Will you take the cup?
Mark 14: 22-26
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.” 26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
I am becoming more energised with the Gospel as I see that the amazing love story of God and mankind mirrors the Jewish wedding.
Here at the Passover meal as they celebrated Gods redemption of His people from Egypt entwined within the event is the wedding ritual.
Others will write more eloquently and with far greater detail but let me explain something so that today you will pause to marvel at the invitation God gives through Jesus.
1. The dowry is presented at a meal of the 2 families who come together to formalise the plans for the agreed marriage.
2. This agreement is copied onto 2 small pieces of identical pottery, one for each family. This is more than an agreement or a promise. It is a covenant which spiritually forges the blood of the bride and groom together, it could not be broken.
3. The bride and groom do not see each other until the ceremony. Instead they go through a water cleansing ritual to spiritually cleanse them.
4. The family and friends gather with loud music and singing in the town under a shelter erected for what is called the betrothal. This legalises the marriage but does not consummate it. Here the marriage covenant is read out by the groom’s father and the father of the bride holding his piece of pottery reads out the dowry and the dowry is then exchanged.
5. The groom hands his bride a gift. He then takes a jug and pours her a cup of wine and offers it to her. This is her opportunity to stop it all. She could reject the cup or drink from it signalling her willingness to marry. Once she drinks from the cup, he also drinks. Then the groom will say these words:
I WILL NOT DRINK THIS CUP AGAIN UNTIL I DRINK IT ANEW WITH YOU IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE.
Sat around the table that night there are so many things happening. The Judas story, the exodus, the sacrificial lamb. But in the mind of Christ when he picks up the cup of wine there is this thought, “this is all worth it”, for there is coming a day when the wedding will take place and this love story will be fully consummated and God will be with His people and they will know Him.
So the next time you take communion or whatever you call it and are handed the cup of wine have the image of your groom, Jesus, offering you relationship, a marriage that is coming very soon.