Cup of Promise
Psalm 23:5-6: "You honor me as your guest, and you fill my cup until it overflows. Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, Lord." (CEV)
Yesterday was Palm Sunday, where we celebrate Christ's famous triumphant entry into Jerusalem seated on the colt of a donkey over 2,000 years ago - God's chosen King and Lord had come and this public event was yet another Biblical prophecy tied neatly with a bow (Matthew 21:5). While in prayer, I began envisioning the scene in my mind - the final Passover Lamb, was riding into the Promised Land on a donkey...what an image! As I pondered this and all it meant, clear as a church bell ringing, I heard Jesus say to my spirit: " I AM the Promised Land."
This was an "aha" moment for me. He truly is the place we all need to enter into for God's saving grace. He is the kept promise of our heavenly Father that restores us into relationship with Him for eternity. He is the fulfillment of each of the over 8,000 promises written in the scriptures, and He is our promise of life eternal. Yes, He truly is the inheritance of glory!
I recently learned about the meaning of the four cups drank by Jesus at the Passover Seder meal with His beloved disciples. As everything in the Bible does, this beautiful ritual points directly towards Christ's purpose for coming here and how He fulfilled the promises of God to rescue us.
With each cup poured out, God's grace flows deeper and wider. The four parts are (in bold): Sanctifying us (or separating us) from the curse of spiritual death after the Fall in the Garden of Eden, Delivering us from the wrath for those who reject God's invitation to believe in the truth and power of the Blood of Christ, Redeeming us from the clutches of Satan who kidnapped humanity long ago in the Garden of Eden, and finally, the Joy of our inheritance of eternal life and relationship restored as God's chosen and dearly loved children. Incredible!
As Christ ate His last earthly Passover Seder meal, lifting up and drinking from each cup, He was speaking to the fulfillment of each part of His purpose here - to reconstruct what we had broken into a billion shards of hopelessness by our sin.
By His perfect blood, like a masterful craftsman with supernatural ability, He came to put the pieces back together and remake us into whole again (shalom), lovingly carrying us back to the Father that had been watching with the porch light on for our return for centuries - anticipating that long-awaited embrace with eager gladness. Christ came to bring us safely home to the promised land of His love and into the open hands and heart of Father God. A sweet reunion indeed.
As Jesus raised up the bread and first cup, the one representing Sanctification, He was reminding the disciples what was said about Himself in the Holy Scriptures:
"You shall sanctify him, for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I, the Lord, who sanctify you, am holy." (Leviticus 21:8 ESV)
Only His perfect blood shed on the cross for our sins could cleanse us and separate us from the darkness it brings and how it ensnares. We now are walking in the Light, never to return to the kidnapper's dank, dark lair.
Next, as the second cup representing Deliverance was raised, He spoke words familiar again, but now, being fulfilled in the disciples' very presence, by the One who was seated at the very same table:
"So God sent me ahead of you to ensure for you a remnant on the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance." (Gen. 45:7 NASB)
Just as the Israelites were saved from death on that first Passover night, so are all who now believe in the One who came to fulfill it. We are delivered into eternal safety by His blood poured out on the cross.
Next, the third cup of Redemption was raised. Humanity had been held ransom by sin and death and sorrow, but now, God's Promise came to save us from it all - drinking the final cup of offering required to clear the books, pay the cost owed and set us free. The new covenant was about to begin! Jesus was once again fulfilling what He came here to do:
"Psalm 111:19: "He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!" (ESV)
Now, the final cup - the one we remember Him with during the communion ceremony to this day was raised - the cup of Joy! It is the only cup we drink now as we remember Him because He drank all of the others for us! He willingly drank the cups of suffering: Of sanctification, deliverance, and redemption for us, and now, the only cup left to remember Him by is one of fullness of JOY! Incredibly, the agony of the cross was the chosen way to His ultimate joy, and ours:
"...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)
No longer do we feel the darkness of separation but the light of glory knowing that through faith we have been given this new, overflowing cup to drink, only His cup of fullness of joy - the cup that never goes dry! And we get to now live this new and fully resurrected life given by the One who came to reach out, lean in, and hang on a cross to offer it up.
Welcome home to the Promised Land, the gate is unlocked. Take your seat at the table, and rest in the JOY of it all! Have a beautiful Easter, friends!
Question: Do you know how much God loves you? Or, are you lost? He wants you to come home! Your eternal Home is just around the bend, and the Light is always on! Please read the book of John. It is His love letter written for us all. And, please reach out to me if you have questions, even doubts - we can work it through friend...you are closer to God than you may know.