Nick Poindexter

My style's like a chemical spill

Tag: Luke

Take This Cup

“Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”
-Luke 22:42 (HCSB)

Knowing that he was about to be arrested, tried and crucified, Jesus retreats with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane for prayer. One can’t even begin to fathom how intense and excruciating this moment had to be. Therefore, to no surprise, Jesus’ prayer begins with a plea: Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.

As God in the flesh, Jesus knew what had to be done. But as a human, he felt the weight of the consequences as well.

Ultimately there was no choice. Jesus had to face the cup.

So what exactly is this “cup” that Jesus wants removed? Pain? Suffering? Death? As horrible as those things are, Jesus was facing something much worse.

Going back to the Old Testament, a cup is often used to symbolize God’s wrath and judgment. Those who have sinned against God are told that they must drink from this cup and endure it’s contents. It is essentially a cup filled to the brim with the horror and desolation that comes from being alienated from God the Father.

And Jesus wasn’t facing a single person’s cup… It was the wrath of God due to all humanity for their sinfulness and rebellion. The mere thought of that cup is what made Jesus plead with his Father for it to be taken away. Whips, thorns and nails couldn’t compare.

No wonder his sweat became like blood.

So how do we wrap our minds around a sacrifice so overwhelming? How could we ever acknowledge it with a proper response of thankfulness?

I don’t know. I really don’t. But if I had to answer, I would say this: simply rejoice and rest.

Rejoice in the fact that Jesus not only took your cup, but he actually drank from your cup. The fact that he would even taste our deserved punishment should steer us toward nothing but elation, praise, and celebration. So rejoice!

And rest in the fact that Jesus didn’t just sip your cup, but he emptied your cup. There’s nothing more you can do to atone your relationship with God, because Jesus has done it all. And there’s not an ounce of God’s wrath left for you. When you trust in Jesus’ finished work, you are saved, indeed. So rest.

So I rejoice and rest, knowing that the cup of God’s wrath, specifically directed toward me and designed for me, was willfully drank by Jesus.

Every. Last. Drop.

Drop Your Blanket

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
-Luke 2:8-14 (KJV)

Over the past 45+ years, A Charlie Brown Christmas has been a television staple during the Christmas season. The story revolves around the title character’s frustration with the commercialization of Christmas. At his wit’s end, Charlie Brown finally exclaims, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!”

To our surprise, Linus, the timid friend known for sucking his thumb and carrying a security blanket, speaks up. In an odd climax to a network television special, the boy then proceeds to calmly and confidently recite the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2 verses 8-14. “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” Linus concludes.

But something subtle yet very out-of-the-ordinary happens while he is speaking. Precisely at the moment when Linus quotes the angel saying, “Fear not,” he drops his blanket. If you’re familiar with the Peanuts comic at all, you know what a huge deal that is. Linus always has his blanket, despite the teasing he receives from others about it.

That’s the thing about our personal “security blankets” — we will clutch them and rationalize them no matter what.

Now, those shepherds that Linus tells us about in Luke had to have been pretty freaked out by the appearance of an angel. Who knows what was going through their heads, but I can imagine it wasn’t happy thoughts. At the very least, it’s safe to say this definitely qualifies as an unforeseen situation.

Like the shepherds, when something eventful happens in our lives (good or bad), it is almost instinctive to respond in fear. And what that fear does is tempt us to cling to what is cozy and comfortable; to trust in the things that we can control verses the things out of our control.

In other words, we put our faith in ourselves or others rather than in God.

But therein lies the problem. Your security is not found in your job… Your protection is not found in your spouse… Your freedom is not found in your friends… Your salvation is not found in your bank account.

The truth found in the cartoon is unmistakable: the hope found only in Jesus is better than anything a security blanket can offer. Better yet, his arrival makes those blankets completely useless.

That fact of the matter is you absolutely cannot rest in the peace of “Fear not” while grasping to makeshift security.

So drop your blanket. Wrap yourself in Jesus. He is your security.

And fear not.

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