The Baptism and Cup of Christ

“Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

Matthew 20:22


  1. We observe the Lord’s Supper tonight. It is our duty and privilege to remember His death (I Cor 11:23-27).
  2. Our Lord Jesus Christ drank the bitterest cup and was overwhelmed with a horrible baptism. Consider them.
  3. James and John wanted positions of honor in heaven; Jesus asked if they were able to match His performance.
  4. He knew what sufferings He would endure, and He knew the inferior sufferings they were going to endure.
  5. As we consider the cup and baptism of Christ, we want to focus on Him alone, even when defining the terms.
  6. Let us consider this cup and baptism in light of the recent sermon developing our Lord as the ransom for us.

The Literal Ordinances

  1. John the Baptist immersed Jesus in Jordan in order to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:13-15).
  2. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper the night before the Jews and Romans killed Him (Matt 26:26-28).
  3. These two ordinances are significant by our Lord’s death and resurrection (I Cor 11:26; Rom 6:3-5).

The Figurative Suffering

  1. The crucifixion sufferings and death of Jesus Christ are referred to as drinking a cup from God.
    1. Our Lord used this language of a cup when answering James and John’s mother (Matt 20:20-23).
      1. The seat that Jesus took in heaven was based on His sufferings and death (Revelation 5:6).
      2. James Zebedee drank of the cup first (Acts 12:1-2), but John was not far behind (Rev 1:9).
    2. Jesus referred to a cup when negotiating with His Father in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39,42,44).
      1. If you underestimate the evil of sin, then consider His sweating blood while negotiating here.
      2. If He had not been willing, for the reward of His Father, one drop would send you to hell.
    3. Jesus boldly used this language to Peter a third time in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18:11).
    4. Christ’s cup was a figurative word describing God’s wrath He was required to endure for us.
      1. God’s cup expresses His wrath and indignation against sin and sinners (Revelation 14:9-11).
      2. Jerusalem and Babylon’s destruction was by the cup of God’s fury (Is 51:17,22; Jer 25:15).
      3. The cup of wine in the Lord’s hand is for the wicked to drink entirely (Psalm 75:8; 11:6).
      4. Drinking a cup is a metaphor for punishment (Jer 49:12; Ezekiel 23:32; Ob 1:16; Lam 4:21).
      5. This is in stark and total contrast to the cup the Lord prepares for His people (Psalm 23:5).
      6. He drank the entire cup, including the dregs, for even one drop would send us clear to hell.
  2. The crucifixion sufferings and death of Jesus Christ are referred to as a baptism from the Lord.
    1. Jesus used this language of a baptism when answering James and John’s mother (Matt 20:20-23).
      1. The seat that Jesus took in heaven was based on His sufferings and death (Revelation 5:6).
      2. James and John were baptized as many other martyrs by Satan’s flood (Revelation 12:15-17).
    2. Our Lord used it again when expressing His single and solitary purpose on earth (Luke 12:50).
    3. Baptism is to be totally immersed, plunged, covered, or buried beneath something (I Cor 10:2).
    4. The text is not satisfied at all with the sprinkling or pouring of the Papists and their devotees.
    5. Jonah aptly described his experience as being under all God’s billows and waves (Jonah 2:1-5).
    6. David described being under God’s judgment as being under His waves and billows (Ps 42:7).
      1. God’s waves and water are a symbolic representation of His wrath (Psalm 88:7,16-17).
      2. David described death and hell as waves and floods that compassed him (II Samuel 22:5).
      3. David described himself in deep waters, where the floods overflowed him (Psalm 69:1-2).
      4. Waters going over your head is a horrifying example of suffering (Ps 124:4-5; Lam 3:54).
    7. Jesus was buried and overwhelmed in the flood of God’s wrath pouring over His exposed soul!
    8. We talk of being overwhelmed with just a few negative events; God’s wrath overwhelmed Jesus.

