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The Cup

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers
The Truth Network Radio
March 26, 2024 5:00 am

The Cup

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers

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March 26, 2024 5:00 am

In Luke 22, we find Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane, praying: Lord, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. What was it that caused Jesus to dread the drinking of that cup? In this message, Adrian Rogers explains the symbolism behind the cup, as well as the great wrestle between Jesus’ holy humanity and divine love for us all.


Pastor, teacher, and author Adrian Rogers has introduced people all over the world to the love of Jesus Christ and has impacted untold numbers of lives by presenting profound truth, simply stated. Thanks for joining us for this message.

Here's Adrian Rogers. Above the city of Jerusalem, a limestone ridge. It's about a mile in length.

It's about 2,700 feet above sea level. And on the western slope of the Mount of Olives is a garden. If you go to Israel today you can visit that garden. And in that garden there's some beautiful shrubs, primarily olive trees. As a matter of fact, eight ancient olive trees stand there. Some believe that they go back to the time of Christ. Their massive trunks are knotted and garled.

Like silent sentinels. Watching over that garden where Jesus came to pray. We believe that it is the exact spot. Tradition all the way back to the second century says this is the place where Jesus came to pray. It's Gethsemane. The word Gethsemane literally means oil press.

Because it was in this garden that they had a giant press to press the olive oil from the olives. Jesus would often come to this place. He would kneel and pray.

He would stand up on Mount Zion. There in an upper room He had the Last Supper with His disciples. He talked about His coming, crucifixion, and prior to that His betrayal.

And Judas had gone out away in the darkness to do that dastardly deed. Then the Lord Jesus needing prayer left Mount Zion and He came down and crossed a brook. The brook was Kedron. And scholars tell us that when they would make animal sacrifices on the Temple Mount that the blood would run down into the Kedron.

Into that brook. And it would literally be crimson with blood. And when Jesus left that upper room and came down and crossed the valley to go up to this place He had to cross that brook running crimson with blood.

Surely it must have reminded the Lord Jesus that soon His blood would flow in that same spot on Moriah, the Temple Mount. But Jesus came to this place Jesus kneeled at that rock of agony and Jesus prayed, three times Jesus prayed, Lord if it would be possible let this cup pass from me. I don't want to drink this cup. Now He wasn't talking about a literal cup like I hold in my hand. He was using a metaphor, a figure of speech, a symbol, meaning to experience something fully.

To take something into one's very being as one would take a cup and put it to his lips. And Jesus said, Father, please if it be possible let this cup pass from me. It was the cup of agony that Jesus drank in dark Gethsemane.

And He drank it there alone. You know when the Lord Jesus began His ministry? When He was performing miracles? When He was feeding the multitudes? Opening blinded eyes?

Healing withered limbs? Oh, how the crowds followed Him. Oh, they loved the miracles that He did. But when Jesus Christ began to speak to them of deeper eternal verities and full surrender to His Lordship? They began to leave Him. As a matter of fact they left in droves.

And the Lord Jesus had to turn to His disciples and say, will you also go away? And from multitudes now He just has 12. But now one of the 12 has left.

Judas has gone to betray Him. Now He only has 11. But out of that 11 He chooses a trinity of disciples to come and watch and pray with Him. Now He has three. But those three failed Him.

They're asleep. And now He goes to Gethsemane, only Jesus the Son and God the Father are there. But in Gethsemane He knows that soon God the Father must turn His back on Him.

And Jesus will drink that cup alone. Alone in Gethsemane. Take your Bibles and turn to Luke 22. Look with me in verse 39, and He came out and went as He was want, that is as He often did, to the Mount of Olives. And His disciples also followed Him.

And when He was at the place, you see this was a place that Jesus often went to. When He was at the place He said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from Me.

Nevertheless, not My will but thine be done. And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground. And when He rose up from the prayer, He was come to His disciples, He found them sleeping for sorrow. And He said unto them, Why sleep ye? Rise and pray lest ye enter into temptation.

Then the story goes on to tell how Judas came and betrayed the Son of God with a kiss. I want us to think together about the cup, the cup that Jesus drank in the Garden of Gethsemane. I want us to think about the contents of the cup.

What was in that cup? So loathsome. So terrifying. Yes, terrifying because you're going to see that Jesus shrank in horror from it. What was so vile, so filthy that the very Son of God shrank back in dread? What was in Gethsemane's cup?

