Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
What's in a Cup? There are lots of "cups" in the Bible. When Jesus prayed the night of His betrayal, He asked that if there were any other way, His Father would "take this cup from me". This cup was the Cup of Suffering, or more specifically, separation. When Babylon captured Jerusalem, it was said that the city had - "drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling" - Isaiah 51:17. In Jer. 25:15-28, God's wrath against the nations is described as the pouring out of a cup. There are also good/desirable cups like the cup of consolation in Jer. 16:7, and "My cup runneth over" from Psalm 23:5. Jesus had compared His suffering and even baptism to the drinking of a cup in Matt. 20:22-23. At the Lord's Supper, it was likened to His blood shed for the Remission of sin. It's familiar to us today as well. When we want to avoid something we may say: "that's not my cup of tea". Many trophies are shaped like cups to signify the winner having gone through some hard competition, trial, or circumstance. Within the Jewish culture, the cup is also, a Proposal of Marriage in which the groom offers his perspective bride the cup.
If rejected, the groom leaves (saddened) and never returns. If accepted, it starts a great chain of events. The bride and groom are now betrothed which is really married, but not yet together. The groom runs home to begin building the bridal suite. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." John 14:1-2. This dwelling is literally an addition to his father's house. ( If you had sons, you were rich as they would each bring home their bride, and your holdings would increase). The young man would likely want to slap together a couple of 2X4s with some tin and call it a day, but only the Father could say when the addition was ready. "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Matt. 24:36. Jesus had said: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Matt. 14:3. When finally the Father says OK, the groom comes when least expected, so the bride must be in a constant state of preparedness. "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Matt. 24:44. The bride wears a veil in public, so she cannot be recognized. Nugget: Us Christians are often unrecognizable to the world. We seem strange, or even incomprehensible. "But if our gospel is hid (veiled), it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." 2nd Cor. 4:3-4. (note the capital vs smaller case "Gs").
When the groom comes, someone gets the brides attention with a shout. Likely an entourage or great spectacle with drums of a sort to call the whole region's attention to what is taking place. He will receive her and take her home to live forever. Let's turn the Spiritual Switch: "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, (dead), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." 1st Thes. 4:13-18. Suddenly, being the Bride of Christ is a great thing. By virtue of your reading this, you have been offered the cup. Have you received it -- or rejected it? You can't fly Stand-By. Happy Easter.