The Old Testament prophets speak darkly about the “cup of YHWH’s wrath.”
These passages talk of what happens when the one true God, grieving over the wickedness and evil of the world, steps in at last to give the just reward for its sinful ways and deeds.
It’s as though God’s holy anger against wickedness is turned into wine – a dark, sour wine which will make the world drunk and helpless.
They will be forced to “drink the cup,” to drain the wrath of God who loves and vindicates the weak and helpless.
The shock of this… is that Jesus speaks of drinking this cup himself.
We know that Jesus won a great victory over sin when He died on the cross.
But what exactly happened with His death?
How is it that His death was sufficient to save us all?
As Christians, we know that Jesus is the Son of God and we know that He was blameless on the cross.
But are those the only reasons that make us saved when we believe in His Glorious Name?
Was a death dealt to Him by mere human hands enough to pay for all the wicked sins the entire world has committed?
Well, the Bible supports that Jesus did much more than just physically encounter death on that cross.
Scripture makes it clear that He actually suffered and drank the Cup of God’s Wrath. That He took on not only punishment from man, but the severe punishment from God that was reserved for us sinners.
The first thing Christians are taught is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. This is the truth, but many people do not know how His death stood in place for ours, how Jesus could stand as the mediator between ourselves and God’s wrath.
We know He overcame death when He was raised from the dead, but what makes His death stand in place of the punishment meant for our sins?
The answer: Because Jesus literally endured and suffered God’s punishment for our sins. He took upon Himself God’s wrath and drank it so that we would not have to.
So what is God’s Cup of Wrath and is it mentioned in the Bible? Is there proof from the Word of God to support this?
Actually, God’s Cup of Wrath is mentioned several times in the Old and New Testaments.
Key passages in the Bible connect God’s wrath with the imagery of a cup. Jeremiah 25:15 tells us, “Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: ‘Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.”’
Then Isaiah 51:17 says, “O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.”
In Revelation 14, an angel speaks, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger (verses 9–10).”
So we know from these verses that the cup of God’s wrath is a terrible punishment meant for those who have angered Him with their wicked ways.
But can we connect this cup with Jesus?
As it turns out, Jesus mentioned God’s cup of wrath more than once.
Just take a look at what Jesus told the mother of James and John in the book of Matthew. She had asked if her sons could have a place next to Jesus in His Kingdom.
(It is important to note here that many thought Jesus’s Kingdom was going to be a physical earthly Kingdom to defeat the Romans and bring new life to the kingdom of Judea. Many did not understand that Jesus spoke of a spiritual Kingdom.)
Jesus replied to James and John, “Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” The brothers, not fully understanding what Jesus spoke of, agreed that they too could drink the cup.
Jesus also eludes to having to drink the cup while He is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Remember, the book of Luke says that Jesus’s sweat was “as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
It also says that an angel of the Lord appeared to strengthen Jesus for what was to come. It says that Jesus was in agony.
Should people think that Jesus was suffering this terrible agony and fear over just dying on a cross made by man?
No! He was fearful of the Wrath that was to be poured upon Him.
Jesus literally bore the punishment deserved for us – and not only the punishment of death, but the punishment of the Wrath of God.
This is a Wrath which we all deserve, but no longer have to endure because Jesus took God’s Wrath intended for us and our wickedness upon Himself.
He is our mediator in every way. Standing between us and eternal suffering forever.
So, what are we to do about this? Well, Jesus gave us a job to do – spread the Word of God and how He has saved us through His Son.
This is what we must do. We must let Jesus’s light shine through us and spread it to others. We must not let His suffering be in vain in our own lives.
So let’s go and share the Love of Jesus and His Good News to the world! And never forget the cost He paid for us to have eternal life with Him.