What was the content of that cup? Was it physical death by crucifixion that caused such dread? Indeed it might cause such dread because never has a form of execution been known to man that was more ignominiously painful and hurtful and shameful than death by crucifixion. But others have died that way.

And other martyrs have gone to the death not with dread but saying gladly will I fling my body in the grave for the Lord Jesus Christ. It wasn't physical death that He shrank back from. Not even the pains of the crucifixion. Well, was it some extraordinary attack of Satan? Is that what was in that cup? Is that what Jesus shrank back from?

No. Jesus had already met Satan in the wilderness. He had already conquered Satan. Satan still hounded him all the way to the cross. But Jesus had no fear of Satan, no dread of Satan. He said now is the prince of this world cast out.

Now is the judgment of this world. What was it that was breaking the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ? Was it the betrayal of Judas? Was it the failure of the disciples? Yes, He was disappointed.

But there's a difference in disappointment and dread. What was it that caused Jesus to dread the drinking of that cup? What was in that cup? The pollution of sin was in that cup. The pollution of sin was in that cup. You see the Bible says that Jesus was tempted at all points as we are and yet He was without sin.

The Bible tells us that in Hebrews the 4th chapter and the 15th verse. But the Bible also teaches us that in order for Him to redeem us our sin had to be placed upon the Lord Jesus Christ. And 2 Corinthians 5 and verse 21 says this, that God hath made Him Jesus to be sin for us.

That we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Do you know what was in that cup? The sin of the ages was in that cup. My sin and your sin was in that cup. Suppose we were to put your sin in it. Not some of your sin. All of your sin.

Every vile thought, every wicked deed, every hurtful, hateful thing. And then the sin of this city. And then the sin of this nation. And then the sin of this world. Now put it in the cup and then take all of the sins of the past. And all of the sins of the future. Distill it.

Put it in this cup. Put rape in there. Put child abuse in there.

Put Hitler's gas ovens in there. Put murder in there. Put blasphemy in there. Put witchcraft in there.

Put filth in there. Sin. Not just bear sin but become sin. I didn't say He sinned.

He never sinned. But He was made sin for us because He carried that sin to the cross. You may not understand what sin is but I can tell you Jesus Christ knew what sin is. Jesus had seen sin turn angels to demons.

And men to be beasts. Sin is a clenched fist in the face of God. And Jesus knew when He drank that cup He would be numbered with the transgressions. And Him whose name is holy, who is the complete other, the antithesis of sin would become sin. The pollution of sin was in that cup.

But wait a minute. Not only was the pollution of sin in that cup, friend, with the pollution of sin the punishment of sin was in that cup. The punishment of sin. Jesus knew that the punishment not of some sin but of all sin, not of some people but all people would be upon Him.

One man the God man would bear it all. And when He did God the Father would have to treat Him as if He had committed the sins of all of the people and all of the sins of all of the people. And that's the reason the Bible says in Romans chapter 8 and verse 32 that God spared not His own son.

The Bible says in Isaiah 53 and verse 10 it pleased the Lord to bruise Him. When Jesus took my sin and your sin God the Father in justice had to treat Him as He would treat me as He would treat you. Jesus was going to receive the thunderbolts of God's wrath. And Jesus Christ the eternal Son who had been in the bosom of the Father from eternity was going to be now separated from God on that cross. He was going to cry out, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? The answer is that God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. And God the Father has had to turn His back on God the Son. I've told you before and you listen well that at the cross the sins of the world were distilled and the eternities were compressed. And Jesus being infinite bore in a finite period of time what we being finite would bear in an infinite period of time. I am telling you that Jesus Christ suffered an eternity of hell on that cross. The price that Jesus paid only the damned in hell can begin to know but they'll never know because they're only paying their sin.

He paid all the sin of all of the people for all time. And friend that is the content of that cup. No wonder Jesus said, Father if it be possible let this cup pass for me. But I want you to notice not only the content of that cup. I want you to notice the consumption of that cup.

The Lord Jesus drank it to the bitter dregs. Did He shrink back? Yes, He shrank back. Does that make you think less of Him? It makes me think more of Him.

And I'll tell you why. This was not some charade. This was real. If you don't understand why He shrank back you don't know what was in there. In His humanity and in His holiness seeing the vileness, the filth of sin He said, Oh God, if there be some other way. And silence from heaven said there is no other way.

