Matthew 26.27-28
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.

Aside from consumption of wine, one of the roles that chalices play throughout history is “of demonstrating the status of the owner or drinker,” notes the British Museum Magazine. As an example the museum offers the Lacock Cup, currently on display. The cup dates from 15th century England, weighs over two pounds, and is fashioned of gold and silver. The museum adds that the cup would have been a, “costly and showy item to own.” [1]

It is likely Jesus drank from a cup that was not his own during the Last Supper. It was standard etiquette, as late as medieval times, for the host to provide their guests with chalices. We also know from Scripture that Jesus owned few personal items, denying himself what most would consider essential. “The Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” It’s likely owning his own chalice was a luxury Christ did not experience.

Later that night Jesus embraced a second cup that was not his own. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he told his disciples. “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.’”

Neither the cup of riches nor the cup of suffering held sway over him. Jesus left the riches of heaven for the poverty of earth. He endured pain and destruction on our behalf. When faced with God’s refusal to answer his prayer and remove the cup of suffering, he conceded, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he stood and walked, “like a lamb to the slaughter.”

Although neither cup was his, he embraced what was inside. From the cup of justice he drank all that we could not. He paid a price we could not pay. From the cup of heavenly riches he offered what we could not afford. He gave a gift we could not earn. [2]

Father, our hearts find their rest in you. That you would freely offer us life through the costliness of your son’s death shows a love we struggle to grasp. While the cup of your Kingdom is something we could not afford, we embrace what is in it with joy and gratitude. May your love overflow from it into our own lives and into the lives of everyone around us.

Justice Through Christ
Part 1 of 5,

Today’s Readings
Genesis 27 (Listen – 6:25)
Matthew 26 (Listen – 10:01)



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[1] From a Table to the Alter. The British Museum Magazine. Spring/Summer 2014, Issue 78, pp. 44-45. | [2] Scripture references, in order of appearance: Matthew 8.20; Matthew 26.38-39; Isaiah 53.7