Let’s read John 18:10-11, “Then Simon Peter, have a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me” (NKJV). The scene here is the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus is about to be seized by His enemies who were bent on killing Him. Peter had promised earlier that he would be willing to die for Jesus (see Matthew 26:33-35) and now he is making good on that promise. But there was a major problem in Peter’s action, for in His misguided zeal he was acting contrary to God’s will, for the Father had sent His Son in order to provide mankind with salvation and that meant He would be arrested and crucified. The Lord Jesus had announced His impending death to Peter and the other disciples several times and each time He did it His words fell on deaf ears. On one occasion Peter actually tried to prevent Jesus from going to the cross. We read of this in Matthew 16:21-22, “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” Again, Peter loved the Lord and resisted the idea that He would be rejected of men and crucified, but he was blind to the truth that Jesus was sent on a mission from His Father to save men from their sins by dying for them on the cross. Hebrews 9:24 declares, “He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

The truth of Christ being made a sacrifice for sin is borne out in Jesus’ words to Peter, “Shall I not drink THE CUP which My Father has given Me.” The “cup” speaks of the “judgment” Jesus would bear on the cross for sin. The “cup” speaks of God’s holy judgment on sin throughout Scripture. In Psalm 11:6 we read, “Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstones and a burning wind shall be the portion of THEIR CUP.” Psalm 75:8 states, “For in the hand of the LORD there is a CUP, and the wine is red; it if fully mixed, and He pours it out; surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain and drink down.” In love the Lord Jesus had come to this earth to DRINK THAT CUP in the place of sinners so they could be saved from their sins!

Just moments before Jesus was arrested He had taken Peter, James and John aside in the Garden of Gethsemane and He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death, Stay here and watch with Me” (Matthew 26:38). The next verse tells us that “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let THIS CUP pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” The shadow of the cross was hanging over Him and in these words He was anticipating the cross and the “cup of judgment” He would drink in order to save lost and guilty man. We can say that His holy soul was shrinking from it and thus He prayed for the cup to be removed if there was any other way to save sinners. Yet He knew there was no other way, so He went on to say, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Praise be to God that He was willing to send His Son to the cross to drink that cup of judgment in our place! And praise be to the Lord Jesus that He was willing to submit to the Father’s will and to drink the cup of God’s wrath. After He suffered for our sins on the cross and exhausted God’s judgment, He cried out in victory “It is finished” (John 19:30). He drank the cup dry and salvation is now offered to us! Has my reader laid hold of this wonderful truth by trusting in the Lord Jesus for salvation? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). (291.9) (DO)