Day 15 – Can You Drink the Cup? – Henri Nouwen

Day 15

Can You Drink the Cup?

Henri Nouwen

“Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” When Jesus brought this question to John and James, and when they impulsively answered with a big “We can,” he made this terrifying, yet hope-filled prediction: “Very well; you shall drink my cup.” The cup of Jesus would be their cup. What Jesus would live, they would live. Jesus didn’t want his friends to suffer, but he knew that for them, as for him, suffering was the only and necessary way to glory. Later he would say to two of his disciples: “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer before entering into his glory?” (Luke 24:26). The “cup of sorrows” and the “cup of joys” cannot be separated. Jesus knew this, even though in the midst of his anguish in the garden, when his soul was “sorrowful to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38), he needed an angel from heaven to remind him of it. Our cup is often so full of pain that joy seems completely unreachable. When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become. The sorrow overwhelms us, makes us throw ourselves on the ground, face down, and sweat drops of blood. Then we need to be reminded that our cup of sorrow is also our cup of joy and that one day we will be able to taste the joy as fully as we now taste the sorrow.

Soon after the angel had given him strength, Jesus stood up and faced Judas and the cohort who had come to arrest him. When Peter drew his sword and struck the high priest’s servant, Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18: 10-11).

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