The Duality of Christ’s Cup
In the song Joy and Pain, Frankie Beverly & Maze testify that love, a singular emotion, is actually a condition of dual forces functioning as one.
The lyrics are as follows:
“Joy and pain are like sunshine and rain
Love can be bitter love can be sweet
Sometimes devotion, sometimes deceit
The ones you care for give you so much pain
THEY ARE BOTH ONE IN THE SAME”
Coincidentally and most likely unintentionally, the song also gives a glimpse into the dichotomy of the Christian faith. But before Maze, there was the New Testament. In the account of Jesus’ last hours leading up to His death on the Cross, a rather inconspicuous item became a symbolic representation of the conflicting forces at work in the believers’ daily walk with Christ. Forces, emotions and circumstances that albeit are at opposing ends of the spiritual spectrum, work as a singular entity moving the believer towards a God given purpose and assignment.
At Passover, when Jesus gathered with His disciples one last time before His death, He used a cup both literally and symbolically to illustrate the benefits as well as the costs of a life surrendered to Him and yielded to His way. One cup with a dual purpose:
· one of restoration, renewed hope and cleansing (Matthew 26:27-28)
· and another of suffering and misery (Matthew 26:38-39, 41-42).
At the Last Supper with the Disciples, Christ presents “His” cup as one filled with the rewards of recommitment and the benefits of consecrating ourselves to Christ. Yet when the account moves to the Garden of Gethsemane, the time of glorious fellowship and comradery turns into a moment of fear and apprehension as the cup filled with all that comes with renewed purpose, cleansing and affirmation becomes one of pain, death and betrayal. The same cup which is the source of destinies fulfilled and new beginnings eventually drives our Lord and Savior to cry out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) and to even ask his Father in Matthew 26:39 “…if it is possible, take this cup away from me”
One cup exists as a single call over our lives. This call, this cup, is comprised of a distinct ‘duality” of forces operating at opposite ends of our faith as it moves us into deeper relationship with the Father.
Joy in the midst of Pain
Trust in the midst of Betrayal
Belief in midst of circumstances that justify Doubt
Strength in a time of Weakness
Peace in the midst of Mental Torment
Connection and Community in the midst of Abandonment and Loneliness
Sunshine and Rain, they are both one in the same.
Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for the good of them who love Him and are called according to His purpose. So as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior this Easter season, in order to appreciate Christ’s cup of communion and all the benefits that come with it we must understand what it cost. 2 Timothy 2:11-12 reminds us that if we die with Him we also live with him and if we endure hardship as Christ endured we will reign with Him. Embracing the duality of Christ’s cup and recognizing that the benefits we individually and collectively gain greatly outweigh our share of the burden of its cost enables us to do as Christ commands in Matthew 26:27…..
Then He took a cup and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying “Drink from it, all of you”.