************ Sermon on John 18:11b ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on March 13, 2005


John 18:1-11
John 18:11b
"Jesus Freely Takes The Father's Cup"

Introduction
Jesus talks of a cup. Something like this one (HOLD UP LORD'S SUPPER CUP). "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" That's what Jesus asks in our text.

What is this cup? What is Jesus talking about?

To understand His words we have to go to the Old Testament. There are 2 cups in the Old Testament. There is the "cup of salvation" (Ps 16:5; 23:5; 116:13) and there is "the cup of wrath." Jesus is talking about the cup of wrath.

We are now in the season of Lent. Our focus is on the events leading up to the cross and the grave. Our focus is on the Jesus Who suffered and died. Our focus is on the humiliation of the Savior Who drank from the cup of wrath.

I The Cup of Wrath
A "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" What is the cup of wrath that Jesus is talking of here? Listen to these words from the Old Testament:
(Ps 75:8) In the hand of the LORD is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs.
It is obvious that the cup symbolizes the judgment and wrath of God against sin. And, to drink from the cup is to experience the terrible and awesome anger of God.

B The Old Testament makes clear that the cup of God's wrath must be taken and drunk to the very dregs. The cup of wrath must be taken and drained to the bottom.
(Jer 25:15,17,28) This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: "Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. (17) So I took the cup from the Lord's hand and made all the nations to whom he sent me drink it: (28) But if they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink, tell them, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: You must drink it! (cf Ps 75:8).
In other words, there is no escape from the wrath of God.

We see this many times in the Bible. Think of the world at the time of Noah; there was no escaping God's cup of wrath then. Think of Sodom and Gomorrah; there was no escaping God's anger against the sins of these two cities. Think of Jericho; she was put under the curse of God and drank deeply from the cup of God's wrath.

Even God's people, Israel, could not escape. We think here of the 40 years when she was forced to wander through the wilderness until all the fathers died. We think also of the days during the judges when God gave Israel over and over again into the hands of her enemies. We also think of the 70 years of exile in Babylon. In each and every instance, Israel was forced to drink from the Lord's cup of wrath. She was not allowed to escape the consequences of her sin.

The message of the Old Testament about God's cup of wrath is clear: God's justice cannot be denied and His punishment must be handed out. Nations and peoples cannot escape the judgment of God against sin. The cup of wrath will and must be drunk by the wicked.

C What is the message here for us? Each of us needs to consider our sin and the wrath of God upon that sin. We need to realize that it should be us who drink deeply from the cup of God's wrath. We are the ones who should drink from this cup because we are the ones who have fallen into temptation and have sinned against God in thought, in word, and in deed.

Yet Jesus says, "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" Jesus, the Sinless One, announces here that He is going to drink from the cup of God's wrath.

Why? Why would He do this? God's cup of wrath is reserved for the wickedness and godlessness of men. God's cup of wrath is reserved for the punishment of sin and evil. But Jesus, He is sinless and perfect. So why should He have to consume the cup of God's awful anger? We all know why. The prophet Isaiah tells us:
(Is 53:4-6) Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. (5) But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (6) We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
It's for us! Jesus willingly drinks the cup of wrath for us. He drinks it in our place, in our stead. It should be us drinking from God's awful cup. Instead, it is Jesus Who drains it to the dregs.

How awful! Jesus is being given the cup of God's wrath. He is about to drink deeply from God's anger against our wickedness and our sin.

D And He knows what that means: humiliation, pain, suffering, death. He knows He will be cursed on the cross, forsaken by God, abandoned for 3 awful hours, enduring the torments of hell itself. How awful that He will endure this He, Who from eternity has had an intimate and unbroken communion with the Father. He knows He'll be counted with the transgressors and condemned like a criminal.

II Given by the Father
A "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"

The Father has given this cup to Jesus. That's what Jesus says.

What kind of father would do this? What kind of father would make his son drink the cup of wrath?
Do you remember what Saddam Hussein did to two of his sons-in-law? The two men, brothers, fled Iraq. With their wives, children, furniture, and money they managed to get across Iraq's border into Jordan. Once there they announced their intention to work for Saddam's overthrow. One of the brothers was in charge of Iraq's secret weapons program while the other was deputy head of Saddam's palace guard.
A couple of weeks later the two brothers had second thoughts and decided to kiss and make up with Saddam. Saddam, supposedly, pardoned them. So the two brothers and their families returned home. Two days later their wives, Saddam's daughters, divorced them. The next day they were shot and killed.
Saddam Hussein is the kind of father who would make his son drink the cup of wrath.

B But Almighty God is not like Saddam Hussein. He is not a malevolent dictator. He is not an arbitrary tyrant who kills on a whim. He is a God of love and mercy.

Why would this kind of God, a God of love and mercy, give His only begotten Son the cup of wrath?

Why? Because He is a God of love and mercy. You know what Jesus says in John 3:16-17 about the love of God.
(John 3:16-17) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (17) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Out of His great and good love for us, God gives His only begotten Son the cup of wrath to drink.

III Taken Freely by the Son
A "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"

Earlier in John's Gospel, Jesus tells us about the shepherd and his flock. He reveals to us that He is the Good Shepherd Who lays down His life for the sheep. And then He adds this:
(John 10:17-18) The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. (18) No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."
In the passage in front of us we see again and again the fulfillment of these words. Jesus lays down His life of His own accord. He sovereignly, freely, willingly drinks from the Father's cup of wrath.

