Mark and I hopped a plane a week earlier than need be for Africa, in order to spend some time exploring Israel and Jordan. Ever since I first visited Israel in 2007, I have been mesmerized by the history of the Middle East, finding myself quick to take another trip back here to explore more of its people and land.
The more I learn about Jewish culture, the more depth and dimension I find added into reading of scripture. It’s like unearthing fragrance, movement, and personality to what could so quickly be taken as single in dimension and character. The below podcast is one such instance where, in walking a few steps more into understanding about Jewish tradition of the time, my mind is absolutely blown by what is captured of Jesus’ final hours.
The night before Jesus’ death was the night of the Passover meal, and it was there at that table that He partook one final time in the familiar meal. There are four times throughout the meal that the people raise cups of wine high in the air, drinking each time to a promise of the Lord to His people (check out Exodus 6:6-7). On that night, come promise three, Jesus did something entirely out of the norm by passing around His cup for all those present to drink.
And the promise with that cup, from which all held and drank, was the words, “I will redeem you with an outstretched hand.”
My mind is blown thinking of the One who would shed blood before the next nightfall passing His cup around, knowing all so fully what it meant. Even more so, I get chills reading about Him just moments later prostrate before the Father asking if possible, for the cup to pass. On that Passover evening, was the cup of redemption that Jesus passed to His people, and which ultimately landed its way back into His hands at the table. Redemption was to be fulfilled only by His very drinking of that which He so freely offered to those at the table.
We know that drink of this cup, He did. And redeem those who partake of it, He still does. What makes me ponder my own tendencies often is why I can keep myself from partaking in that which lays before me? Why do I make so complex all that became final that night? And why can I make so difficult the receiving of that which is laid before me to drink deeply, symbolizing that all is now accessible, available, and revealed?
The fourth and final cup of the meal is the cup of the promise that, “I will take you to be My people.”
What leaves me in such an awe and bewilderment is to see the undeniable beckoning to drink freely of the cup of redemption set before me, that I may then raise high and drink the cup of being taken as His people. Maybe, just maybe, to drink deep of His redemption set at the table before us, is the very means by which we drink ourselves into identity and belonging, chased and claimed as His own people.
In a chaotic world where we all are seeking to belong and to find our place, maybe the answer lies in drinking wildly and freely one more time of the cup already set before – the cup that says all is well, all is settled, all is freed, all is accessible, all is found . . . at this very table.
Click below to join in with one of the final sessions from our Living Room Tuesdays.