of His love.
The Cup of Wrath: The Ultimate Sacrifice
The term ‘cup of wrath’ echoes throughout the Scriptures, symbolizing divine judgement. We encounter it in Psalms 75:8, where the Psalmist speaks of a cup in God’s hand, filled with foaming wine mixed with spices, which He pours out. In Jeremiah 25:15-28, God commands the prophet to make all the nations drink from His cup of wrath, leading them into destruction.
But when we arrive at the New Testament and the crucifixion, we encounter a startling reality: the cup of God’s wrath, originally meant for humanity due to our sin, was willingly accepted by Jesus. As John Owen puts it, “Christ refused Satan’s cup, the cup of ease, and chose rather to drink the cup of God’s wrath to its last drop.”
Jesus did not merely sip from this cup, but fully absorbed it – every last drop. He endured the full fury of God’s righteous anger against sin, suffering the punishment we deserved. It’s here, on the cross, where God’s justice meets His mercy. Justice was served as sin was punished; mercy was displayed as Jesus stood in our place.
This event, the Son of God bearing God’s wrath on our behalf, is the cornerstone of our faith. It reveals a love so profound that it chose to endure the worst for our sake. It unveils a God who is both just and merciful, a Savior willing to drink the cup of wrath to bring us salvation.
In our daily lives, this should cause us to fall to our knees in awe and gratitude. It challenges our casual attitude towards sin, knowing what it cost Jesus. It underscores the gravity of God’s grace, showing us we have been saved not by our works, but by Christ’s sacrificial love.
Recognizing Jesus’s absorbing of God’s wrath should lead us to a life of deep gratitude, faithfulness, and commitment. It should kindle in us a love for God that mirrors His love for us, one that is willing to surrender all for His glory. It reminds us that our lives are no longer ours, but His – bought at a price, redeemed by the blood of Jesus who drained the cup of God’s wrath for us.
The Personal Relevance of Christ’s Sacrifice
Reflecting on the events of Jesus’s crucifixion unveils a remarkable narrative of sacrifice. It’s the story of a Savior bearing our sins, choosing the path of suffering over ease, and ultimately drinking the full cup of God’s wrath on our behalf. But this isn’t a distant narrative; it is one deeply interwoven with our own lives.
As believers, these truths should evoke in us overwhelming gratitude. We were the ones deserving of the punishment that Jesus willingly accepted. This realization should spur us to live in a way that reflects this gratitude. Following Jesus’s example, we are called to take up our own crosses daily (Luke 9:23), which might mean enduring hardship, making sacrificial decisions, or remaining steadfast amidst trials.
Moreover, because of Jesus’s complete work on the cross, we can have full assurance of our salvation. We no longer live under the fear of God’s wrath, but instead bask in His unending grace.
Let’s then live lives that radiate Christ’s love to others, reflecting His grace, mercy, and faithfulness. Our daily actions, words, and choices can be an expression of our deep gratitude for His sacrifice. In trials and tribulations, let’s hold on to His example of faithfulness, comforted by the truth that He carried our sins, chose suffering for our redemption, and absorbed God’s wrath to offer us salvation.
Putting Your Hope and Trust in Christ
After considering the realities of Jesus’ sacrifice, the question remains: have you put your hope and trust in Jesus Christ? This is not merely about acknowledging historical facts or appreciating a great act of love. It is about a personal response to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Placing our hope and trust in Jesus means acknowledging Him as our Savior, who bore our sins on the cross and absorbed God’s wrath in our place. It involves surrendering our lives to Him, acknowledging that we have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, and need His grace and mercy. This surrender is a turning point, marking a shift from a life lived for ourselves to a life lived for Jesus.
If you haven’t made this decision yet, we invite you to do so today. Turn from your sins and put your trust in Jesus. Embrace the grace, love, and mercy that He offers.
Embracing this new life begins with a heartfelt confession and prayer. First, you confess Jesus as your Lord, acknowledging that He is God, that He died for your sins, and that He was raised to life, conquering sin, death, and hell once and for all (Romans 10:9). Following this confession, you then ask God to forgive you for your sins.
The prayer of confession and repentance doesn’t require perfect words, but rather a humble and sincere heart. In the Bible, the tax collector simply prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13). He acknowledged his sin and sought God’s mercy with a contrite heart.
In the same way, we approach God with humility, acknowledging our need for His forgiveness. We recognize that our personal sins are part of the weight that Jesus carried to the cross, and it was for these sins that He died. In prayer, we confess that we have lived for ourselves and not for Him, that we have rebelled against His rule, and express our deep need for His grace and mercy. Ask Him to be merciful to you, a sinner, and surrender your life to the lordship of Christ.