We start off by looking at the events leading up to our passage. We see Jesus and His disciples at the Last Supper. Jesus announces that one of the disciples is going to betray Him. Then giving Judas a piece of bread, Jesus said, "What you are about to do, do quickly." Jesus is talking about the betrayal. He is telling Judas to get going. So as soon as Judas took the bread, he went out (John 13:27,30). We notice that Judas did not and, in fact, could not leave the Last Supper to betray Jesus without Jesus controlling the action.

The point is this: Jesus willing drinks from the Father's cup of wrath.

B Upon leaving the Last Supper in the Upper Room Jesus and His disciples went directly to an olive grove, what is known in the other Gospels as the Garden of Gethsemane. To get there, according to verse 1, Jesus and His disciples had to cross the Kidron Valley. A drain ran from the temple altar down to the Kidron ravine to take away the blood of sacrifice. Since it was the Passover, more than 200,000 lambs would be offered the next day. When Jesus and His band crossed the Kidron, it was red with the blood of the lambs being prepared for sacrifice.

Why did Jesus go to the olive grove? In John's Gospel, Jesus did not go there to pray. In John's Gospel, Jesus did not go there to struggle with the Father's will. Rather, Jesus went there to meet His betrayer. Rather, Jesus went there to begin the process of His suffering and death. Rather, Jesus went there knowing His blood was soon to be mingled with the blood of the Passover lambs.

Again, the point is that Jesus willing drinks from the Father's cup of wrath.

C Take a look at Judas in our passage. The crowd of soldiers and officials want to arrest Jesus. What does Judas do? Basically, nothing. Says John, "Judas the traitor was standing there with them" (verse 5). We see or hear nothing about a kiss of betrayal. We see not a hint of Judas taking matters into his own hands and handing Jesus over. John's message is that no Judas, no high priest, no mere human determines Jesus' destiny.

Rather, what do we see? The soldiers and the officials come for Jesus. But it is Jesus Who meets them. John writes, "Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?'" (verse 4).

Again, the point is that Jesus willing drinks from the Father's cup of wrath.

D Notice what happens next. The soldiers and officials say they have come for "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said, "I am he."

This is a play on what God said to Moses. Remember Moses standing before the burning bush? God has just told him to go to Pharaoh and say, "Let my people go." And Moses asked, "Who shall I say sent me?" And God said, "I Am Who I Am" (Exodus 3:14).

"I Am Who I Am." "I am he." Jesus is making divine claims for Himself here. Jesus is claiming for Himself the name above all names. Jesus is claiming that His is the name that every tongue should confess. Jesus is claiming that His is the name before Whom every knee shall bow.

And that is exactly what happens. The name above all names causes fear and trembling. The name above all names has the power to paralyze. For as soon as Jesus speaks it the arresting party is forced backward and falls to the ground.

Look at who is facing Jesus. There is Judas. There is some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. There is a detachment of soldiers; a literal translation of the Greek tells us there was 600 soldiers. Over 600 people facing Jesus. They are carrying torches, lanterns, and weapons. Jesus is standing before them unarmed. Yet, He says the name and they fall.

You see John's message, don't you?! The powers of kings and high priests are as nothing before Jesus. The powers of swords and spears are as nothing before Jesus. Even the powers of evil men and Satan are as nothing before Jesus. Yet, Jesus goes with them.

Again, the point is that Jesus willing drinks from the Father's cup of wrath.

E Now look at what happens to the disciples. They are allowed to escape. Jesus lays down this condition. Actually, it is a demand. The arresting crowd have no choice but to go along with His wishes. Jesus says, "... let these men go" (verse 8). The point is that Jesus is in full control of the situation. Jesus can do what He wants. Yet, Jesus goes along with them.

Again, the point is that Jesus willing drinks from the Father's cup of wrath.

F One last item. Peter took His sword and cut off the ear of the high priest's servant. Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away!" The disciples could have put up some armed resistance. And, in the confusion of battle, Jesus perhaps could have escaped. But Jesus' kingdom is not of this world. And His kingdom is not established by the ways of this world either. Jesus' kingdom is established by the cross and the grave, by the blood and the Spirit, by the crucifixion and the resurrection. "Put you sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" Peter put his sword away and Jesus was arrested.

You know the point: Jesus willing drinks from the Father's cup of wrath.

G We need to ask why. Why did Jesus willing drink from the Father's cup of wrath? Why did Jesus willingly go the way of the cross and the grave? Why did Jesus willingly suffer the anguish and torment of hell itself?

We know the answer. Actually there are two answers. I told you earlier that it was God's will that His Son be given the cup of wrath. Jesus wanted to be obedient to that will. "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work" (John 4:34).

I also told you earlier about the good shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd, says Jesus, lays down his life for the sheep. He lays down his life for the sheep because he cares for the sheep. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus lays down His life for the sheep. The sheep that He loves and cares for.

Conclusion
"Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"

Of course He shall! Though it is an awful cup. Though it is a cup of suffering and pain. Though it is a cup that means a cross and a grave.

Out of obedience to God and because of His great love for His sheep He willing drinks this cup until it is empty.
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