On the evening before his death, Jesus prayed,
Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done (Luke 22:42).
What is this cup to which Jesus refers? It is the cup held in the hand of the Father in heaven. It is filled with his wrath and must be poured out for drink.
For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs (Psalm 75:8).
In the end those who do not know God will drink of this cup. In Revelation there is a description of those who first of all drink the wine from another cup.
Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all the nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality (Revelation 14:8).
Then another cup of wine is given.
He will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger (Revelation 14:9).
The good part about this Good Friday is that Jesus drank the cup of wrath which had our name on it. That is why the cross was such an agonizing experience for our Lord. The physical and mental pain of his torturous death would have been painful enough. But even more so was his experiencing of the wrath or anger of God which should have been ours.
Only Jesus could drink this for us. Not even the apostles could drink it for us. When Jesus was asked to appoint James and John to his sides in the kingdom, Jesus asked,
You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink that cup that I am to drink (Matthew 20:22)?
Jesus did go on to indicate that they would drink his cup, but not in the sense that they first thought.
We escape the wrath of God when we fully trust in the Son of God who drank the cup of wrath on our behalf. Then we remember and celebrate this fact by drinking from the cup at the Lord’s table.
And he (Jesus) took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:27-28).”