5

In Mark 10, when James and John ask Jesus that they be seated at his right and left in the kingdom, Jesus replies to them (verse 38):

"You don’t know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"

Commenting on this and the similar phrase in verse 39 on this passage, Mark Strauss remarks:

It is tempting, in light of the close parallel between the baptism and cup sayings, to see here sacramental imagery related to baptism and the Lord's Supper, both of which symbolize Christ’s sacrificial death.

Strauss, M. L. (2014). Mark. (C. E. Arnold, Ed.) (pp. 455–456). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

However, the other commentaries I checked lack all mention of the idea that there might be an allusion to the Lord's Supper. It's not as if they consider the possibility and reject it; they simply do not comment on it. Does the cup in Mark 10:38-39 carry an allusion to the sacrament?

2

In Mark 10:32, the evangelist writes that Jesus "took again the twelve and began to tell them what things should happen to him."

Jesus tells them,

Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man shall be delivered to the chief priests and to the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death and deliver him to the Gentiles. And they shall mock him and scourge him, and they shall spit upon him and kill him. And the third day he shall resurrect. (Mark 10:33-35)

Then, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come to Jesus, saying,

"Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask." He said, "What do you want me to do for you?" They said to him, "Permit us to sit, one at your right hand and the other at your left hand, in your glory." (Mark 10:35-37)

To which request Jesus responds,

You don't know what you ask! Can you drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? (Mark 10:38)

The sons of Zebedee respond affirmatively, and Jesus in turn responds to them,

You shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with! (Mark 10:39)


If indeed the cup was referring to the cup of the Eucharist, would Jesus have responded to the sons of Zebedee, saying, "You don't know what you ask! Can you drink of the cup that I drink of...?" For, certainly it was no difficult matter for the apostles to sit with the Lord Jesus Christ the night before his death and partake of the Last Supper.

But, as Heinrich Meyer stated, "The cup and baptism of Jesus represent martyrdom." Furthermore, Henry Alford wrote, "The one of these brethren was the first of the Apostles to drink the cup of suffering, and be baptized with the baptism of blood, Acts 12:1-2; the other had the longest experience among them of a life of trouble and persecution."

And so it was concerning this cup of agony and suffering, of martyrdom, that the Lord Jesus Christ fell on his face and prayed, saying,

O' my Father! If it be possible, let this cup pass from me! Nevertheless not as I will, but as You will! (Matt. 26:39)

And it was that same cup that the sons of Zebedee, as well as the other apostles, drunk when they experienced their own martyrdom or sufferings. But, not the cup of the Eucharist, or even an allusion to it, for the Lord Jesus Christ would not have asked (and did not ask) for that cup to be removed from him.

  • 2
    Possibly in the background: there are also a bunch of OT references to the cup as suffering, e.g. Jer. 25:15ff (LXX 32:15ff), Ezk 23:32ff. – Susan Sep 17 '15 at 5:23

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.