Several times in Scripture it says of Jesus that His “hour had not yet come.” But on this night, His night of Passover, John 13: 1 records, ” . . . Jesus knew that the hour had come . . .” For this hour He came into the world.
Jesus and His disciples met together for a final Passover feast. He knew all things. He knew these men. He knew their weaknesses. He knew the betrayal that lay dormant in their hearts. And yet, he said to them, “I call you my friends.”
I tremble at the thought that Jesus knows my heart also, knows my weakness, knows the things that lay dormant within me. And yet He has called me into fellowship with Him. I will never understand how someone Who knows me so well, loves me so much.
At the Passover meal, the participants would drink four cups, four times the fruit of the vine would be lifted. And each one was significant and was given a specific title. Exodus 6:6 and 7 provide insight.
” Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
- The first – Cup of Sanctification – “I will bring you out . . . “
- The second – Cup of Deliverance – “I will deliver you . . . “
- The third – Cup of Redemption – “I will redeem you . . . “
- The fourth – Cup of Completion – “I will take you to be my people . . . “
At the first cup of Sanctification, the dinner guests would remember that they had been called out by God. They were a chosen people through whom God would reveal Himself.
The second cup of Deliverance provided the retelling of their deliverance from Egypt and all of the plagues brought about by God’s hand.
Just before it was time for the third cup, the Cup of Redemption, Jesus took unleavened bread, blessed and broke it, and gave to the disciples saying, “Take, eat; this my My body.”
Now it was time for the Cup of Redemption, and Jesus “. . . took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many,” (Mark 14:23-24).
The last and final cup was the Cup of Completion. Scripture does not mention this group of men drinking any more at the table. But recall the prayer Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me,” (Matthew 26:39, emphasis mine).
I suggest that the fourth cup was “drunk” by Jesus on the cross. It completed God’s plan for salvation. Jesus cried with a loud voice, “It is finished,” and the work was completed. The fourth cup, the Cup of Completion was accomplished in the death of Jesus. It made possible our friendship with a holy God. Now we may come into His presence clothed in the righteousness of the sinless Christ.
Passover is more than a Jewish celebration or day of feasting. It is a picture of God’s plan for salvation – for all those who will receive it.
“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free!” (Ephesians 1:4-8, The Message)
Amen and hallelujah!