John 18:9-11. The Cup

John 18:9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?

In a highly charged confrontation Jesus has just surrendered and offered himself to a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. For whatever reason— bravado, proving himself, or impulse— Peter wants a fight. For the protection of all his disciples, Jesus quickly ends this, saying that he must drink the cup his Father has given him.

There many forms of expression around “the cup” in the bible— cups of blessing, consolation, salvation etc. Whatever is presented in the cup must be consumed by the drinker. To refuse the cup is to refuse the host; an insult. The expression “drink the cup” here refers to the “cup of God’s wrath” (Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:17; Jer. 25:15; Lam. 4:21; Ezek. 23:32; Rev. 16:19). The cup is also the symbol of death (Matt. 16:28; Mark 9:1; Heb. 2:9). Jesus will not refuse the cup given him by his Father: he intends to be obedient to his Father all the way to death.

Lord Jesus, I know that your humility and submission to death– even crucifixion– has a result far greater than I often recall. Through this, God exalted you to the highest place and has given you the name that is above every name, so that every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that you are Lord, to the glory of God the Father. And for this I am so glad. Amen!