By Randy Ballinger
The theme of Hebrews 2 is the honor due Jesus because of his suffering on our behalf. A specific phrase deserves attention: “. . . that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (v. 9).
William Barclay translated this verse in an interesting way in his book The Letter to the Hebrews. He wrote,
But we do see Him who was for a little while made lower than the angels, Jesus Himself, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of His death, a suffering which came to Him in order that, by the grace of God, He might drain the cup of death for every man.
This phrasing recalls the occasion when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39, New American Standard Bible).
As we gather around the Lord’s table, consider two things about this “cup of death” Jesus drained.
First, consider the potency of the cup. No cure was found in it . . . only a curse. The content of the cup was an elixir of evil. The dosage proved lethal, as the sin of all humanity was heaped upon Jesus . . . and then God forsook him!
Next, consider the resolve of the One who drank from the cup. Jesus was aware of its potency. However, he obeyed God’s will and willingly drank of it . . . and not just a few sips. No, Jesus drained the cup of death. What resolve! What selfless love for you and me!
By draining the cup of death, Jesus provided us with a cup from which to drink. The contents of which, once drained, becomes in you and me a “spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). Let us be thankful to him as we gather around his table.
Randy Ballinger lives with his wife, Gina Ann, near New Paris, Ohio. He is an elder with the Centerville (Indiana) Christian Church.