• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

The Cup

Today’s post comes from Mark in Hong Kong about chapter 15: The Cup

Well, here we go right into the stretch run of Keller’s book, the heart of Mark, and most importantly into the center of a crucial experience in the life of Jesus. This is the place in Mark’s Gospel where Jesus internalizes the full blow of what he will encounter in sacrificing his life for ours. “Something happened in the garden – Jesus saw, felt, sensed something – and it shocked the unshockable Son of God…now he is beginning to taste what he will experience on the cross.”

I am grateful for Keller’s choice of words. The words “saw,” “felt,” “sensed,” and most poignantly “taste” are instructive for us. These words illuminate the reality of who God is. As reflected in his Son Jesus, in the face of sin God is not stoic, staid, and steely.  God looks on the sin of his people and he is affected. He is moved to act, to intervene, and to rescue and that must mean that his Son whom he loves will suffer. And so in the intimacy of this prayer, the Father and the Son feel the import of what they are – mutually and together – to do for us. And it is not so much in what is said, but in what Jesus feels that tells us the cup will indeed not pass from him.

Keller uses the right word: taste. The cup, of course, always produces a taste. On many occasions Jesus has drank and reveled in the sweet taste of what his cup has produced. But not from this point forward. What he swallows is more than just a bad taste. It is the cup of death. And here in the garden, alone and fallen to the ground, he feels it.

Suffering has a feel. It’s palpable. For Jesus it produces feelings of being “deeply distressed and troubled…‘my soul is overwhelmed.’” And in his prayer he doesn’t repress or deny his emotion. Instead he channels it to God and allows his Father to transform his grief into gravely resolve. Jesus will go to the cross and die. But he will not do so in a cold and calculated tenor. Instead, he will invite his followers into his emotional landscape to show us that to be emotive is to be human and to lift up our feelings to the living God is to be like Christ.

Think about a season in your life when you have suffered. What did it feel like?

What do you do with the emotions of pain, grief, heartache, or sadness?

How do your prayers for yourself and for others who are suffering change because of what you have read in Mark 14.32-36?


Next installment of the King’s Cross blog post will be September 24th, looking at Ch 16 “the Sword”


5 Responses

  1. Great post. Yes, as a calculating, thinking-kind-of-guy, I tend to push the emotions aside. In my reaction to seeing people base decisions on emotions and feelings, it’s easy to over-react and attempt to ignore them.
    This is a wonderful reminder of our need to be aware of and deal with the reality of seasons of suffering and our response to a great, big, loving God.

    • Maybe this is why self awareness is such a core element of any worker’s or leader’s development. Being able to understand one’s own emotions or lack thereof and how our emotions impact others.

  2. I agree with both of you. How we treat the emotional landscape of our lives is crucial in our development as Christ followers. I’d love for some women to comment here, but since I am a man I’ll say this about men: we have to be particularly attentive to how we feel. Too often the Evangelical culture in which we find ourselves has made it seem that men are supposed to be the steady, staid ones who don’t express or show emotion. This is especially true if the emotion is a profound sense of sadness or loss or hurt. We’re taught in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that to be real with our emotions is to be weak, and somehow weak is bad.

    But I reject this. To feel the full weight of our emotions is what it means to be human. Our challenge is to channel these emotions to God, and in the context of our community, so that God can transform what we’re feeling! At some point I’d like to be with Christian men in community where we share openly what’s in our feelings at an emotional level.

  3. I’m not a woman..and I’m late in reading this chapter. But, not seeing our sisters replying, I’ll relay the testimony of daughters. I have wept profoundly, especially when learning of something suffered by those very dear to me. At least one daughter has later reported that my crying ministered strongly to her; she had tasted my love and support.

    I am so grateful for the example of my meek and mighty Savior! I am forever in His debt!

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