Making A Difference In The Nation's Capital Through Prayer And Action

Day 9: The Cup

Mar 26, 2021

Countdown to the Resurrection

The Mysteries and Promises of the Cups

We continue our countdown to Easter today with a look once again at the Last Supper—the Passover Seder meal. Today we give special attention to the mysteries and promises of the cups taken during the course of the meal.

In keeping with Jewish tradition, Jesus and His disciples would have partaken of four different cups throughout the evening. The order of the cups comes from Exodus 6:6-7a:

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. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.

The first cup is called the Cup of Sanctification, which reflects the promise that God would bring the Israelites out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and set them apart as a new nation. Jesus lifted this cup and said: “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:17b-18). The word used in the Seder is kiddush, which means “set apart.” And so it is, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, believers are brought out of bondage to sin and set apart as a new nation for the purposes of God. “For he [God] has rescued us [brought us out] from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Col. 1:13).

The second cup is called the Cup of Deliverance, though some refer to it as the Cup of Plagues. The reason it is called the Cup of Deliverance is because God used the plagues—including the death of the firstborn—to deliver the children of Israel out of their slavery, just as we know God brought those plagues upon Jesus to deliver us from our spiritual slavery.

The third cup, which would be taken after the meal, is called the Cup of Redemption. Luke wrote, “Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). The price of redemption is the shed blood of Jesus. In the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he called this cup the “cup of blessing which we bless” (I Cor. 10:16) and the “cup of the Lord” (I Cor. 10:21).

The words Jesus used are a direct reference to an Old Testament promise given through Jeremiah the prophet:

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jer. 31:31-33).

God made a covenant with Israel when He brought them out of Egypt (Deut. 11), but they broke that covenant. To break the covenant would incur the judgment and wrath of God—a terrible and painful cup indeed.  But Jesus promises a new covenant of grace and salvation, which is a wonderful promise. But this covenant of grace would only come through the Cup of Redemption in His blood as the wrath of God is poured out on His Son.

And there it is. The promise of salvation flows from the precious blood of Jesus shed on Golgotha. And for whom is the cup poured out? It is “shed for you.” As the hymnist wrote, “What can wash away my sin? / Nothing but the blood of Jesus. / What can make me whole again? / Nothing but the blood of Jesus. / No other cup I know. / Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

On Good Friday, members of our Faith & Liberty team, including Vice President Peggy Nienaber, will stand in front of the U.S. Capitol Building with a cross, praying and reading the Sacred Text. Why? For a show? Absolutely not. We do this to proclaim to our public policy makers that they, too, like all of us, are sinners separated from God. But we can be reconciled to God through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. We remind them they are not a law unto themselves but are accountable to their Creator and need redemption, which only flows from the blood of Jesus.

Our efforts to bring the Word of God to bear on the hearts and minds of our national leaders are only possible because of the faithful prayers and generosity of friends like you. Thank you for standing with us as your prophetic missionary team to Washington, D.C.

You might note we have not mentioned the fourth cup. That omission is intentional. We will address the fourth cup tomorrow in the next of our “Countdown to the Resurrection” devotionals.

In the meantime, our prayer for you is that the full efficacy of the blood of Jesus will be manifest in your life and in your family not only in this Easter season, but throughout 2021. May all of God’s very best be yours! Amen.


Faith & Liberty is an evangelistic ministry, taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nation's top elected and appointed officials. Our mission is simple: To bring the Word of God to bear on the hearts and minds of those that make public policy in America. We rely on your support to accomplish this important ministry. Thank you for your generosity.