Written by: Dean Clark
Did you watch the Stanley Cup Finals this year? The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks in six games to clinch their fourth Cup in franchise history. The Stanley Cup is the most coveted prize in the world of sports because there is not a new Cup made each year for a new champion; the previous winning team has to give up the Cup so as to be presented to the next year’s champion. Lord Stanley of Preston was the General Governor of Canada in 1892 and commissioned a trophy to be awarded to the winner of the top amateur hockey team in Canada. It was originally called the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, but now is known by all as the Stanley Cup. Fun fact to impress your friends: when visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada I discovered that there are actually 3 Stanley Cups, the original bowl of the "Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup", the authenticated "Presentation Cup", and the "Replica Cup" on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
When thinking about the Stanley Cup, I think of another cup from which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to drink. That is the cup of God's wrath for you and I for our sin. Jesus knew His time had come when He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray to His Father. In Matthew 26:38-39 we read:
38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Jesus knew that His death was imminent and He knew that He would have to endure pain and suffering that no one in history had ever endured. Jesus knew the prophecy in Isaiah 53:10 was about Him: "Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him." God the Father was going to crush His only Son on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin, and for my sin. This was the cup from which Jesus drank. Jesus would be separated from the Father and the Spirit for this time as God poured out His punishment on His son for the sins of the world. This is not where the story ends though! After enduring God's wrath, thereby conquering sin, Jesus was raised after being dead for 3 days and in doing so, He conquered death.
What kinds of cups are we facing right now? What kinds of pains and sufferings are you enduring as you read this devotional? The death of a loved one? A friend who is sick? Rejection at school or the rink? The pain of divorce in your family? These are cups that we each need to face but we need never face them alone. Look and see what Jesus did when faced with a sorrow that was "to death:" He prayed to the Father and said, 'your will be done, not mine.'
The trials, the sorrows, the pains and the hurts are there because God's will must be done. God is testing each one of us to be conformed to the image of His Son (2 Corinthians 3:18). Think about a guy who bore many 'cups:' the Apostle Paul. Paul was beaten, whipped, left for dead and the list goes on in 2 Corinthians 11 of the "cups" he faced. But listen to the words of this same man in Philippians 3:8-10:
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
As you read those words, you see a man who aches with a desire to know the One who bore the cup of his sin, not a man who worries about his own life. How about you? Do you want to know Jesus like that?
- How do you regard trials and 'cups" that come into your life: as opportunities to grow in faith, or inconveniences to where you want to be?
- How do you personally deal with trials and 'cups' that come into your life? Prayer? God's word? Or just complaining?
- Are you willing to say "Lord your will be done, not mine?"
Dean C. Clark is a recent graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity in Christian Ministry. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife Raina. The Clark's have 2 married daughters and one grandson, as well as one on the way. Dean grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is an avid Penguins fan. He is also a member of the FCA-Hockey Board of Directors.
Posted on Tue, July 19, 2016
by Dean Clark