Holy Thursday: “Cup of Wrath, Cup of Grace”

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PJ’s special devotional for Maundy Thursday on April 13, 2017.

In the Old Testament, we observe a kind of parade of nations as God prophecies through Jeremiah the judgment that will come upon not only Judah, but on all the surrounding nations and finally Babylon itself.

Hear God’s Word through the Prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 25:15-17, 27-31.

Jeremiah the prophet goes to great lengths to describe not only God’s heavy judgment, but the depth of sin as well. We learn, through the weight of the judgment how serious sin is: sin is rebellion against God!

It is a lesson throughout the book of Jeremiah that judgment is neither arbitrary nor pleasant for God. It is always the just response to rebellion after God has pleaded with His people over and over to repent.

Our understanding of the cup of wrath is significant to our understanding of the events of Holy Thursday—the institution of the Lord’s Supper & the Garden of Gethsemane . This is an Old Testament image designed to give us an image of a goblet filled to the brim and overflowing with wine.

Jeremiah is vivid in his description of this cup. He says:

16 They will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.


27 Drink, be drunk, vomit, fall and rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you.

These are images, not of someone who has had “one too many,” but of something akin to alcohol poisoning. The rebellious decisions made by these people have destroyed them; they have done themselves in!

Hear God’s Word through the Prophet in Isaiah 51:17-23.

Did you hear the Cup of Wrath?  Near the end of this prophecy something drastic and unexpected is promised!

22 Thus says your Lord, the Lord, even your God who contends for His people: “Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of reeling [staggering caused by drunkenness]; the chalice of My anger [wrath] you will never drink it again.”

Here is the BIG MOMENT for us as New Covenant Children of God: How is it the cup of wrath is simply taken away from sinful and rebellious people?

The answer lies in a prayer spoken by Jesus moments before his betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane which led to His trial and crucifixion.

Hear now the Gospel of Matthew 26:36-46.

Listen again to verse 39.  Jesus prays, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

You see, Jesus saw this cup of wrath, being poured out on Him, and it shook Him to the core of His humanity.

Matthew states that Jesus was “grieved and distressed” (37) and as Jesus stated, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death” (38). 

If we were to watch and pray, to kneel beside our Savior in this moment in time, to hear His cries of anguish, and to see the bloody sweat upon His brow, then we would see the fearfulness of God’s wrath and we would weep.  And then we would know the severity of our sin and the costliness of our salvation.

Jesus not only took away this cup of wrath for those who put their faith in Him, but He has provided a cup of a new relationship, the one provided by the forgiveness of sin made possible only through Jesus’ blood poured out for humanity on the cross.

Tonight, together as One Church, on the night that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper for us to remember His sacrifice until His return, churches around the world will gather to partake of the Cup of Grace.

We gather on this night; a night traditionally called Holy Thursday or “Maundy Thursday.” Maundy is the Latin word which means “commandment” because it was on this night Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

How did Jesus Christ love us that made this old commandment new?

Jesus Christ spread His arms to the east as to the west and took on himself what you and I deserve: death and wrath. And Jesus gave us what only He deserves: life and relationship!





Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.


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