Mark 10:38-39- But Jesus said to them… “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism, I am baptized with you will be baptized“ NKJV
The disciples are at it again! James and John approach Jesus with a question that shows they are still interested in positional authority in the kingdom of God. They want to know if Jesus can grant them a favor by allowing them to sit, one on His right side and the other on His left. Jesus then poses a question to them.
“You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”Mark 10:38 NKJV
James and John quickly responded that they were able to drink of His cup.
In this passage, Jesus asks if James and John can drink from the cup He would drink from and be baptized with His baptism. Many scholars believe that the cup Jesus was referring to was the cup of suffering. Scholars also believe that the baptism Jesus referred to is the baptism of death. What He experienced before the cross was harsh. What He endured on the cross was horrific. Yet, that wasn’t the end of His story!
I sincerely believe that they were clueless about what Jesus was saying to them. When He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, they couldn’t stay awake to pray, and when He was taken by the guardsmen, they fled! So at that time, they thought they could handle anything that Jesus could handle.
So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized.Mark 10:39 NKJV
Yet Jesus knew what they did not know. He knew that they would indeed drink from the same cup that He was going to drink from, and they would be baptized with the same baptism. Historically, His words were accurate. Each of His disciples was martyred, excluding Judas, who killed himself, and John, who apparently died of natural causes. Though they tried unsuccessfully to kill him. So they did drink of His cup of suffering and were baptized with His baptism. But did you know that isn’t the whole of the story? There is so much more!
Before Jesus rose from the dead and restored the disciples, they had difficulty staying the course. We see them wanting to be the greatest, wanting to call fire down from heaven to consume others, cutting off the ear of a soldier and a host of other things. At times, I can see that they didn’t quite know what to make of Jesus, nor what He really wanted them to do. But the light came on for them after they met in Jerusalem to await power from on high! And although they died a martyr’s death, if they could testify before you today, it wouldn’t be about how they died, but how they lived!
As apostles, leaders, trailblazers, they had a more challenging way of things than the average Christian will experience. I will even go so far as to say that the early church members have the same testimony. Establishing and then expanding the kingdom of God amongst heathenistic nations came with a heavy toll. But it was in the cup, and once they understood what was in the cup, they drank from it wholeheartedly!
Every believer will have to answer the same questions during their time on this earth. Am I able to drink from the cup that Jesus drank from? Am I able to be baptized with His baptism? It’s surprising how many times the Bible reference a cup, and all references are not as deep as the cup Jesus mentions!
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.Psalm 23:5 NKJV
In this cup, David found the overwhelming goodness of God. As David worshipped the Shepherd, he marveled at the fact that his cup ran over. When I think of drinking from the cup, I know the goodness of God is also in the cup! As the apostles learned to trust God and be led by His Spirit, they also experienced that the cup offered more than suffering!
What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.Psalm 116:12-13 NKJV
What shall any of us give to the Lord for all His benefits towards us? The psalmist answered by saying that he would take up the cup of salvation! This reminds me of a chorus to a song my husband loves so much:
When I think about the Lord, how He saved me, how He raised me, how He filled me with the Holy Ghost, how He healed me to the uttermost, how He picked me up and turned my life around, how He place my feet on solid ground, it makes me want to shout!Christ for the Nations
There are so many benefits in the cup of salvation! Are there sufferings? Sometimes! But mostly, there are great benefits in the cup! The apostles experienced every one of them! And because the drink of the cup of salvation was so refreshing, they had no issues with all the other stuff that was in the cup!
O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.Psalm 16:5 NKJV
Most important of all, David discovered that God was his cup! God was not in the cup, but God is the cup! And because He is the cup, even in the valley of the shadow of death, or death, He is with us! No one could ever love us more than God can love us! Nothing could ever be more beneficial than experiencing God. Everything won’t always turn up roses, but everything will always be worth it when we stay plugged into God!
This is what the apostles found! This was their hope and the experience! Having an opportunity to connect with God, to know Him, and to be known by Him, was worth everything that was in the cup!
Remember, I wrote above that wasn’t the end of Jesus’ story? His story is yet being told! He didn’t stay in the grave, but He rose from the dead. After restoring His disciples, He ascended to the Father, where He now sits as a mediator for every believer! Every time someone drinks from the well of salvation, it is made possible because He willing drank from His cup! It wasn’t easy that night for Him. His flesh was screaming, “Lord, if it is possible, let this cup pass!” But His Spirit was willing, “Not my will, but thy will be done!”
The apostles saw miracles. Their lives were transformed. They caught the vision of eternal life, and then they went forth that others may have the same opportunity to experience God. James died not soon after the resurrection at the hand of Herod. He drank from the cup before his friends and brothers in Christ! But they didn’t stop! They didn’t cower down! They didn’t say the cup was too bitter! No! They continued with Jesus and His agenda, knowing that whatever was in the cup was worth it to be with Jesus!
Is He worth everything to you? Are you genuinely willing to enjoy the goodness of God while experiencing the attacks of the enemy? As a believer, you will not have a choice. You will drink of the cup! But knowing all the benefits, all the blessings that are in the cup, it should be easier to drink from. Wonderful Jesus!