“Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11)
Let’s Pray “Daddy, guide our hearts. Let them not be troubled. You have told us these things to prepare us. This way we are not surprised when it happens. You have also promised us great rewards for all we go through in this life on your behalf. Please steady our hearts, sharpen our minds, and strengthen our wills. Let us be bold as lions as we move forward. May we even be as bold as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus our Lord.”In Jesus’ precious and holy name we pray. Amen!
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” (2 Timothy 1:7-8)
“And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Mat 26:37-39) “He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” (Mat 26:42) We established in the previous chapter, that Jesus had to drink from the cup of sinners. He did this willingly to receive the cup of salvation and inheritance. He has shared this salvation and inheritance with us all. We have become Priests for the kingdom of God. Like we talked about, our path has been in reverse. We become Priests and now we must drink of the cup of suffering for the cause of Christ. “But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” (Mat 20:22-23) If we want to become like our Lord in the life to come, we must become like Him now upon the earth. This is the call from Jesus to every believer. We must drink of “His Cup.” We read, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2Ti 3:12)
A couple of chapters back we talked about how Jesus emptied Himself and did only that which pleased the Father. We learned from His example that we must obey and abide. Let’s read, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Co 6:19-20) We are not our own, we have no control over our own destinies now. We forfeit our wills to receive the glory of the world to come. That is not to say we don’t have desires, it means we submit in all things. If the Lord wills it then we can have our desires. In this manner, everything we receive is truly a blessing. This is the example left to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:” (1Pe 4:1-4) We have become heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven, if Heirs then we must labor for the Kingdom. This is no longer our life. A day will come when we can focus on our desires to the fullest. That is when we are in heaven, no longer tormented by our sinful flesh. Then we will try to exhaust every unspeakable pleasure our Daddy has for us. Until then, we are called to live this life sober and awake. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (Jas 4:14-15)
We are told, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2Ti 3:12) When we do what our Lord has commanded us to do. The world will react in the same way it reacted to Him. Jesus tells us, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” (Joh 15:20-21) We are His, we belong to Him. He has purchased us with His own Blood. So we must faithfully stand with Him, no matter the cost. Be encouraged family, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Mat 5:10-12) With every painful thing you endure, you will be greatly rewarded for it.
In this world we will receive pressure as we drink from the Cup of the Lord. Tribulation is nothing new to the faithful. Believers all over the world walk through great struggles to be with their Lord. Jesus warns us of the persecution to come to encourage us. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (Joh 16:33) The Apostles also encourage us with these words, “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Act 14:22) You might ask how that is encouraging. The way we are encouraged is it gives a point of reference, a moment to guide us straight and true. Being warned that before we get to heaven, we would experience persecution. Then when it happens in whatever form it takes, we are not surprised. We can say to ourselves, “I knew this could happen, and I will be rewarded greatly for my faithfulness.” Again we read, “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.” (1Th 3:3-4) Everyone’s suffering will be different and diverse one from another. Rest assured that if you live for Jesus it is going to cost you a price of persecution. For some, it will be lighter, but we will all experience it. When this happens, the Bible guides us on our conduct, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” (Rom 12:9-14) This is how we are to act at all times. Be encouraged Family, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Rom 5:1-5)
Jesus tells us, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” (Joh 7:7) The world cannot hate us if we are of the world. When we become one in the Lord then the world will hate us. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (Joh 15:18-19) Light and dark has no fellowship. You cannot be the light in the darkness, by being like the darkness. This is why the world hates the light. It is not like the dark, even more so, it destroys the darkness. You are the light and your presence fights the darkness wherever you go. Within us all, the true light of Christ burns. The world hates you for bringing the light with you. It cannot attack the light within, so it attacks the flesh of the light bearers. “But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” (Mar 13:9-10) Not all will be whipped, but what this verse expresses is struggling for the faith. Suffering and being hated is nothing new for the faithful. Jesus tells us, “He that hateth me hateth my Father also.” (Joh 15:23) If they hate you it’s because they hate your Lord. If they hate your Lord, it’s because they hate His Father. Jesus tells us even more, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mar 13:13) We must not give up or grow tired of the Cup of the Lord. Be encouraged Family, even if the world hates you. God loves you, “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” (Joh 16:27) Jesus loves you, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” (Joh 15:9) They prove this love for you in the death of Jesus, “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (Joh 10:15) Jesus is our shepherd we are His sheep. I pray we never wander from His care because of any momentary suffering.
We have been covering what it means to drink of the “Lord’s Cup” of suffering. It leads me to share with you one of the saddest verses in scripture. Let us read, “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luk 18:7-8) God’s provisions and protection is sure. It is the part after that, which saddens me: “…Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luk 18:8b) How many people, with their Daddy watching over them, will still turn away from the Lord? Many will not stand with Jesus when under persecution. They will give up the hope of their calling. Jesus warns them about doing this. “Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.” (Luk 12:8-9) Again we are warned, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” (Luk 9:26) We have a choice to make. We can accept the forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Jesus; we can accept the Love of God. We can also accept all the blessings of heaven. If we choose these things, it brings to our lips the Cup of the Lord, and we will have to endure as He endured. The other option is to deny the Cup of the Lords suffering. To do so is to forfeit all the other blessings I listed. To accept the Cup is to accept all heaven has to offer. To deny the Cup is to deny everything heaven has to offer. If we deny the Cup of the Lords suffering, then by default we must continue to drink from the Cup of sinners. As we discussed before, Jesus already took this Cup for us on the cross, hell, and in the grave. Yet, if we refuse to accept the cup of the Lords suffering, then there remains no way out. We will them drink from the Cup of sinners and all its torment and suffering. As you can tell, either way there is a price that is paid. The final destination is the difference. Choose wisely and receive an eternal inheritance that will bring pleasure forever. I pray you are strengthened in God’s love, and that you have chosen wisely. Be encouraged family. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Heb 12:1-3)
Family, there is nothing we give up for the sake of the gospel that we will not receive back. I promise you. “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mar 10:29-30)
Let’s Pray “Daddy, I choose You, I choose Jesus, and I choose to share in His cup. I know that I will be rewarded with eternal blessings in heaven for my commitment. I also know that I will enjoy these blessing forever in Your presence. Please show me anything I have placed as greater than my calling in His name. I ask for Your gentle and merciful spirit to restore me. Help me put my spiritual house back in order. I ask You to move within me through Your grace to make me new again. Finally, when suffering comes, I ask you to let Your presence fall upon me. Let it fall heavy to give me greater strength in my hour of need. Then by Your might, I will never deny You or Your Son.” In Jesus’ precious and holy name we pray, Amen!
~We Shall Be Like Him – 1 John 3:2~