The Literal Suffering

  1. We are quite familiar with the physical and obvious aspects of our Lord’s crucifixion.
    1. He was SCOURGED by the Romans who were known for efficient punishments.
    2. He had a CROWN OF THORNS planted on his head and driven into his scalp with a reed.
    3. He had His BEARD PLUCKED off His face (Isaiah 50:6).
    4. His FACE WAS BEATEN by the hands and fists of Roman soldiers.
    5. He was STRIPPED of His garments in public and exposed to all in total NAKEDNESS.
    6. He was kept up all night WITHOUT SLEEP for torture and fraudulent trials to condemn Him.
    7. He was forced to CARRY HIS OWN CROSS after being physically abused all night.
    8. He had NAILS driven through His HANDS AND FEET into the wooden cross.
    9. He was SUSPENDED ON THAT CROSS with those four nails supporting His body weight.
    10. He was EXTREMELY THIRSTY from the hours of trial and torture and fluid loss.
    11. He was fully conscious of pain by REJECTING THE SEDATIVE offered before the cross.
    12. Though these physical sufferings are horrific, other men have suffered similarly.
  2. We sometimes overlook the nonphysical and less obvious aspects of His crucifixion.
    1. He was tortured in His soul, knowing the future (Matthew 26:1-2; Luke 9:51-53; John 12:27).
    2. He was neglected by the general ignorance of Judas and lack of comfort regarding his treachery.
    3. His disciples slept instead of responding to His requests for alertness and prayer.
      1. This after the Last Supper where he intimately told them of coming trouble and death.
      2. This after Peter had grandly promised Him to remain faithful even unto death.
    4. One of His closest friends betrayed Him with a kiss for a mere thirty pieces of silver.
    5. His disciples forsook Him and left Him alone and defenseless with the angry mob.
      1. We read of no defense on His behalf as a listing of His good deeds and words.
      2. We read of no efforts to sacrifice themselves to save His life i.e. Secret Service.
    6. He was forsaken by all His followers in His great hour of need. There was no rebellion for Him.
    7. He was ridiculed and mocked and tortured about His true identity with clear evidence available.
    8. He was unappreciated for the incredible amount of good He had done and taught for 3 ½ years.
    9. He was disowned by a dear friend who denied Him three times with oaths and cursing.
    10. He was humiliated with nakedness, mock titles, a purple robe, crown of thorns, and railing.
    11. He was sarcastically mocked as a king even though He was the King of kings and Son of God.
    12. He was dared by wicked and presumptuous men who knew nothing to prophesy of them.
    13. He was tempted to revenge with twelve legions of angels for His rescue, but He did not.
    14. He was rejected by His Own nation who screamed for a Roman oppressor to torture Him.
    15. He was sacrificed in order to free Barabbas, a proven and convicted murderer and seditioner.
    16. He was ridiculed as an imposter that could not possibly be known or helped by God.
    17. He was slandered by many false witnesses called against Him to lie rather than hear His truth.
    18. He was despised with spit in His face though He sent His sun, rain, and fruitful seasons to them.
    19. He was humiliated by two previous enemies – Pilate and Herod – becoming friends by His trial.
    20. He was deserted by the governor who knew Jesus was innocent and the Jews merely envious.
    21. He was tempted to accept a sedative offered before the cross. He drank rather of God’s cup.
    22. He was railed on by the two thieves whom were crucified for their evil deeds at His sides.
    23. He was ignored and not rescued, though there was darkness over all the land for three hours.
    24. He was shamed and tortured to suffer and die naked before His women friends and mother.
    25.  He was humiliated by being crucified between two common thieves though being Lord of all.
    26. He was suffering not for those who loved Him but rather for enemies that hated Him (Rom 5:8).
    27. No man has suffered such nonphysical pain and suffering in such a short period of time.
  3. Satan and the demons of hell attacked Him without mercy in an incredible, yet invisible, conflict.
    1. We are ignorant of the conflict between spirits in high places (Eph 6:12; Dan 10:20; Jude 9).
