THE CUP OF SEPARATION

[SW373] 4/6/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“The Cup of Separation”

Text: Matthew 26:36-39, 42, 44

Last time, Jesus Christ asked you if you are able to drink the cup of persecution that He drank and be baptized with His baptism. In this passage, you will see that He had to drink a cup that only He could drink. And I will show you how that cup relates to you.

But first, you must know what He knew, before He drank that cup. Then you will understand His prayer in the place called Gethsemane. 

From before anything was made, Jesus Christ knew that He would be slain —

Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (KJV)

Thus, John the Baptist announced Him as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).

Jesus Christ knew that He had authority to lay down His life, and also to take it up again —

John 10:17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

Jesus Christ knew that His Father sent Him to die —

John 12:27   “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.”

Jesus Christ knew that He would be tortured mercilessly, and then die on a cross —

Mark 10:33 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. 34 “They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.” (Also, see Matthew 20:17-19, Mark 8:31 & 9:12, Luke 18:31-33, John 13:33 & 13:36).
Jesus Christ knew what He would endure as He hung on the cross — 

From a prophecy given by the Lord to King David, 700 years before Roman-style crucifixion was invented—

Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws . . . 16 For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones . . .

Isaiah 52:14 Just as many were astonished at you, so His appearance was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men.

Jesus Christ knew that He would take upon Himself the punishment we deserved, for our sin —

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being (peace with God) fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity (sin) of us all 

to fall on Him.

Jesus knew He would gladly do it all —

Hebrews 12:2b . . . Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame . . . 

The joy set before Him was that He could see all who would be saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to God by believing into Him, and then, all who would obey His command to stay and wait so they would be His witnesses here, walking as He walked in this world, and being as He is (1John 2:6, 4:17).

So, why was His soul deeply grieved to the point of death in the garden at Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives? 

Matthew 26

Verses 36-38 — 

Jesus was about to pray, and took James, John and Peter with Him, to a place that was a distance from the other disciples. He began to be grieved and distressed of mind. 

And He told them that His soul was deeply grieved (overwhelmed with sorrow), to the point of death. He asked them to remain with Him and keep watch with Him. He knew His death was imminent, but He also knew all I have told you, and more. 

Verses 39, 42 and 44 — 

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, and said, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” It was a cup far worse than the physical torture He knew He was about to endure! 

What overwhelmed Him with sorrow to the point of death? Separation from His Father, for the first time in eternity. 

Why would He have to be separated from His Father, for the first time in eternity? It was because He carried the sin of all mankind upon Himself. And sin causes separation from God. The LORD says through Isaiah —

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities (sins) have made a separation between you and your God . . . 

When He took the sin of the world upon Himself, the separation happened. At that moment, as recorded in Matthew 27:46, He cried out from the cross, just as David had prophesied —

Psalms 22:1  “My God, my God, why have You forsaken (left) Me? “

Yet He said three times, “Yet not as I will, but as You will!” He had come to do His Father’s will, even though it would cause a temporary separation of Him from His Father. It was just as David prophesied —

Psalm 40:7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of Me. 8  I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within My heart.”

And the writer of Hebrews confirms that David was prophesying about Jesus Christ —

Hebrews 10:7 “Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.”

Beloved, when He prayed three times, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will,” it was so you would know that it was not possible; He had to endure separation from His Father.  

Think of it! Jesus was never separated from His Father until He was on the cross. And after He died, He was no longer separated from His Father, and after He rose and spent forty days ministering to His disciples, He rejoined His Father in heaven, sitting at His right hand (Mark 16:19, Acts 2:33, etc.). 

Why did He do it? Oh, it was not His will, but His Father’s will! He had to drink a cup that briefly separated Him from His Father, in order to save you, reconcile you, AND make you the righteousness of God in Him! That is God’s will! Paul exhorted the believers at Corinth —

2Corinthians 5:21  He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we (“might” is not in the original Greek) become the righteousness of God in Him (Christ).

You will say, “What? How can I be righteous like God?” You were born with a sin nature, as a child of Adam. But when you do your part and drink the cup that separates you from the sin nature, and separates you to God, He will fill you with His righteousness, and you will be the righteousness of God, in Christ!  But you must say, “Not my will, but Your will, Father!”

Paul exhorted the believers at Galatia —

Galatians 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh (sin nature) with its passions and desires.

Paul exhorted the believers at Rome —

Romans 12:1   Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

He paid a great, immeasurable price so you would be saved from God’s wrath, forgiven of your past sins, and reconciled to God. Those are the mercies of God! Your first response to His great mercies is to turn to Him and believe into Him. 

But in view of His great mercies, Jesus commands you and Paul beseeches you that you must also say, “Not my will, but your will, Father,” and ask Him to crucify your sin nature, separating you from sin, and to Him! Then, you are no longer separated from God the Father, but the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit dwell within you fully and permanently (John 14:23). 

He bore the wrath of God that you deserved (Romans 3:25). He was sinless, but He took your sin upon Himself! He willingly and gladly did it, because He saw all those who would be saved. Even though it meant separation from His Father while He hung on the cross, He did it so His Father would be glorified, honored, praised, and revered.

But He also paid that great, immeasurable price so that when He rose and ascended and was glorified and poured out His Holy Spirit at Pentecost, you would respond by obeying Him, staying and waiting to drink the cup of separation from your sin nature, so you are entirely separated to Him, and holy as He is holy.

He was merciful beyond merciful to you and me! He did for us what we did not deserve! So, like me, you are obligated to obey His command to stay and wait, so the sin nature you were born with is crucified. 

Then He will make you pure and spotless —

Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious (glory-filled) church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

What is your response to what He has done for you? Do you say, “Thanks, Jesus,” and continue to sin? May it never be! Paul writes to the believers in Rome —

Romans 6:1   What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

Have you died to sin? O believer, if you are still sinning, you must know that your sin separates you from God! Drink the cup of separation from sin and separation to Him! Ask Him to crucify the sin nature in you. Then it will be dead, never to rise again. 

Instead of the sin nature, you will be a partaker of His divine nature — pure, filled with His glory, spotless, entirely separated to Him, holy as He is holy (2Peter 1:4, Leviticus 19:2, Matthew 5:48, 1Peter 1:15-16)!

Do you see it? He continues His mercy to you beyond the cross. O believer, you cannot continue willfully disobeying Him and expect to enter the kingdom of heaven. Do not be deceived (1Corinthians 6:9-10)!

His hand of mercy extends to you today, in this command to you —

Acts 1:4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

When you say, “Yet not my will, but Your will,” Jesus Christ says this will be true of you —

Acts 1:8 . . . “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Obedience to His command is the only sufficient response from you, beloved, now that you truly understand all that He did on your behalf!

Repent, turn completely way from your sin and to Christ, and believe into Him! He will surely forgive your past sins, save you from God’s wrath and reconcile you to God. 

Then, drink this cup of separation from your sin nature, and you will be separated to Him! When you have done it, He promises that He will be with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20)!

Lord Jesus, may this glorify the Father and You, and prick the hearts of many. May they respond by doing the words you have spoken through me, I pray. Amen!

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