So in His holy humanity He shrank back. But in His divine love He said, But thine be done. You see He paid a price. You will never know the agony that the Son of God endured there on the cross. He didn't have to die.

He had a choice. Jesus Christ said, No man taketh my life from me I lay it down of myself. Jesus was the only man who ever chose to die. The wages of sin is death.

There was no sin in Him. There would have been no death in Him. You say, Well, if suicide chooses to die, no, He doesn't. He just chooses to die a little sooner.

So pointed unto man wants to die. Jesus was the only man who could say, No man taketh my life from me I lay it down of myself. And Jesus said, Nevertheless not my will but thine be done.

Satan became Satan. If you read Isaiah chapter 14 when he said, I will, I will, I will, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. And Satan said this to God the Father, Not your will but mine be done. But Jesus said, Though he were very God of very God in His humanity, not my will but thine be done. Adam followed Satan in the Garden of Eden said, Not thy will but mine and ruin the race. Jesus in another garden, the last Adam, said, Not my will but thine and redeemed the race.

That's the consumption of the cup. The Lord Jesus willingly, voluntarily, vicariously, victoriously said, Not my will but thine. Had He said no, every one of us would have burned in hell forever. Had He said no, all of those had already gone to the place of redemption where Jesus had promised to pay, would have to come out and go to hell. But Jesus said, Not my will but thine and redeemed the race.

But thine be done. It was because Jesus suffered, bled and died on that cross that you and I can be redeemed because Jesus took my sin, your sin, and carried it to the cross. God will never overlook sin.

He cannot. God is holy. And by His holiness, He has sworn that sin will be punished. All sin is punished. No sin goes unpunished. If God were to let one half of one sin go unpunished, God would no longer be holy. The chief attribute of God is not love. It is holiness.

He is infinite, measureless, spotless holiness. And God must punish sin. I say if He did not punish sin, He would topple from His throne of holiness. The cross is God's way to punish sin and forgive the sinner at the same time. And that is by having an innocent, sinless, sin-bearer to take that sin and carry it to the cross.

Him who has sinned, God has made to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Now there's another cup that we drink. We drink that. That's the Lord's Supper. Don't you enjoy the Lord's Supper?

You see, just before Jesus went into Gethsemane, in this same 22nd chapter of the book of Luke, it tells how He was there with that Last Supper with His disciples. And He told them this is the New Testament in My blood. Drink it. Drink it. Because, you see, He drank the cup of sin that we might have the cup of redemption. And so there's the content of that cup. There's the consumption of that cup. But thank God there's the communion of that cup. Thank God because He drank this cup. We drink that cup. We drink the cup of communion because I meet Jesus here. He takes my sin. He drinks it down. I take His righteousness.

I drink it in. Isn't that wonderful? Say amen.

That's wonderful. God forbid that we should fail to be moved by Gethsemane. When you think of the words that are used there in all the Gospels to talk about what the Lord Jesus Christ bore, He said, My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death. Had not an angel come to minister to Him, He would have died there. I mean, He was dying. When He was perspiring the sweat was like blood. It was blood.

The minute capillaries had ruptured. He was in such extreme duress that blood was dripping from His brow. Sometimes Jesus would pray standing. Sometimes Jesus would lift His face to Heaven to pray. Sometimes Jesus would kneel and pray. But in Gethsemane He fell on His face. Can you imagine what He must have looked like when Judas led that group into the garden?

Can you see Him? His face is matted with blood and dirt. Red blood and black dirt on His face.

His heart is broken. This is the way they found Him when Judas planted that kiss of shame upon the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, My soul is exceeding heavy.

The word heavy has the idea of being separated, alone. Before those nails ever went into the hands of Jesus, they had already come into His soul. The victory really was won in Gethsemane, not on Calvary. It was paid for at Calvary.

It was won in Gethsemane. Jesus knowing what He would go through. There's another word that Jesus used when He said exceeding sorrowful.

And that word exceeding has the idea of being surrounded with no way out, no escape, no hope, absolute abject suffering. And Jesus paid that for me and for you. But in our text Jesus spoke of His agony. Do you know what the agony means? Why they call that place where He prayed the rock of agony? The Lord Jesus was wrestling.

He was in agony. There was a wrestling, a contest. Was He wrestling with God the Father?

No, never. The great desire of His heart was to please the Father. Was He wrestling with Satan?

He never needed to. He had absolute authority over Satan. Who was He wrestling with?