    2. We do not respect Satan, when God looses him (Job 1-2; I Chr 1:1; Zech 3:1; Luke 22:3,31-32).
    3. Satan’s demonic host is the most unified and efficient hostile force in the universe (Matt 12:26).
    4. Animosity and conflict between Satan and Jesus was prophesied very early (Genesis 3:15).
    5. Recall the subtle, arrogant, and malicious efforts to tempt Jesus to sin (Matthew 4:1-11).
    6. Satan only left Jesus “for a season” after the temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:13).
    7. The hour [of the] power of darkness is a foreboding description from Jesus (Luke 22:53).
    8. Jesus knew the conflict with Satan was coming and told His disciples of it (John 14:30).
    9. It was the time for Satan to be cast out (John 12:31; 16:11). Was he happy with this change?
    10. Satan is filled with such malicious hatred for Jesus Christ regardless of the future (Rev 12:12).
    11. As the elect angels cannot believe salvation for men, Satan cannot stand salvation by a Man.
    12. And he knew that Jesus Christ was manifested to destroy him and his works (I John 3:8).
    13. If we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, what did Jesus have to wrestle with? With principalities, powers, the rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ep 6:12).
    14. “[Deliver] my darling from the power of the dog” refers to the singular dog Satan (Psalm 22:20).
    15. “Save Me from the lion’s mouth” refers to the roaring lion Satan (Psalm 22:21 cp I Peter 5:8).
    16. An angel strengthened Him in Gethsemane (Matt 4:11 cp Luke 22:43-44 cp 22:53 cp Jude 9).
    17. Devils have no pity; they did not consider Him; they did not comfort Him; they tortured Him.
    18. If they could just get Him . . . to curse God . . . to beg for mercy . . . to quit . . . to be afraid . . . to ask for help . . . to use His Strength to deliver Himself . . . to violate a Scriptural promise . . . to retaliate against His persecutors . . . to ask them for help . . . to speak against the elect.
    19. No man has ever even imagined, let alone endured, such a spiritual conflict for His soul.
  4. But most of all He became sin for us, and God His beloved Father forsook Him.
    1. We must here admit Paul’s description of the incarnation as a great mystery (I Timothy 3:16).
      1. Jesus had a human spirit subject to all our temptations yet without sin (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15).
      2. Jesus had a Divine Spirit, the Word of God and the Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1).
    2. Remember clearly that no man has ever had a relationship with God as did Jesus of Nazareth.
    3. He was One with His Father (Jn 10:30; 17:20-26) and always pleased Him (Jn 8:29; Matt 3:17).
    4. Many, many martyrs have died more painful deaths with joy and singing from God’s presence.
    5. It pleased His Heavenly Father to bruise Him, put Him to grief (Isaiah 53:10), and forsake Him.
    6. He became sin for us (II Corinthians 5:21) as our iniquity was laid on Him (Isaiah 53:6).
    7. He became infinitely guilty, fearful, lonely, condemned for the first and only time in His life.
    8. He suffered these things in infinite quantity and quality though for a very finite period of time.
    9. He suffered the equivalent of an eternity in hell for all the elect in a few hours (Cp Matt 7:23).
    10. Yet, we must acknowledge that He was in the presence of God that very day (Luke 23:43,46).
    11. No man can weakly imagine the spiritual pain and suffering of this part of the cross.


  1. Tonight as we partake of communion, we will hold a cup and remember the blood red cup He drank for us.
  2. A Man went into the darkness of Gethsemane and negotiated for our freedom, and then He paid the full price.
  3. Considering His baptism and cup should move us to suffer with Him (Matt 10:38; 16:24; Philippians 3:8-11).

For further study: 

  1. Sermon Outline: I Have Found a Ransom, which develops the concept of to glorify our great salvation in Christ.
  2. Sermon Outline: The Glory of the Cross, with thirty points of reference glorifying the death of our Saviour.
  3. Sermon Outline: Jesus Paid It All, which considers each of these words in detail before the Lord’s Supper.
  4. Sermon Outline: We Would See Jesus, which explores delighting in both His life and His death.
  5. Sermon Outline: Psalm 22, for a verse-by-verse exposition of this prophecy of our Lord’s suffering and death.