Jesus is down on His face in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Sweat and blood are oozing out of His skin, trickling down like little tributaries upon His face and extremities.  The amount of strain that Christ is under emotionally, spiritually, and physically are excruciatingly exhausting and all-together terrifying.  Anyone else would have crumbled under the weight. The Word made flesh, human, is in utter agony at what is presented before Him.

The Cup.  What is it about this cup that is utterly agonizing?

Culturally understood, there is significant implications of what this cup is all about.  Before we take a glimpse into that, let’s look in Luke 22 at the first time communion, or the cup, is offered by Jesus to His followers in the upper room.  It’s Passover and the Lamb of God slain before the foundations of the world is about to experience that slaying in the natural, where eternity collides with the matrix of time (Revelation 13:8). Jesus presents the bread as His body that will be broken, and offers the wine as His shed blood, both of which will be spilled out on the cross within the hours.

The cross. It’s a messy scene.

A blood bath of cruelty, yet the greatest act of love ever committed. A single drop of pure love crashing into the earth will usher in an entirely new covenant – the purity of the love of God for His people is sealed shut.  The blood of Christ is the Father’s price of paying for the hand of the Bride – His Son’s Beloved.  It is the covenant of marriage, inheritance, priesthood, and belonging.  The bride will meet her Groom. The new covenant of rest is instituted as all striving and efforts of humanity are officially over. The Christ man, the second Adam, has loved perfectly, meeting the standards of His Father – to love Him and to love Her. The law is now and forever fulfilled. The Father has paid the price for the Bride with His Son’s life, and Jesus utters, “Remember Me.”

The context. The historical context of Jewish betrothal.

The father of the groom always paid the price for the bride to be. This was followed by the proposal of the young man – he offers his beloved a cup.  It is a cup of wine.  Ultimately whether or not she drinks of that cup is up to her, but if she drinks she is saying, “Yes, I take you as my beloved. You are mine and I am yours, for better or worse.”  They are now separated out from the other fish in the sea and belong solely one to another.  The newly betrothed couple now enters a season of preparation, she for him, and he for her.  The bride to be will make preparations for her wedding day. The young man will leave her to prepare their future home together and will be away for a year, awaiting his father’s signal as to when he will return for his girl, his beloved.

The consummation. To be with the Groom.

Doesn’t all of this sound familiar? Jesus with the cup, the supper of remembrance that we know today as communion.  As the bride to be is making her preparations, she has attendants that are by her side aiding her in the process of becoming. The Holy Spirit, the preparer of the Bride. He is the One who makes her wrinkle free, spotless, all together beautiful, holy, and blameless (Revelation 22:17; Ephesians 5:27)! Like Esther being prepared to meet the King! And only the Father knows the time when Jesus will come for Her (Mark 13:32)!

The Christ. Back to Jesus, The Groom, the Garden, and the cup.

He who knew no sin became sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died as you – the bride with wrinkle and spot. Jesus died for you – the Groom laying down His very own blood and body. Jesus drank the cup as the bride because He drank for her. Jesus ate and drank her sin by becoming the embodiment of sin itself.  Jesus said ‘yes’ to her for better or for worse – we see this in the Garden as He bore the weight of the world with joy set before Him. Christ, your Beloved laid down His life simultaneously as you, and for you because He is the most daring romantic rescuer ever! It really is all about love. The Father’s plan of profound love is the only way back to His heart (Luke 15:20; John 14:6).

The call. So the cup sits before us today with the echo of Jesus’ voice saying, “Remember Me…”

What are you to remember as the Beloved of God? What is Jesus saying in light of the powerful significance of this cup and of this meal? If you have drank of the cup He has offered you, I believe He is saying something like this:

‘For better or for worse…you are My Beloved. You belong to Me and I belong to you. You were made for intimacy so step into Me, My Beloved. Remember that I not only died for you, but also as you so that you could now enter into My Rest. I am coming soon for you. Remember Me, just as I remember you, My Beloved.’  (Song of Solomon 2:16; 6:3; 7:10; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 4:3; Luke 22:19).

To commune. Intimacy.

My encouragement to you as we approach Passover is to see the cup before you as one of intimacy. Since the cup of wrath has been devoured by Love Himself, resist the urge to naval gaze. Instead, glimpse into His eyes as He beholds you and drink to His proposal of love. Allow the Holy Spirit to attend to your heart, making the preparations necessary to meet your groom right there in the garden of your heart. That is a love worth guarding, and garden worth tending to. That is the depth of love you were created for!  Intimacy awaits you…will you say ‘yes’ to your Beloved for better or worse?