Expository Communion Sermonette on Matthew 26
Bellevue SDA Church 7/28/2018
©2018 by Maylan Schurch
(To hear the audio for this sermon, click the white triangular “play” button on the line below.)
Please open your Bibles again to Matthew 26.
In a few moments we’ll be taking in our hands the tiny glasses of grape juice, and we’ll be thinking of that first Lord’s Supper. As we taste the tang of the juice, we’ll think about how Jesus took the cup, and gave thanks, and told His disciples to drink from it. We’ll strain with the ear of imagination to hear Him say (in Luke 22:15), “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
But this morning, as we lift those little glasses to our lips, I’d like us to think of another cup—the “second cup.” What do I mean by that?
In a way, this second cup wasn’t as real a cup as the Passover one, but in another way, it was far more real. You might remember that immediately after the supper was over, Jesus led His disciples out of the city and up a hill, where there was a garden. Let’s read about this in Matthew 26, starting with verse 36:
Matthew 26:36 – 39 [NKJV]: Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
That night, His cheek pressed against the Garden’s dirt and gravel, Jesus dreaded the next few hours. Back in the upper room, He had taken a pottery cup and held it out to His friends and urged them to drink. But now, His Heavenly Father was holding out to Him another kind of cup–a figurative cup, filled with His fate as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
And at that moment, He knew He needed to decide if He would drink that cup. He had been sent into the world for this purpose. He had been planning and preaching and praying toward this purpose for many years—even from the foundation of the world, as Revelation says. But will He at last go through with this self-sacrifice?
Because after all, what heartbreaking contrasts we see between these two cups!
The first cup was filled with the pure, healthy juice of the grape. The second cup was filled with the wrath of God, who abhors sin and wants to destroy it. And by the way, this is good wrath. This is the wrath your dad would feel against a drug dealer who wanted to make you an addict. Thank God for His ferocity against anything that can hurt us!
The first cup was shared freely with beloved friends. Jesus accepted the second cup alone. Even His closest friends were not nearby to comfort Him—Jesus had deliberately walked away from them to receive the cup by Himself. But He longed for them to at least pray for Him. In verse 36 He had not told them to lie down and try to get some sleep. Instead, He had told them to “sit,” sit up, stay awake.
And after His first prayer, He comes to His friends to see how they’re doing.
Verses 40 – 41: Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
And then, notice what happens after He returns through the darkness to where that dreadful second cup hangs before Him.
Verse 42: Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
Did you notice the slight difference between the two prayers so far? Back in verse 39, He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.” But here in verse 42 He prays, “If this cup cannot pass away from me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Both times He prays for His Father’s will, but the first prayer is a prayer of hope that He won’t have to drink the cup. But second prayer show that He is gradually resigning Himself to having to drink it.
And again He comes to see His friends, to see if they have been giving Him the prayer support He had been hoping for.
Verses 43 – 46: And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”
And His betrayer, of course, is Judas. Judas himself had probably drunk from that first cup. But as this disciple had watched in horror as Jesus knelt humbly before the twelve and fulfilled the role of a servant by washing their feet, he must have been so disgusted at Jesus’ refusal to take on the role Judas had hoped He would, that John 13 says that as soon as Jesus had given Judas the piece of bread, “Satan entered him,” and he left the room.to betray Jesus into the hands of the rulers.
So as you drink this first cup, think of how Jesus resolutely drained the second cup, so that He would become the sin-bearer, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Thank the Lord for the blood He shed for you. Thank Him for giving Himself up to death so that you and I could live forever, and one day enjoy a refill of that first cup in the happy halls of heaven. Ask Him to cleanse your heart day by day, and renew a right spirit within you. Ask Him to show you where you need to be forgiven, and then confess those sins, and claim the promise written by another of those disciples who drank from that first cup. 1 John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Would you like to claim that promise with me this morning as we continue through this precious time Jesus wants us to share? Raise your hand if that is your wish.