The Cup – Part 1

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:13

This scripture harks back to the Lord’s Supper and its implications for the church. Notice in particular that last line. We have all been made to drink into one Spirit. Drinking into one Spirit is a command.

This was exactly how the Lord Jesus administered the last Passover.

“27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Mat. 26:27-28)

Mark 14:23 says the same thing.

“… And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.”

Notice the disciples drank from one cup. Jesus made them to drink from one cup.

I happen to know for a fact that many churches do not administer the Lord’s Supper – and especially the cup – the way the Lord did it. In most churches, cups are used instead of the single cup that the Lord used at the Last Supper. Each member uses their own cup. For this reason, in Africa, churches even import whole sets of cups from the West.

This deviation from scripture seems petty, but it is deeply telling – and it has far-reaching consequences for the church.

The reasons for this deviation, of course, are plain carnal. People believe they are so much more refined, cultured, and wiser than Jesus was! And some reasons are even darker. People wouldn’t want to associate with certain classes of people. They wouldn’t want to put their mouths to the same vessel that an old hag, or a dirty or uncouth brother or sister has drank from. In any case, today there are so many infections, who knows? One might pick up something from a sick person! People are worried. They are worried for their health.

Ha! What a bitter joke. All this signifies our deep ignorance of spiritual things. It reveals, not only our lack of revelation, but also our profound deficiency of spiritual truths.

Allow me to speak on behalf of God here. God wouldn’t care if half the church were suffering from tuberculosis, pneumonia or whatever. He is the God that healeth us. Where is faith? But, even more importantly, where is the revelation of the things of the Spirit? Where is the revelation of the cross in our lives?

And, above all, where is the love of God?

If there is one area where the devil has effected a total coup against the church, it is in the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. We divide the cup in church, and Satan is very happy because he knows we do not have the vaguest idea of what that cup means. We do not understand its importance.

But the cup is not supposed to be divided. It is not to be divided because it signifies an important spiritual truth; probably the most important truth of all. The cup that Jesus commanded His disciples to drink (of which they drank all from the same cup) signifies our identification with Christ in His sufferings and death. Partaking of the cup at the Lord’s Supper means we drink from the same cup that Jesus drank.

Remember when James and John went to Jesus and asked that one of them sit on His right side and the other on the left in His glory (Mk. 10:37)? What did Jesus answer them? Jesus asked them,

“can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?” (v.38)

He was talking of partaking of His sufferings. To have a shot at sitting anywhere near where Jesus would be seated in His glory, these guys would have to drink from the same cup that Jesus drank from.

In 1 Cor. 11:26 we read:

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”

The Lord’s Supper is a powerful declaration by the church that we are willing to daily die to self.

Notice in our key scripture above that we have all been made to drink into one Spirit. And the Bible qualifies the “all” by stating,

“whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free”.

There is no Jew or Gentile. There is no gentleman and a commoner. If we have all been made to drink into one Spirit, how so much easier ought it to be for us to drink from one cup in church? How can we claim to be able to partake of the sufferings of Christ while in church we cannot even partake of one cup?

We all who have been called by God have all been called to partake of the sufferings of Christ. And the single cup that we all drink from during the partaking of the Lord’s Supper signifies our understanding of this deep spiritual truth.

In the second part of this deposition, we will look at yet another important aspect of the Lord’s Supper: the one-ness of the Body of Christ.