Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Cup of Suffering

Moed Ministries International

The video version of this teaching is available at:

The scripture reading for this teaching is Matthew 26:36-46

Yeshua had spent a busy and probably stressful time in the week leading up to the His final Passover observance. As He began the journey from Jericho up to Jerusalem, He knew what awaited Him there. He tried to prepare His disciples by taking them aside and telling them what was about to happen.
Matthew 20:17-19 NKJV 17 Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, 18 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 "and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again."
Now that His Passover celebration with His disciples has been concluded, Yeshua is confronted with the reality of His betrayal, torture and death. What exactly is He accepting as He submits Himself to the Father? What does it mean for Israel and for those of us who believe in Him as the Messiah sent by God?
After celebrating a Passover Seder with His disciples, Yeshua went out to the Mt. of Olives with the remaining eleven disciples. Luke records that they went to the place where they had gone many times before.
Luke 22:39-40 NKJV 39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation."
John describes the place as being in an enclosed garden of some type.
John 18:1 NKJV 1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.
The phrase “the place” is a reminder of another place referred to as just “the place.” That place is the place that God led Abraham for the purpose of offering up his son Isaac. From that place Abraham looked behind him to the place where a ram was caught in the thicket by its horns.
Genesis 22:13 NKJV 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
If Abraham’s offering of Isaac took place on the future site of the temple as we believe, then looking behind him would be to look at the Mt. of Olives. Perhaps the place Yeshua took His disciples was the place where Abraham saw the ram caught in the thicket. Also, if the Romans followed their usual practice of putting a prisoner to death at the place of his arrest, this place would also be the place of the crucifixion.
The events at this place on the Mt. of Olives follow two threads—Yeshua’s prayers at this place and the inability of the disciples to stay awake and keep watch.
Yeshua’s heart is deeply troubled and in pain. He knows what awaits Him and the weight of it was heavy on His soul.
Matthew 26:37-38 NKJV 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."
Yeshua took Peter, James, and John with Him and went a short distance away from the other disciples. Then He instructed the three disciples to watch with Him until the hour of His betrayal. These are the same three disciples that Yeshua took with Him to witness His transfiguration. Now, Yeshua wants those who witnessed His glory to be with Him to witness the agony that awaited Him. Yeshua went a little further where He began to pray and pour out His pain and sorrow to His Father. He fell on His face and cried out.
Matthew 26:39 NKJV 39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
Matthew records that Yeshua prayed this prayer three separate times. Each time after praying He returned to the place He had left His disciples to find them asleep. This would indicate that each time He prayed, He spent some time pouring out His agony and receiving comfort from the Father.
We can imagine Abraham, also being in agony of spirit, as he traveled for three days to the place where God showed Him to offer up Isaac. Perhaps He asked God each day if it was necessary for Him to offer up Isaac, the Son of Promise. On the third day of the journey, Isaac had asked about the absence of the ram for the sacrifice.
Genesis 22:7-8 NKJV 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" 8 And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together.
Abraham and Isaac went together to the place and Isaac willingly submitted Himself to be offered up to God. Just as Abraham lifted the knife to slay Isaac in prefect submission to God, an angel spoke and stayed Abraham’s hand.
Genesis 22:10-12 NKJV 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." 12 And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."
An angel also appeared to Yeshua. After the third time that Yeshua cried out to God asking that the cup be removed from Him but never the less submitting Himself to God’s will, the angel appeared, not to provide a substitute, but to give Him strength to do what He needed to do.
Luke 22:42-43 NKJV 42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
What exactly was this cup that Yeshua submitted Himself to the Father to drink? Let’s look at the metaphor of drinking from a cup. At the simplest level, it is what the future holds. Yeshua would be betrayed and die on the cross. At a deeper level, the cup holds reward or judgment specifically from God. The Psalmist writes about the cup the wicked will receive.
Psalms 11:6 NKJV 6 Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind Shall be the portion of their cup.
The Psalmist also describes the cup of the righteous.
Psalms 16:5-6 NKJV 5 O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. 6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.
The cup can also be a source of nourishment. The good shepherd prepares a table and full cup for his sheep.
Psalms 23:5 NKJV 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Similarly, the cup can be a cup of poison that leads to death.
Jeremiah 51:7 NKJV 7 Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, That made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; Therefore the nations are deranged.
John refers to this golden cup of Babylon and describes its contents.
Revelation 17:4 NKJV 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.
The results of drinking from a cup depend on what is in the cup. Is the cup filled with nourishment that leads to life or poison that leads to death? Is the cup filled with punishment or reward? What is the future that unfolds when one drinks from a particular cup? What is in the cup that Yeshua drank from?
The author of Hebrews sheds light on Yeshua’s cup. The context of this passage we will examine is that of Yeshua being chosen of God as His Son to be the High Priest forever.
Hebrews 5:5-6 NKJV 5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You." 6 As He also says in another place: "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek";
Yeshua did not glorify Himself; it was God who glorified Him. The glorification of the Son was realized as soon as Judas Iscariot left the Passover Seder to betray Yeshua.
John 13:31 NKJV 31 So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him.
The passage in Hebrews continues telling us that Yeshua’s prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane were heard and answered. Continuing with Hebrews 5:7:
Hebrews 5:7 NKJV 7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear,
