One Cup Call III
This little three-part, “ One cup ” article mini-series began with a simple phone call (Please see: http://churchofchristarticles.com/blog/administrator/one-cup-call). It continued in response to a request by a dear and beloved brother (please see: http://churchofchristarticles.com/blog/administrator/one-cup-call-ii). And it now concludes with this third and final installation, simply because I could not consider it as being complete without including the following, final, all-inclusive and incredibly informative and insightful passage, as recently pointed out to me by my brother, preaching peer, and fellow-author on this website, David Hersey – a brother whom I have never personally met, but to whom I am deeply indebted for his recent e-mail, emphasizing Luke’s account of Jesus’ institution of communion…
If you are one of my brethren of the so-called “one-cup” persuasion, may I very humbly and respectfully ask you to please consider with me, a couple of extremely important questions? While you are absolutely correct in noting from Matthew 26:27, that Jesus, “…took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying ‘Drink from it, all of you,’” then how, and what, exactly, did Jesus Christ the Lord tell His disciples to do with “it” at that exact point? Matthew doesn’t give us the immediately following details, but Luke does. He furnishes us with some further, additional, and very insightful instruction, straight from the lips of the Lord and Savior Himself that occurred on this occasion. Please note very precisely, exactly how and what Luke reports Jesus personally and specifically instructed His disciples to do with “it” at that point. (The “it” being the fruit of the vine that is, because there could be no way when Jesus said “drink from it,” He was commanding that they all drink from the same, one, literal container; and this for at least a couple of immutable reasons: #1) He was speaking metonymically as discussed in “One Cup II,” and #2) Luke 22:17 itself):
“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves…” (Luke 22:17).
Obviously they did not take out a saw or chisel and cut or split apart and divide up the literal “one cup” into multiple parts! (If they had, it wouldn’t have held any liquid at all.) But they sure were commanded by Jesus Himself to divide “it” – that is to say, the container’s contents up – before they drank of the fruit of the vine. As long as it was in that one container, the fruit of the vine was not divided as Jesus commanded. And, when they did divide it up among themselves… what exactly would they have put it into? The only obvious answer here that I can see, is that the only possible way they could have complied with Jesus’ commandment to divide it up amongst themselves, would have been by each one pouring a portion of that fruit of the vine into their very own, personal, individual containers before partaking. Otherwise, they weren’t complying. Otherwise, they weren’t dividing it up as He had instructed… were they? How could they have been?
And so, with all due diligence, respect, humility and love, might I therefore say, that if indeed it is true (as some of our so-called “one cup” brethren seem to have concluded), that using more than one cup during the communion celebration Jesus was instituting that evening is indeed a sin… then the very Son of God Himself, both sinned and commanded and supported His disciples’ sinning that evening as well – therefore condemning Himself even more by insisting on their sinning (Romans 1:32). Additionally, isn’t it therefore true that for anyone to condemn, refer to as heretics, or to see as unsaved, those who would simply make use of multiple containers in this celebration instead of just the one, is to condemn, refer to as heretics, and view as unsaved, Jesus’ apostles, and yes, even Jesus Himself! (And what Christian would really want to separate themselves from Jesus and His disciples? But to insist on separating ones’ self from any and all ‘multiple cup’ groups, would have to mean separating from this one which divided it up and then drank… wouldn’t it?)
I hope that someday the good sister who inspired this discussion with her phone call might somehow see and explore these articles. And I hope that after careful and prayerful biblical re-examination of some of their one-cup convictions, both she and her husband might be able to one day make their way to Cleveland, where they will then be completely comfortable worshipping with their beloved and blood-bought brethren here in the one body of Christ.
But I hope and pray that even more than either of those two things, that perhaps in some corners of our beloved and blood-bought brotherhood, some honest hearts might be truly touched by these three articles; touched enough that honest and sincere biblical re-examination and study previously-held perspectives might occur; and that maybe, just maybe, the one body of Christ might be pulled just a little bit closer back together, as we draw together on the Lord’s Day to celebrate what gave us that divine unity and priceless oneness in Christ in the first place – not the container, but what it contained represented: the all powerful and all-cleansing blood of Jesus Christ the Lord! God bless!