I was reading through my Bible reading plan, which currently has me in the book of Jeremiah, and I came across a phrase that gave me pause. In chapter 25 the prophet is speaking about a day of coming judgment, when God’s wrath will be poured out upon the nations (Jeremiah 25:15-17). His wrath and fury against their sin is pictured as a cup of wine, that sinners will be forced to drink, even against their will, (Jeremiah 25:28) when the time of their judgment comes.
This prophesied day of reckoning will be far-reaching and international (Jeremiah 25:32), and those who fall under God’s judgment are said to be “pierced by the Lord” (Jeremiah 25:33). When I came across the words “pierced by the Lord,” I stopped and underlined it.
After describing all of the judgment and punishment meted out, Jeremiah describes the recipients of wrath as being pierced by YHWH.
My mind jumped forward; doesn’t this sound familiar? A cup that is offered, wrath that is poured out and a pierced victim?
On Thursday night in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus spent time in earnest prayer to His Father. He knew what was going to take place tomorrow, a day that would paradoxically be known as Good Friday for years to come. Knowing what awaited Him if He went ahead with the plan, Jesus prayed to His Father, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done”” (Luke 22:42, ESV). Jesus, in agony and weakness, referred to the events of Good Friday as “this cup.” The cup of God’s wrath, reserved for God’s enemies, was willingly taken by God’s Son.
On Friday Jesus was crucified, impaled on two beams of wood and suspended for all to see. The wrath of God was poured from heaven to earth. The sky grew dark as Jesus was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5); God’s anger against sin that the prophet Jeremiah wrote about centuries earlier was just as potent as ever, and on Good Friday, it was funneled down upon the willing Substitute.
For those who are in Christ, there is no wrath left for us. Jesus died draining the cup to the last drop, fully exhausting the holy fury of God.
Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath for us, so that He could extend the cup of God’s fellowship to us.
There is a yet future judgment (Revelation 15:7; 16:1) where future cups will be poured out, but now, between the past judgment of the cross and the future judgment of the parousia, this is the time when the cup of mercy, grace, forgiveness and fellowship is extended to the world.
Jesus drank the bitter cup of judgment instead of the sweet cup of fellowship, so that you and I could drink the refreshing and life-giving cup of grace and not drink the poisonous cup of wrath.