Once you’ve taken this important step, there are practical ways to deepen your relationship with God. The first steps can be as simple as daily reading God’s Word and spending time in prayer. As you do, you will begin to understand more deeply who God is and what He has done for you. Connecting with other Christians can also provide valuable support and encouragement as you embark on this faith journey. You were not created to live in isolation, and our faith was never intended to be a private matter. Through all this, remember the immense love Christ displayed for you on the cross, and let that love guide your path forward.
Sermon & Sandwiches
Reflecting and discussing a sermon after it has been preached can be a valuable exercise. It enables the message to sink in deeper, invites personal application, and can lead to beautiful insights. Here are some conversation starters to get the discussion going:
- “What struck you most about the picture of Jesus carrying our sins on the cross? How does it make you feel knowing the weight He bore was meant for us?”
- “Jesus refused the wine mixed with myrrh, choosing to fully experience the suffering of the cross. What does this tell you about His commitment to fulfilling God’s plan?”
- “How does understanding Jesus drank the full cup of God’s wrath for us impact your view of God’s grace and mercy?”
- “Considering Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, how does this influence the way we look at our own hardships and trials? How can we apply His example in our lives?”
- “The realization of Jesus’ sacrifice evokes a response. How do you feel this should affect our daily lives, decisions, and interactions with others?”
- “The truth of Jesus’ sacrifice and His love for us calls for a personal response. How can we daily express our trust and hope in Him, especially when faced with challenges?”
The Daily Devotion
Monday: The Journey to Golgotha
Read John 19:17. Reflect on Jesus carrying His cross, symbolic of the weight of our sins. Pray and thank Jesus for His willingness to bear this burden. Ask God to deepen your understanding of the gravity of sin and the magnitude of His grace.
Tuesday: Choosing Suffering Over Ease
Study Mark 15:23, where Jesus refuses the wine mixed with myrrh. Reflect on what this act signifies about Jesus’ dedication to fulfilling God’s will, even in the face of immense suffering. Pray for God to reveal areas of your life where you may be choosing comfort over faithfulness to God’s calling.
Wednesday: The Cup of Wrath
Read and meditate on verses that talk about the ‘cup of wrath’ such as Psalm 75:8 and Jeremiah 25:15-28. Consider the wrath that was due for our sins, and yet was fully absorbed by Christ on the cross. Ask God to help you grasp the severity of His wrath and the breadth of His mercy demonstrated in Christ.
Thursday: The Response to Christ’s Sacrifice
Reflect on the truths learned so far this week and their implications for your life. Consider how understanding Christ’s sacrifice affects your view of sin, grace, and your response to God. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in living out this understanding in a manner that honors God.
Friday: Trust and Hope in Christ
Read Romans 10:9 and contemplate what it means to confess Jesus as Lord and believe in His resurrection. Consider if there are areas in your life that you haven’t surrendered to Christ’s lordship. Pray, asking God for a heart of surrender and to deepen your trust in Him.
Engaging children with the deep truths of the gospel can be a beautiful and rewarding experience. Here’s a simple, relatable guide to help you unpack the profound truths of Christ’s sacrifice for your kids in a way they can understand.
- Start with a simple story: You could begin by telling a story about a friend who does something wrong, like stealing a toy, but you take the blame and the punishment. Explain that this is a little bit like what Jesus did for us. He carried our ‘wrong things’ (sins) on the cross.
Question: How would you feel if you took the punishment for something your friend did?
- Jesus’ journey and the cross: Talk about how Jesus carried a heavy wooden cross. That cross was like all the bad things everyone has ever done. Jesus carried it because He loves us.
Activity: Ask the kids to think of a time they tried to carry something very heavy. How hard was it?
- Jesus refused the wine: Talk about how Jesus was offered something that could have made His pain less, but He didn’t take it. He wanted to fully obey God, His Father, even though it was hard.
Question: Can you think of a time when you chose to do the right thing, even though it was difficult?
- Jesus and the cup of wrath: Explain that the Bible often talks about ‘God’s cup of wrath,’ which is like a big punishment for all the wrong things in the world. But Jesus drank this cup for us when He died on the cross.
Activity: Using a cup, explain how Jesus “drank” all of our punishment so we wouldn’t have to.
- Responding to Jesus’ love: Finally, discuss that understanding Jesus’ love for us calls for a response. We can choose to trust Jesus, say sorry for our wrongs (sins), and try to live like Him. But, we can only do this because Jesus helps us.
Question: How can we show we trust Jesus in our daily lives?