The apparently innocent cup offered to Christ had a sinister origin. Even as he tasted the sedative he recognized the hand of the Tempter. Mocked, scourged, worn out as he staggered to Golgotha beneath the burning sun, he craved a cool draught to quench his raging thirst. The Tempter said, ‘Drink! This will cool your tongue.’ Satan knew that the One about to be crucified was the Messiah.
…Christ saw the situation in a flash. He refused Satan’s cup. He was about to descend into even greater depths of suffering as he experienced the unmitigated wrath of a holy God against sin and as he grappled with the legions of darkness that were hurled against him. In that hell not so much as a drop of water may cool his tongue, nor relieve in the smallest degree his agony.
What if Christ had accepted that cup…? Then, with a befuddled brain, he could not have prayed for the soldiers who were waiting to nail him to the cross. Then those seven great sayings on the cross would not have been uttered. Then his disobedience would at last have been broken and all would have been lost. How much was at stake as they pushed the rim of that cup towards the Saviour’s lips! Everything! All of the divine decree, all of prophecy, all of redemption was at stake as that appealing cup was offered to the Suffering One again and again.
…The Great High Priest, offering the once-for-all sacrifice for sin, must know what he does, must in no way be insensible or inattentive. In this crucial encounter with Satan the Saviour must not be doped, nor must he allow the emphasis to shift from the realm of the spirit to that if the body. The body must serve the spirit, not vice versa. Viewed from every conceivable angle, this was Satan’s cup. His fingermarks were all over it. The fetid stench of his breath clung to it. Christ pushed it away. He spurned it with all his being. He drank only from the Father’s cup and now he hands to each one of his redeemed that precious cup that overflows with the sweet wine of his love, the cup of salvation.
Taken from chapter 11, “Satan’s Cup Refused” (based on Mark 15:23) by Frederick S. Leahy in The Cross He Bore: Meditations on the Sufferings of the Redeemer (Banner of Truth, 1996), pp.64-66.