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Christ, the Cross and the Cup

August 19, 2009

I thought this would be beneficial to post on HereWeStand and have asked the authors permission, though he wants to remain anonymous. It’s a short sermon written by a teenager, and really captures the heart of some core gospel truths. Have a read, and I hope, be encouraged. Grace and salvation appear more precious when seen in light of wrath and judgement, I applaud the writer for not skipping over such things.
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Luke 22:39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.

Luke 22:40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Luke 22:41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,

Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

Luke 22:43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.

Luke 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow,

Luke 22:46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Now many, many martyrs, who have died to the Glory of God, have gone to the stake, noose, and other terrible ways to die, singing praises to God. Yet we find that before Crucifixion, Jesus sweats blood (as recorded by Luke, who was a doctor). Sweating Blood is an extremely rare medical phenomenon only found where someone is in an awesome amount of anguish. Do you think that Jesus, fully God in the flesh, would have been scared by nails through his hands and feet, where many others have gone in pleasant song? By a few lashes, where others have recited Psalms in joy? Why would Christ be any different from these martyrs? Why would Jesus go in anguish, instead of joy? Or, more likely, do you think that Christ was pained over what was in the cup, that he pleaded to be removed from him if it were possible? It seems to be that the contents of this cup were no fizzy drink, but something of awesome devastating power. But to find out what was in the cup we must look back to an Old Testament prophecy, written by Isaiah, revealed by God.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

Isaiah 53:8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?

Isaiah 53:9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

Many centuries before Christ, Isaiah wrote these words, given by God. But in them we see why Christ sweated blood, for though he never did sin, God’s wrath that we deserve, was placed on him. He drank God’s entire wrath! He suffered more than any sinner ever will in hell, so that a select few may share his Glory. Why should I gain from his reward? I have no idea, but still He gives the awesome gift of salvation! And if you are not saved, or are not sure if you have been saved, or are clinging to some hope that being a “good person” will get you into Heaven, forget about it. Because there is one way into heaven, Christ Jesus. You must turn from your sins, have faith in Christ and pray for forgiveness and salvation while God still allows you to breath, for any moment could be your last. Look to the Cross, and see yourself there mocking, spiting and ultimately holding Christ to the Cross, with your nails of sin and you will see both your curse and your salvation.

To see this wrath that we deserve, we can look at examples of God’s wrath through the Bible. I think one of the best examples of God’s wrath is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord’s mercy had grown short for the homosexuals in Sodom and Gomorrah, so He took His wrath into action. He rained sulphur and fire down on these people. I imagine it would be something like today’s napalm, and agent that is like melted plastic on fire, that burns like acid when put out. It’s pretty nasty stuff. And God did not rain to hurt, and teach a lesson. No. Oh, no, no, no. He rained until every inhabitant was dead. Burning acid that rains and rains until two cities of people are annihilated! I hope we can agree that God’s wrath is no pleasant thing.

And when we come back to the Garden of Gethsemane and Calvary, we see the reason Christ was sweating blood. Sodom and Gomorrah was a miniscule part of God’s Righteous Wrath. He bore the entire wrath that we deserve, in one drink. Our God became lowly man, beaten and bruised, and finally crushed by The Father on that judgement tree, held by our sin, so that we may have eternal life. Walk worthy of your calling my brothers and sisters, for this calling is higher than we can ever imagine, so that we do not cheapen the work that was done on the cross. Soli Deo Gloria; To God Alone Be Glory Amen.

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