Mattityahu (Matthew) 20:22 & Marҫos (Mark) 10:38: But answering, Yahushua said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup which I am about to drink, and to be baptized with the baptism with which I am to be baptized?” They said to Him, “We are able.”
What is this “cup” the Messiah is referring to? Why are the Zabdai (Zebedee) brothers unable to drink it? These questions are what drive this study – let’s strive to find out the answers together from Beresheit (The Beginning).
Bemidbar (Numbers) 5:17-29:
(17) And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel. And the priest shall take of the dust which is on the tabernacle floor, and shall put it into the water.
(18) And the priest shall cause the woman to stand before YAHWEH, and shall make bare the woman’s head, and shall give into her hand the food offering of memorial; it is a food offering of jealousy; and in the priest’s hand shall be the bitter waters which cause the curse.
(19) And the priest shall cause her to swear and shall say to the woman, If no man has lain with you, and if you have not turned aside to impurity under your husband, be free from these bitter waters which cause the curse.
(20) And you, if you have turned aside under your husband, and if you have been defiled, and any man besides your husband has given his semen to you,
(21) Then the priest shall cause the woman to swear with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say to the woman: YAHWEH shall make you a curse and an oath among your people, when YAHWEH makes your thigh to fall away, and your belly to swell.
(22) And these waters which cause the curse shall go into your bowels to cause the belly to swell, and the thigh to fall. And the woman shall say, Amen, Amen.
(23) And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and shall blot them with the bitter waters.
(24) And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter waters which cause the curse. And the waters which cause the curse shall enter into her for bitter things.
(25) And the priest shall take the food offering of jealousy out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the food offering before YAHWEH, and shall bring it near to the altar.
(26) And the priest shall take a handful of the food offering, its memorial, and shall burn it as incense on the altar. And afterward he shall cause the woman to drink the water.
(27) And when he shall cause her to drink the water, then it shall be, if she has been defiled and has committed a trespass against her husband, the waters which cause the curse shall go into her for bitter things; and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall fall away, and the woman shall become a curse in the midst of her people.
(28) And if the woman has not been defiled, and is pure, then she shall be clean and shall conceive seed.
(29) This is the law of jealousies when a wife turns aside under her husband, and has been defiled;
– This passage is traditionally known has the “Law of the Jealous Husband” or “Law of Jealousies.” If a husband knows or believes that his wife has defiled herself by committing adultery/whoredom, he is to bring her before the priest to determine the truth of the matter. The head covering, a symbol of husband’s authority, is removed from her head and she is made to drink a cup filled with “bitter water” which causes the curse. If she is innocent, she shall be deemed clean and shall be blessed with children. If she is guilty, the bitter waters shall make her belly to swell and thigh to fall way thus imputing the curse upon her.
– Now, you may be asking: how does this apply to Messiah? Yahushua, being the final atonement for sin, stands as a substitute for His wayward, defiled, whoring bride. Instead of bringing the bride before the priest, he is to stand for His bride and take the cup of bitter water for her. This is the cup of which He must drink, and a cup that the Zabdai brothers cannot because they are part of the bride and are not the bridegroom who must die so they can be rejoined at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb!
Other times Messiah speaks of the “cup”:
Mattityahu (Matthew) 26:39-42; Marҫos (Mark) 14:35-39; Luços (Luke) 22:39-42:
(Mat 26:39) And going forward a little, He fell on His face, praying, and saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.
(Mat 26:40) And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And He said to Peter, So! Were you not able to watch one hour with Me?
(Mat 26:41) Watch and pray, that you do not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is ready, but the flesh is weak.
(Mat 26:42) Again, going away a second time, He prayed, saying, My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to pass away except I drink it, let Your will be done.
– Yahushua, being “word made flesh,” wished not to die but knew that he must fulfill the command of Yahweh – “let Your will be done.” There was no other way for the Bride to be redeemed, but to die for her- for US!
Yochanan (John) 18:11: Then Yahushua said to Peter,” Put your sword into the sheath: the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not at all drink it?”
– This is the same pre-ordained cup which Moshiach was sent here to partake in. He is telling Kepha, all of these things were set in motion beforehand, and must be carried out as planned.
Yochanan (John) 19:29-30:
(29) Then a vessel full of vinegar was set, and having filled a sponge with vinegar, and putting hyssop around, they brought it to His mouth. (Psa. 69:21)
(30) When Yahushua therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished:” and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 27:48: And at once, one of them running and taking a sponge, and filling it with “vinegar,” put it on a reed and “gave drink to Him.” (Psa. 69:21)
Marҫos (Mark) 15:36: And one running up, and filling a sponge with “vinegar,” and putting it on a reed, “gave Him to drink.” But they said, Leave alone, let us see if Elijah comes to take Him down. (Psa. 69:21)
– All three of these verses reflect the Gospel writer’s different views of the last moments of Yahushua on the tree. Regardless of the method or what he says in the moments just before His death, Messiah is given bitter water to drink and thus fulfills the Bemidbar (Numbers) 5 requirements. It also, as each verse quotes, fulfills the words of Tehellim (Psalms) 69 verse 21:
Tehellim (Psalms) 69:21: They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
The cup which Messiah drank for one and all was a cup filled with the “bitter waters’ of the curse. Yahushua drank from it to redeem His Bride back unto Him, and by dying; He released Yehudah and Yisra’el from the law of Marriage given at Mount Sinai so that He could marry them anew at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. The Zabdai brothers could not drink from the cup of bitter waters (They are a part of the bride (Body of Messiah), not the bridegroom) as Messiah did, but drink “His cup,” the cup of resurrection and redemption unto eternal life. Hopefully this “relatively short study has proved challenging and enriching to you in your spiritual journey.