Print this Page

The cup of consequences

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane. …. Going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as you will.” ….. Again, for the second time, he went and prayed, “My Father, if this cup cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” …. Leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.           Matthew 26: 36-44


The following statement seems true. Do you agree?


Every human being hates the consequences of his/her own wrongdoing.

Here are some examples –


·         When folk are convicted in Jersey’s Magistrate’s Court of driving whilst drunk they hate the £300 fine imposed and they hate losing their licence for 3 years. The “cup” is bitter.

·         When a husband commits adultery with the slim young lady at his St Helier workplace and his wife finds out, he hates the mess that follows. The “cup” is bitter.

·         When smoking turns to lung cancer, the “cup” is awful. (Better to invest in tobacco companies than to smoke yourself? Better to import cigarettes into Jersey and sell them? But what about the consequences – on others?)


In all cases although the “cup” is horrible the actual “drink” was a joy – a hoot – a great help to me.     To me the wrongdoing was “good” at the time – it’s the consequences that are (in my view) wrong and to be hated.


But is this correct? Should it not be the other way around? Should I not hate the wrongdoing instead of the consequences? Does God hate the consequences? Or hate the wrongdoing? Does God hate both?


Take a closer look, then, at the words in bold above. Jesus, this perfect man who hated all evil, lived a perfect life and was strongly opposed – to the death – by the authorities of his day, is about to drink the cup of consequences........


This cup surely cannot be full of the consequences of his own wrongdoing because absolutely nothing is on the record of any wrongdoing by him. In addition, nothing is on the record of any wrongdoing-by-omission in his case. Indeed, he did not even “omit” to give his life into death for others........


Look closely at the first (of these three) recorded prayers of Jesus. He asks for the cup of the consequences of wrongdoing to pass from him..... And he adds, “nevertheless not as I will but as you will”....


His second recorded prayer is different. My Father, if this cup cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done. What on earth is this?


Can this be correct? Jesus is confirming to His Father that he will do the will of His Father – but only on one condition. Do you see it? Jesus will drink this cup of consequences of wrongdoing (wrongdoing of others, not his own wrongdoing) only if there was no other way for it to pass……….


Your will be done if this cup cannot pass unless I drink it.The “cup” of consequences of Jesus’ own life (all his words and actions) was empty - he did no wrong. The cup in his hand was the cup of consequences for others’ wrongdoing. He was about to drink it ..... He would only drink it if there was no other way to save men and women......


What exactly was in his cup of consequences? Here are some of the wrongdoings of others (all such doings seemed “good” at the time in the eyes of those who did them) which were there: Judas’ love of money, the lies told to the Sanhedrin, the jealousy of the Pharisees, the self-seeking self-preservation of Pilate, the mockery of by-standers, the “get-rid-of-him” intent of his murderers….


Why drink this “cup” for others? His prayer to His Father has the two answers. There was no other way to do the will of His Father. The will of His Father and Jesus’ will was to be able to forgive all who call on him all their wrongdoing.

‘I hear the words of love,/ I gaze upon the blood,/ I see the mighty sacrifice,/ And I have peace with God.’ (Horatius Bonar, Minister and Writer, 1808-1889)
‘If our Saviour had committed all the sins of the world ... his agony that he suffered should have been no greater or grievouser than it was.’ (Hugh Latimer, Farmer’s son and Martyr, 1487-1555)
Richard Syvret

Email this newsletter to a friend
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Friend`s name
Friend`s email address *
Your name
Your email address *

Send comment
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Your name *
Your email address *
Your comment *