Drinking the Cup

Jesus commanded Peter,  “Put your sword away!  Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”  John 18:11.

He makes it sound like bad tasting  medicine for a cold…almost.

I don’t know many people who actually grasp Jesus’ determination to go through with His mission.  I’m not sure I do, if I’m honest about it.  But, then, neither do many of us have the eternal perspective down as yet nor have we realized God’s mind in ours so completely that we know how He thinks.  We understand everything from a survival/prosperity POV most of the time, so altruism in this form makes not a wit of sense to us.

Obviously it meant diddly squat to Peter as well.  He thought they were going to war against the oppressors and might have to stand against the opposition within his own government but it never occurred to him to fight a war on a cross to win.  If, like Peter and his brothers, we had the stories of Moses, Elijah, David and Samson, etc., in mind when we thought of the history of Israel and God’s intervention on its behalf, we probably wouldn’t have thought twice about swinging a sword either.

Oh, wait, things haven’t changed much have they.  We still swing the sword of political influence, spiritual manipulation, guilt, false piety and doctrinal bludgeoning quite frequently without a qualm of conscience it seems.  The church hasn’t learned (or rather most of them ignore) the message and lesson of the cross:  Death to self and the world first then victory.  The real war is against our own natures not the world’s kingdoms.  Establishing a world government where Jesus rules absolute is God’s job after the Judgment not ours in the here and now.  We don’t use the same tools because they believe in weapons of blood, destruction and dominance.  Our fight is against the nature of the powers of the air that permeate all of us.

The greatest fight we will ever face is standing up to our own natural sinful tendencies.  Our fight is not against flesh and blood but spiritual darkness in ourselves and those being saved.

Jesus’ mission held a cup of bitter medicine for the world, which He drank willingly and to the last drop.  We will taste a sample of this if we follow Him through the cross—which means that those who avoid the cross have never really followed Him.

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