2010 07 11

When I Drink It New

Reverend Anthony R. Locke www.FirstPresTucker.org

July 11th, 2010 (Communion Sunday)

at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker

Matthew 26:26-29 www.FirstPresTucker.org            English Standard Version

26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you,

28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

In my house we very sparingly purchase Briers Ice-cream. My wife likes Recess Peanut Butter Cup or Snickers. I like Pralines Crunch. Whatever is purchased though stays closed until we open it together. It’s the family rules. My wife’s rules. She had to train me, but I think she’s right. There is so much joy opening a half gallon of new ice cream that we never do it alone.

Which is why I am sure my wife really appreciates verse 29. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

Jesus shares the family rule that the cup is not drank alone. It is a community cup. It was passed around the Passover table. Jesus says, Drink of it, all of you. If we want inclusion with Jesus in His resurrection, ascension and eternal glory then we cannot pass on this cup. The cup unites us in a common fate with Jesus in this life and the next.

And whatever is in the cup will be our shared experience. Before September 11th the largest American loss of life that didn’t occur from war or a natural disaster occurred when the religious cult leader Jim Jones led more than 900 of his followers to drink the grape cool-aide laced with poison. And whatever was in the cup became their shared experience.

Jesus is asking us to drink from His cup of self-denial. We are to take up our cross and follow Him. We must be willing to die daily, bear our sufferings as a good soldier and not look back. This is the cup of sorrow and suffering. The cup of the cross.

For Jesus it meant His final downward travel from heaven’s glory to the sufferings of our hell. Torment is an unpleasant conversation topic. Someday I’ll preach a sermon on the torments of hell. The worst of it is that the presence of God is in Hell, but not His mercy, compassion, grace or love. The only part of God the damned experience in hell is the Father’s anger, judgment, wrath, curse and punishment.

The Father turned His face of favor away from the Son when Jesus hung on the cross. We know that while He hung between heaven and earth the Father brought to Jesus the full suffering of our eternal punishment. On the cross Jesus paid our debt. Jesus was the Lamb of God.

This passage occurs during Passover week. Jesus was sharing with His disciples the Passover meal. The sheep that would have their blood spilled were bleating in the cool night air. Jesus was only a few hours away from being betrayed and handed over to ruthless men. This was His night. His hour had come. The family rule of sharing doesn’t apply to this cup. Jesus drank this cup alone. It was the cup of the wrath of God the Father for sin. Jesus drank all of it for us. There is no more condemnation reserved for God’s people. That cup is empty.

In the Lord’s Supper Jesus offers us the cup of His cross. The world will not treat kindly those who drink and join themselves with Christ in His death to this world that they may be alive to God. By drinking this cup we become pilgrims, aliens, and strangers to this world.

And when we drink we declare in faith that we will have the same shared fate with Jesus. Paul said in Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

This cup isn’t our only option. The whole world drinks from Babylon’s cup, full of the wine of her fornications and abominations says Revelation 17:4 and 18:3. Since “drinking of the cup” means a shared fate, all who drink of Babylon’s cup will have a shared fate in eternal judgment.

If we drink of Jesus’ cup we will be like the Apostle Paul, dead to this world but alive to God. If we drink of the world’s cup we will remain dead to God but alive to the world. 1 Corinthians 10:21 says We cannot drink of the Lord’s cup and of the cup of demons. We have to choose from which cup we will drink. We drink a shared destiny. The Psalmist chooses in Psalm 116:13 saying, I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. We should make the same choice.

In the Lord’s Supper we are offered a cup that unites us to Jesus without regard for the consequences. We drink in remembrance of Christ for He drank the cup of God’s wrath for us. We drink in solidarity with Christ in dying to this world that we might live unto God.

But this cup of suffering is also almost empty. The days appointed for our desert wilderness wanderings are quickly coming to an end. We will cross over Jordan into the promised land! Jesus will come back on the clouds with final judgment for those who drink the devils cup and eternal blessing for those who drink from the cup of salvation.

And in that day Jesus will open a new bottle of wine. The eternal goodness of God corked up in preparation for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be opened and that new wine will freely flow. Matthew 8:11 says, I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Isaiah 25:6 says that on Mount Zion in that heavenly Jerusalem  the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine.

And in that day Jesus will drink it new. Everything will be made new. No old wine or old wineskins. There will be no more tears. No more crying. No more suffering. We will all drink from a new cup of eternal bliss prepared by the Lord Jesus.

And until that day Jesus is keeping the bottle of eternal blessing corked. He promised. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom

He is waiting for all His invited guest to get to the party before He opens the bottle. My wife would say that Jesus is politely keeping the ice cream closed until we all get there. Why? Because there is just too much joy and happiness to enjoy it alone.

But for now we drink the cup of the cross.

May God bless us now as we eat of His body and drink of His blood and by faith identify ourselves with His fate, in this life and the next. Let us pray.

[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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