The Passover meal was the celebration of the prophetic word of God to the Hebrews as He prepared them for their deliverance from Egypt and their redemption as His chosen. In that Passover meal there were four ceremonial wine cups shared by the participants, each celebrating one of the key prophetic promises. You can read more about this in the previous post, “The Third Cup.”
Listen to Jesus’ words about the third cup at this final meal: “Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves…” Matthew records it this way: “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Drink from it, all of you. This is not merely a command to drink from the cup that night, or even to commemorate the event as a sacrament. He is telling His disciples – all of us – to drink deep from the redemption that He, the Lamb of God, has purchased for us by His blood. Jesus insists we take it and share it among us and with those not yet with us. It is not for just a few. There were twelve in the room to hear this, yet Jesus says it is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
He is speaking of the new covenant that His blood inaugurates, that we are drink of it deeply. As we give ourselves to it fully we are consumed by it, taken over by His life lived in us. This is the point of our redemption, that we are finally set free by the life of our God lived in place of our own life.
There is one more cup in the Passover meal, the fourth cup, or the Cup of Restoration. In Exodus we read, “I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians.” Jesus does not take this cup at the final meal, for He states, “…for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
The Kingdom of God has come. It arrived with the indwelling Holy Spirit of Christ given to the “ekklesia,” the church of all true disciples of Christ. For those who drink deeply of the redemption Jesus purchased for us, there remains one more cup, the cup of restoration. This cup represents the restoration of the life with and in our God that was our intended life when God created us. Our rebellion removed that cup from us pending the work of Christ in our redemption.
That fourth cup is the restoration of our union with our God, which is ours by the indwelling Spirit of Christ and by our placement into Christ Himself. As He promised in John 14:18-20; “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”
By our redemption and our being joined into life of Christ by His indwelling Spirit, the prophetic promise of gifts of sanctification, deliverance, and redemption are personally and corporately experienced. So is the gift of the fourth cup, the restoration of our union with our God and the life of abiding in Christ and He in us.
This restoration is the essence of His kingdom work among us now. It is the heart of the new covenant that Jesus initiated in His own blood. He is restoring His followers to the original relationship with Himself for which we were all created. This is the new life we have in Jesus, and that we have because the Spirit of Jesus lives in us. The new covenant in His blood opens the pathway to our spiritual restoration now and for eternity.
The great prophetic promises regarding our new covenant relationship with our God are fulfilled in us by our God when we drink deeply of our sanctification, deliverance, redemption, and restoration. Not the actual drinking of wine but the unreserved commitment of all our living every day to surrender to our God. He will bring the fulfillment of these promises to pass in us by the Holy Spirit Who indwells us.