Bridal Cup

bridalcup

The young man eyed the gate of the home he wanted to visit.  His feet were covered with sand from the journey that began at his father’s house in Cana.  Food and water, supplies, and clothing were packed on his donkey to sustain him and his servant.  They left early in the morning, expecting to arrive at sunset.  Making their way without encountering any of the usual soldiers posted on the road, they were ahead of schedule and arrived in Caesarea under a bright afternoon sun.

He had contemplated this day for many years.  As he walked on the well-worn roads, he had nothing but time to ponder his intent.  The words he wanted to say were solidified in his mind, and this was the day he would finally render the well-rehearsed discourse.  He drew a breath, knocked on the gate, and hoped his face was not exhibiting the anxiety of the moment.

“Saul, son of Benjamin, what a surprise to see you,” said the excited voice that greeted him.  “Daniel, you’re the man I came to see,” Saul answered.  Saul and his servant were ushered inside the gate to the home, where their feet were washed and their thirst quenched with cool water drawn from the well.  Then they were graciously shown to the sitting area.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” asked Daniel.  Saul set his shoulders.  “I have come to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage,” he answered.  “Marriage?”  The older, wiser Daniel considered the question that caught him a bit off guard.

Daniel knew the day would come when an eligible young man would ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage.  He asked after Saul’s intentions.  Who did Saul work for?  What kind of craft was Saul good at?  He wanted to know how soon Saul would be able to care for his daughter.  Saul had thought about these questions for many months.  He was ready to answer the man whose daughter was known to the suitor’s family.  The long dialogue pleased Daniel.  Saul and his servant were invited to stay for supper.

While preparations were under way, they continued the discussion.  Saul finally felt comfortable enough to ask, “What do you require from me?”  Daniel said, “Twenty sheep and two goats.”  Saul’s face was downcast.  “That’s my entire flock,” he responded almost disbelieving.  Daniel replied, “She’s a wonderful woman, you know.  Her mother has prepared her in the art of cooking, and I have spent many years training her in the ways of the Lord.  Do you not think Shira is worth the bridal price?”  “Yes, I do,” said Saul, “but would you accept twelve sheep and one goat now and let me owe you the rest in two years?”  After some contemplation Daniel agreed.

There was one major aspect left for their engagement to be finalized.  Saul instructed his servant to bring his cup.

Daniel’s entire family gathered in the courtyard.  Saul filled the silver cup with wine and approached Shira.  He held it out toward her and lovingly asked, “Shira, will you marry me?”

Everyone knew what acceptance of the cup meant.  Accepting the cup meant Shira would leave her old life behind, and take on Saul’s life and desires.  She would have the benefit of his friends, who would become her friends.  She would be submitted to him and take on his family name.  If she ever had a problem in the marketplace, Saul’s family name would cover her.

Every person looked on in respectful silence.  If Shira accepted the terms of the contract all she needed to do was receive the cup from Saul and drink it.  If she did not want to marry Saul she would leave the cup in his hand.  Her mother was the only one who knew what she wanted.  Her heart was pounding with excitement.  She placed her fingers around the cup, lifted it to her mouth, looked deeply into his eyes, and lovingly drank every drop.

Daniel invited Saul and his servant to rest in the guest’s quarters for the night.  Saul used the occasion to his advantage, paying close attention to the furnishings in Daniel’s home.  He familiarized himself with things that would make for his bride’s comfort.  He made a mental note of every detail.

They departed the next morning for his home in Cana.  He was going to build an addition onto his father’s house, where he and his bride would reside.  He would come back for Shira unannounced in about a year.  Saul would return after their living quarters were completed.  He would prepare a place for her at his father’s house.  Meanwhile, she would prepare herself and watch for his arrival.

It is the third cup, the cup of redemption, consumed after the matzah that is traditionally looked upon as the place in the Seder where Jesus instituted communion.  The matzah is the bread that was broken in half, wrapped in a white cloth and hidden away, to be searched for and found later.  Jesus takes this bread, breaks it, and says, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11: 24).

The cup of redemption follows the eating of the bread.  Scripture says, “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  For this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26: 27-28).  At the time when Jesus is about to drink the third cup, He takes the unleavened bread and paints a visual word picture.  He breaks it and explains it is His body.  His body would be broken for them later that night.  Then He says the wine represents His shed blood for the remission of sins.  The third cup is the cup of redemption, purchasing many from the depravity of sins.

READING BETWEEN THE LINES

There is a veiled message behind the third cup of wine just waiting to be revealed.  When Jesus instituted the communion cup, the people of His day were familiar with the marriage cup.  Obviously Jesus was telling the disciples to eat and drink in remembrance of Him.  But will you permit a stretch in the bounds of the story for the sake of an illustration that expresses God’s love to us?

Those who know Jesus are His bride (Revelation 22: 2, 9).  We partake of the communion cup.  Can you imagine for a moment that Jesus the Savior is extending His hand to you, holding a beautiful silver cup containing the drink of His covenant?

He asks you a question.  “Will you marry Me?”  He pauses and lets you dwell on it for a moment.  Then He continues.  “Are you willing to leave your old life behind, and take on My desires?  By accepting, you will have to be completely submitted to Me.”

“In return, I will give you My life and My valuable Name.  No longer will you have to fend for yourself with your own credentials in the spiritual marketplace.  If there is ever a problem My Name is stronger than that of your enemy.  I will give you My Name, and you may invoke it while you are about My Father’s business.  There is power in My Name, and it will be effective in doing Kingdom business.”

Jesus continues speaking to you.  “You are valuable to Me!  I have paid the bridal price for you with My blood, the most valuable substance in the universe.  I have gone away to prepare a place for you at My Father’s house.  You must be prepared for My return.  It will happen at a time you do not expect.  Watch for the day when I will come back.  I will return for you.”

Will you accept the terms of the contract?  If you do, then all that is required of you is that you drink the cup.”

Next time you take communion think of yourself as a bride accepting the Savior’s marriage proposal.

Jesus extends His cup and asks for your hand in marriage.

Are you not amazed that He chose you?