Wednesday, September 21, 2011

God's Cup (Part 2)

While I was in Malaysia on a mission trip, I was introduced to a new love of my life! It's one of those cases where you either love it or you hate it but for me Green Tea was instant love! To be totally honest it tastes terrible. Green tea is so bitter it curls your nose hairs and dries out your tongue. If you have never had the privilege of drinking real green tea, not the Americanized version that is sold in bottles, served cold, with lemon flavoring and sugar added, but I'm talking about the real green tea. The tea that is brewed hot, from tea leaves which have been picked off the bush by some little, old oriental lady. Never having been touched my a machine but rather I guess you could say, "off the tree straight to me!" If you have never tasted this genuinely delicious green tea, then I want you to go outside and fill a cup with hot water and dirt, mix it up and take a swig, then you will have an idea of what real green tea taste like. Yum! I love it! I understand green tea is not for everyone but I'm sure we all have some drink that really trips our trigger. Maybe you are more in favor of the southern style, sweet tea that is more like syrup than a beverage. Or maybe you have a different flavor of drink that quenches your thirst but never the less there is something that pleases your palate. On the flip side of the coin, I'm sure there is a drink that just the thought gets your gag reflex in an uproar. To each their own.
When I read the Bible and it talks about the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, I begin to wonder, what will we eat and drink? I know that will probably be the last thing on my mind at the time but right now as I sit in the jungles of Guyana, having eaten Peanut Butter for 30 days straight, I begin to think of what better things are to come! I figure that in Heaven, everything will be divine, even the food and drink will be scrumptious! Who knows maybe we will be served 'real green tea!'
With this knowledge in mind, it raises a question from the book of John chapter 19. Jesus has been sentenced to death by crucifixion, He was led away to Golgotha and there nailed to a cross in the most horrific and inhumane way possible. John 19:28a says "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scriptures..." Jesus hung on the cross and had the full knowledge that everything had been done that needed to be done. He had obeyed God exactly and totally. I can only imagine as Jesus hung on the cross He had to think, I love these people more than they can know but now I have endured beatings, wiping, mocking, insults, humiliation, sorrow beyond understanding, and even having the Father turn His back on Me, now I want to go home! But for some reason the second part of John 19:28 says, "(Jesus) said, I am thirsty." What? Why? He was done, He had completed the task, He was free to go home, stop the pain, the hurt, the humiliation but instead He asked for a drink! They raised up to Him on a sponge, some sour wine, He drank of it and then said "It is finished!" Then He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. Surely the sour wine was nothing compared to what waited for Him in Heaven. He settled for sour wine when He could have been drinking "Divine Wine!" Why?
Well the truth of the matter is, I don't know?! But what I do know is that Jesus prayed in the garden, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." (Matt. 26:39) He had told Peter the night before, "The cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11b) So Jesus had completed His task, He had provided salvation to a lost world and He has set an example of grace and Holiness. The only thing left to do was to drink the sour cup which the Father had given to Him. Yuck! How bitter and nasty that cup must have tasted to Jesus but how sweet it will be for Him to sit at the table at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and to look around and see you and I sitting there basking in the glow of a radiant LORD!
The cup the Father gives us may not taste so wonderful today but there is coming a day when sour wine will become "Divine Wine." We can find hope in that!

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