With Himself. There was His holy humanity. And there was His divine love. And there was that contest. There was that wrestling.

I'm glad. I'm glad that love paid the price in dark Gethsemane. There's a story that comes down to us through the ages. It's been told so many times that it must have rooted in history. It is said that Nero had 40 men in his army. These 40 men were wrestlers. They were Nero's wrestlers, gladiators who would come there to the field of endeavor, to the age that they had begun to wrestle for Nero.

And they wanted to please their emperor. And as these 40 wrestlers would come there to wrestle before the emperor, the emperor would sit there in his finery, in his velvet box draped, sit there upon his throne and watch the games as these wrestlers would wrestle. They were the finest athletes in the world. They were the best in all of Rome. They would come out there with their square shoulders and bulging biceps, look up into the box of their emperor and they would chant. We are 40 wrestlers wrestling for thee, oh emperor, to win for thee the victory and for thee the victor's crown. Nobody in the empire knew who these wrestlers were.

They were the counterpart of our Olympic champions today. Then word came to Nero that some in the army had become Christians. Christianity was beginning to spread. To be a Christian now was a crime worthy of death. Christians must be put to death by fire, by sword, by beast. And so Nero sent out a word to his commander in chief, Vespasian, and said you need to go through the ranks of your troops. If you find any Christians they shall be executed.

Vespasian lined his troops up. And he said an edict has come from the emperor. Should there be any Christians? I'm going to ask you to confess to being Christians. And I'm told that a Christian will never deny that he's a Christian.

But I want to say before you confess that you are a Christian, if you do this you will surely be put to death. Then Vespasian said are there any Christians? He wasn't prepared for what was about to happen because as one man 40 stepped forward. All 40 of these wrestlers had given their hearts, their lives to Jesus Christ. When Vespasian saw that he said, no, no, there's some mistake, not you 40.

To a man they said we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Vespasian said please step back, step back renounce your faith. And it will be over.

Not a one of them moved. Vespasian said I cannot put you to death with a sword. I believe you've not thought it through.

Surely you'll renounce your faith. He said I have a plan. It was in the middle of winter. Vespasian built a fire on a frozen lake, a big roaring fire. Then he took from those 40 men their helmet, their breastplate, their greaves of brass, their shoes, their shirt, their undergarments, stripped them down to absolutely nothing in that sub-zero weather. And turned them away in the darkness. And said you will stay out in the darkness until you freeze. But he said if any of you out there in the cold, in the darkness decide that you want to renounce Christ, all you have to do is come to the fire.

Surely thinking they would come to the fire. Vespasian sent them out there and the 40 men went out there. He wasn't prepared for what he was about to hear because he heard the chant that he'd heard so many times but now it was different. And this is what they were chanting. We are 40 wrestling wrestlers wrestling for thee, O Christ, to win for thee the victory and from thee the victor's crown. Vespasian said well they're chanting now.

But they will soon change. But on through the night as the cold grew deeper they heard this chant 40 wrestlers wrestling for thee, O Christ, 40 wrestlers wrestling for thee, O Christ, to win for thee the victory. And from thee the victor's crown. It grew weaker and weaker and weaker. They were being numb by the cold. But then the chanting stopped. And Vespasian looked. And there slithering across the ice was the naked form of one of those soldiers turning his back.

He turned his back on Jesus Christ. Coming to the fire, Vespasian said ha, here he comes. The rest will soon follow. I knew it.

I know men. The others will be coming soon. But he wasn't prepared for what he was about to hear. He listened and he heard in the darkness. They were chanting for thee, O Christ, to win for thee the victory and from thee the victor's crown. When Vespasian heard that and he looked at the miserable form before him slithering on the ice, according to the story the way I heard it, Vespasian took from his head his helmet, took from his chest his armor, took from his back his shirt, from his feet his shoes and ran toward the 39 saying, 40 wrestlers wrestling for thee, O Christ, to win for thee the victory. And from thee the victor's crown. Jesus wrestled for me. I want to wrestle for him.

Don't you? Am I a soldier of the cross? I want to be. As I look at dark Gethsemane, I'll tell you the two things that it tells me. Number one, I want to hate sin and number two, I want to love Jesus Christ. And so should every one of us. To give this message or additional resources, visit our online store at or call 1-800-274-5683. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-02 09:09:49 / 2024-05-02 09:18:52 / 9

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