Understanding the CUP of the Lord's Supper
February 27, 2009
Most Bible believing Christians understand that the cup of the Lord’s Supper stands for the blood of Jesus shed for the forgiveness of our sins. What relief and peace we have in understanding that our sins are forgiven. Apart from Christ, we stand guilty and deserve to pay the penalty for our sins; we deserve to go to hell, a place of eternal punishment. Jesus took our place and Himself paid the penalty for our sins. We get off Scott free. We are declared righteous (imputed righteousness). If you have ever sinned, and you have, you know or can imagine what a relief it is to know that you are off the hook. We drink the cup to proclaim this fact.
14in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:14).
7In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7).
In the above scriptures we see that redemption, the forgiveness of sins, was won for us through the blood of Jesus. The cup stands for this message of the cross.
But, the cup also has a vital resurrection message. Consider the following scriptures:
16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).
10The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10).
The purpose of forgiveness of sins is that we can have life, eternal life. The cup which stands for forgiveness and redemption, also has a flip side or resurrection side to it. The resurrection message of the blood is life, eternal life, or abundant life. The full meaning of the cup, simply stated, is deliverance from death into life. (Note how this resurrection message parallels the resurrection message of the bread. The bread speaks of deliverance from sin. The flip side or resurrection side to this message of the cross is righteousness, or living for God, or doing what Jesus would do.) Consider the following scriptures about the nature of blood. They give us insight into the resurrection message of the cup.
13"Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; 14for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of
23Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat. (Deuteronomy 12:23).
Blood is the source of life. It is nourishment, provision, and support for every member of the body. If any member of the body does not get blood, it withers and dies. If your little finger, toe, or leg does not get blood to it, it will wither and die. The life flow of the blood keeps the body going and doing what it needs to do. Therefore, when we drink the cup, we are not only symbolically drinking to remember that our sins are forgiven, we are also symbolically drinking the life, nourishment, and provision (for the spirit, soul, and body) that God through Christ supplies to His body. We are saying that God is our source. We are saying that God abundantly supplies all of our needs, even for all eternity, i.e., eternal life in heaven.
When you think about the above paragraph, the whole message of the cup begins to make sense. The penalty of sin, i.e., death, is all manner of lack and need. In hell the desires of the wicked are thrust aside. Hell is a place of eternal wanting but never getting satisfaction. This is eternal death. Curses and demonic attacks are a slice of death. Jesus’ blood was shed to deliver us from this death (to forgive our sins). But , the blood also means life. It means getting all of our needs met, just like the body has all of its needs met by the blood. Thus, the full meaning of the cup is deliverance from death into life.
In 1Corinthians the cup is referred to as the "cup of blessing." It is a sweet, delicious drink whether it be wine or juice. It stands for a sweet, delicious message: deliverance from death and deliverance into life. (In short, the cup stands for deliverance from death into life, while the bread stands for deliverance from sin into righteousness.)
The cup speaks not just about eternal life in heaven, but it also speaks of deliverance from earthly curses into earthly blessings and provision.
Part of the penalty of sin are curses.
28But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully to all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: (Deuteronomy 28:15)
8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say, "In what way have we robbed You?'
In tithes and offerings. 9You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. (Malachi 3:8-9)
29For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. (1Corinthians -30)
(The Lord’s body is all about the Lord’s will. According to scripture, a body is for doing things on the earth. The Lord’s body is for doing the Lord’s will on the earth. Not discerning the Lord’s body is not discerning His will, or, in the above context, not discerning other believers who are an expression of His will, even though they are poor.)
By applying the blood (cup) by faith, we are exercising authority over curses like lack, want, poverty, sickness; and the killing, stealing and destroying of the devil. We war against these curses or demonic attacks with the blood (Revelations ). Not only do we by faith apply the blood to cancel the power of the devil and curses, but we also drink the cup (blood) because by faith we are drinking God’s rich promises of provision. By faith we are receiving all of God’s delicious nourishment, provision and support.
The Spirit of the Lord (Spirit of life) seeks to minister life and blessing to an area where death once reigned (the message of the cup). The Spirit of the Lord seeks to lead us into all righteousness in an area where sin once reigned (the message of the bread).
Do you have a need? In the cup, the blood is here for you. Drink deeply of God’s rich provision, and of His mighty deliverance from death and curses. There is a specific promise for every need; the blood represents this through the cup. Every promise to us is a blessing and a "slice" of His rich life. Drink!