Reading: Psalm 116
I trusted in the LORD when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.”
What shall I return to the LORD
for all his goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD.
I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people (NIV).
Policeman Creek, Canmore, Alberta — photo by David Kitz
Today started a bit different. Rather than beginning my day with a hot cup of coffee, I had a few sips of water and then headed off for some blood tests. I missed that cup of coffee, but in reality going without it was no great hardship. Some view their morning shot of caffeine like a cup of salvation—early morning salvation. Today’s reading from Psalm 116 speaks of the cup of salvation. I’m sure the psalmist wasn’t speaking of his morning cup of java. What was he speaking of?
The psalmist lifts up the cup of salvation and calls on the name of the LORD in response to this question: What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me? The psalmist lifts up his cup as an expression of thanksgiving to the LORD for the salvation he has received from God.
But salvation came at a price. To purchase our salvation, Jesus lifted up a cup and brought it to his lips. It was a cup of unimaginable suffering. In the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). He was referring to the anguish he would endure. In the hours that followed, Jesus drained that cup of suffering dry, even as his body was drained of blood on a cruel Roman cross.
In the great plan of redemption, Jesus’ cup of suffering became for us a cup of salvation. He drank it down to save us from the cruel consequences of our sin. Jesus assumed the full penalty of our disobedience, rebellion and devious ways. But now by faith, we can become active recipients of the salvation that he won on our behalf.
The next time you bring the communion cup to your lips you are remembering—acknowledging in a tangible way—that Jesus’ blood was shed for you. Salvation came through a cup of suffering. We can rejoice in that truth because early on a Sunday morning Jesus’ dead body was jolted back to life. He was resurrected by the power of the Father, and one day the body of every believer will be resurrected too. In that moment we will experience the fullness of our salvation.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll return to my usual routine and I’ll enjoy my hot cup of coffee. But the cup I savour most is the cup the Lord provides—the cup of salvation.
Response: Lord Jesus, I thank you for your sacrifice. You gave yourself fully for me. On a crude wooden cross you purchased my salvation. Today, help me fulfill my vows to the LORD. Amen.
Your Turn: Which cup do you appreciate most? How can you show your appreciation?