God did hear and answer Yeshua’s prayers as He prayed repeatedly and fervently that He would not have to drink from the cup prepared for Him. Although God heard His prayer, it was necessary that Yeshua drink the cup. Continuing with Hebrews 5:8-10:.
Hebrews 5:8-10 NKJV 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek,"
Yeshua learned or fully understood what obedience to God entailed. Then we read something we don’t expect; we read that Yeshua was perfected through obedience. Wasn’t Yeshua already perfect? The Greek word translated as “having been perfected” is tel-i-oo, #5048 in Strong’s Concordance meaning, in the tense used here, as being completed, perfected, finished or fulfilled. Through the perfection, completion, or fulfillment of Yeshua’s obedience, He became the High Priest who is the author of eternal salvation!
It was in His role of both sin offering and High Priest that Yeshua drank the cup! The role of the high priest is to bring the blood of the sin offering before God making atonement for the children of Israel.
Hebrews 9:11-12 NKJV 11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
The sin offering brought before the LORD had all the sins of the children of Israel laid upon its head. Isaiah describes the punishment or wrath that fell upon Jerusalem as a result of her sins.
Isaiah 51:17 NKJV 17 Awake, awake! Stand up, O Jerusalem, You who have drunk at the hand of the LORD The cup of His fury; You have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, And drained it out.
This same cup of God’s fury would in turn be poured out on the nations.
Isaiah 51:22-23 NKJV 22 Thus says your Lord, The LORD and your God, Who pleads the cause of His people: "See, I have taken out of your hand The cup of trembling, The dregs of the cup of My fury; You shall no longer drink it. 23 But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you, Who have said to you, 'Lie down, that we may walk over you.' And you have laid your body like the ground, And as the street, for those who walk over."
The Psalmist also describes this cup that all the wicked of the earth shall drink.
Psalms 75:8 NKJV 8 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, And the wine is red; It is fully mixed, and He pours it out; Surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth Drain and drink down.
Yeshua drank the cup of the wrath of God that was poured out on all the nations! As the sin offering for all who would believe, the fury God has towards us for our sins and disobedience fell on Yeshua. This is the cup from which He drank and learned obedience. As Paul says in his letter to the Philippians “obedience even unto death.” By this obedience He became the author of eternal salvation to all who in turn obey Him!
During the time that Yeshua prayed in the garden, He instructed Peter, James and John to stay with Him and watch with Him, but they fell asleep. Little did they realize that they would soon be facing the greatest trial of their lives so far. When Yeshua returned and found them sleeping, He rebuked Peter specifically and addressed them all.
Mark 14:37-38 NKJV 37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
During the Seder meal, Peter stated emphatically that He would never stumble.
Matthew 26:33-34 NKJV 33 Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble." 34 Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."
James and John were the two disciples that asked to be seated at the right and left hand of Yeshua when He established His kingdom. They stated categorically that they could drink from the same cup that Yeshua did.
Matthew 20:22 NKJV 22 But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able."
While Peter, James and John should have been praying and preparing for the trials ahead; the trials that Yeshua warned them about just hours before, they had all fallen asleep. Yeshua especially warned Peter to pray that he wouldn’t fall into temptation. Yet Mark records that all the disciples fled when Yeshua was arrested.
Mark 14:50 NKJV 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled.
Even though Yeshua had told them what was coming before they even arrived at Jerusalem, the disciples were taken by surprise by Yeshua’s arrest and eventual crucifixion on the cross. They couldn’t process what was happening. Peter denied Yeshua three times before the sun could rise. John stood with Yeshua’s mother at the foot of the cross without saying a word. The women who traveled with them focused on the here and now; how to anoint Yeshua’s body and make sure they followed all the burial customs.  But Yeshua had prayed for His followers.
John 17:6-9 NKJV 6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 "Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 "For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. 9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
The disciples believed that Yeshua was sent by God and after His resurrection, they began to understand why it was necessary for Messiah to die and be resurrected. Peter would later write about what Yeshua’s obedience in drinking the cup of suffering has accomplished for those who believe in Yeshua.
1 Peter 3:18 NKJV 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
Peter explained about the cup of suffering that believers will experience as well as the cup of joy that is waiting for us.
1 Peter 1:6-9 NKJV 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
James would be the first apostle to die for his faith in Yeshua. Peter and Andrew were both crucified. Tradition tells us that eight of the eleven original apostles died a martyrs death.[i] They tasted the cup of suffering for belief in Messiah Yeshua. Paul explains that all the sufferings we endure is worth it all.
2 Corinthians 1:5-7 NKJV 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.
Yeshua willingly submitted to the Father drinking the cup of wrath that God poured out on all the disobedient. He did this willingly so that all of us who accept His sacrifice and punishment in our place, can receive the gift of eternal life. God loved us so much, that He chose to give us the gift of His Son to provide the way for us to have life and fellowship with the Father.
Study Questions:
1. The angel that came to Yeshua strengthened Him (Luke 22:43). The angel Gabriel, whose name means God is my strength, may have been the angel that came to Yeshua. Where else does the angel Gabriel appear?

2. Yeshua prayed fervently and with persistence. How does this follow the pattern that He instructed His disciples to follow? 

3. Matthew 20:23: Yeshua tells John and James that they would drink from the same cup He drank from. In what way did they drink from the same cup? How could this apply to believers then and now?

4. John describes the place that Yeshua and His disciples went to on the Mt. of Olives as a garden. What other events associated with Yeshua’s death and resurrection occurred in a garden or were associated with a garden?

5. Yeshua spent a lot of time on the Mt. of Olives. What are some of those situations? What other events in the Bible occurred or will occur on the Mt. of Olives?

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