Suffering is an integral part of our life. Just as light and darkness, day and night, spring and autumn, joy and pain, are all interlinked and inter-related. Suffering helps us to move forward. That person who is defeated in the face of suffering is also defeated in life.
In His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ had to drink the cup of suffering; opposition, conspiracies, threats to life. Those were the cups of suffering which he drank. During his earthly ministry, He also said;
“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:28 KJV+
The true purpose and mission of His coming to this earth was so that He might take the cup of sufferings and give His life as ransom for many. When His earthly ministry and life was coming to an end, He again had to take up the cup of suffering,
Then said Jesus…: “the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”
John 18:11 KJV+
As a perfect God, He knew beforehand that He had to drink this cup.
We can see into the background of this verse. Judas Iscariot comes to the garden of Gethsemane for the arrest of Jesus. He brought with him the band of men from the priests and Pharisees.
“Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.”
John 18:3 KJV+
When Jesus said, I am, the men fell backward on the ground. Now this is the time that Jesus must be arrested, He must be brought in front of the high priest and then to Pilate. Finally, He must be crucified. Jesus Christ was personally willing and ready to take this cup. This is the reason that Peter got so emotional and hyper that he cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant.
Then said Jesus unto Peter, “Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”
John 18:11 KJV+
We know that the Lord Jesus Christ is perfect man and perfect God. In his perfect humanity He was ready to take the cup of suffering and death. He was brave and bold. As a human being it is very difficult to do so but Jesus Christ took this cup with His free will.
The Lord Jesus Christ took this cup with His free will.
Jesus Christ was not forced or compelled to drink the cup of suffering or to go through such pain and agony. He did it with His free will. He did it voluntarily. There was no pressure upon him. He said,
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
John 10:18 KJV+
He further added,
…My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
John 4:34 KJV+
The Lord Jesus Christ portrayed a beautiful picture of total obedience and submission before His heavenly Father.
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Luke 22:42-44 KJV+
Let me explain some very important points. The first thought is that Lord Jesus Christ did not like to drink the cup of death, He was frightened of death. But contrary to this thought, Jesus Christ Himself said,
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:28 KJV+
The second thought is that the Lord Jesus Christ must pay the atonement for sinners. He was not frightened about drinking the cup of death. But He was saying,
…Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me:
I should not drink this cup here and I should not die here. His sweat was pouring out like drops of blood. This was also the picture of atonement.
… And without shedding of blood is no remission.
Hebrews 9:22 KJV+
But only His disciples could see this truth. God had this purpose in His mind and this was the plan of God: that Jesus Christ must give up His life; He must sacrifice His life on the cross which would atone for (pay the ransom for) the sin of the whole world.
According to the divine plan Jesus Christ must be crucified outside the city. This is the picture of universal atonement. Jesus wanted to atone for the sin of the world on the cross. This sacrifice was also prophesied many years ago. That is why Jesus said in the garden of Gethsemane,
…Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me :(I should not die here)
…nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
The Lord Jesus Christ drank this cup very joyfully.
…yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1 Peter 1:8 KJV+
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Matthew 5:11, 12 KJV+
And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
Acts 5:41 KJV+
The followers of Christ suffer joyfully. Paul writes about Jesus in the epistle of Philippians,
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:8 KJV+
This is the picture of Jesus’ obedience and joy because he loved his heavenly Father. He wanted to make Him happy at any cost, even to the sacrifice of His own life. He very gladly and joyfully submitted Himself before His heavenly Father.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame.
Hebrews 12:2 KJV+
Jesus suffered pain and shame on the cross because joy was set before him. He drank this cup joyfully. In the book of Genesis it is written, the seed of the woman will bruise the head of the serpent, it shall bruise thy head. Genesis 3:15 KJV+.
That promise was mentioned thousands of years before by the prophets. Now the time had come for the promise to be fulfilled. Jesus knew that the head of the serpent would be bruised forever through His obedient sacrifice. That is why Jesus was joyful to complete the task for which he had come from heaven to earth. This is the moment; this joy gave him the courage and boldness to suffer. This joy was a tonic for the heart, soul, spirit and body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ drank (took) this cup very patiently.
Abraham had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Hebrews 6:15 KJV+
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 1:4 KJV+
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts:”
James 5:8 KJV+
Job is very legendary and prominent with regards to his patience.
And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.”
Matthew 26: 62, 63 KJV+
And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
Matthew 27:14 KJV+
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
1 Peter 2:22, 23 KJV+
The way Jesus suffered and was persecuted, He did not respond in the same fashion. Patience and long suffering was the basic attribute of His person and the very foundational ingredient of His ministry.
When you and I have to take or drink any kind of cup of suffering, at that very specific moment what is our response?
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Do we take the cup of our own suffering with our free will?
Do we take the cup of our suffering joyfully?
Do we take the cup of our suffering patiently?
Remember, as a child of God, you may be brought to some point where you must take the cup of suffering. God allows this for some specific purpose, sometimes God allows you to drink this cup:
-That you may become spiritually well-nourished and mature.
-That you may reach new spiritual heights.
-That you may become well-pruned spiritually.
-That the Lord may purify you.
-That His name may be glorified.
-That the crucifixion and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ may be a blessing unto you.
(Happy Crucifixion and Happy Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.)