Sat around the table that night there are so many things happening. The Judas story, the exodus, the sacrificial lamb, the bread and now Jesus takes one of the four cups of wine.
It seems that amongst the many things going through the mind of Christ he has been thinking about the Jewish wedding.
“Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26 v 27-29)
Take a quick look at the wedding order and something amazing happens.
- The dowry is presented at a meal of the 2 families who come together to formalise the plans for the agreed marriage.
- 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.
- The bride and groom do not see each other until the ceremony. Instead they go through a water cleansing ritual to spiritually cleanse them.
- 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.
Then comes this important section. As you read it imagine the scene of the verses we have read today.
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.
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.