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Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Bitter and the Sweet

And He said to them, This is My blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I say to you, I will no more drink of the fruit of the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. (Mark 14:24-25 MKJV)

So says your Lord Jehovah and your God,
He strives for His people.
Behold, I have taken the cup of reeling out of your hand,
the bowl of the cup of My fury;
you shall not yet again drink it.
(Isaiah 51:22 LITV)

For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 11:2 NKJV)

In ancient Israel, a man and woman drank one cup of wine to seal their betrothal covenant, and another at their wedding. Wine symbolized covenant, prosperity, and joy—but also sorrow, and the reeling of wrath. The drink of the fermented blood of the grape was both bitter and sweet.

In our modern celebration of communion, most of us use juice rather than wine, consuming only the sweetness of the grape and exempting ourselves from any bite. Little wonder that we expect only sweetness in the Christian life, rather than to share Jesus' cup of suffering.

We look forward to sharing the Bridegroom's cup in the kingdom of God, when it is new and sweet, the best wine saved until the last, when it shall have no bite, but contain only joy. In the meantime, each commUnion cup is a reminder of both the bitter and the sweet.

Lord Jesus, what a high bride price You paid to betroth us to Yourself, Your life poured out in very human blood. Thank You for sharing Your life with us. Please give us grace and strength to share Your suffering. Please unite our hearts to Yours and to one another in true communion.

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