Q. In Matt. 20:22-23 Jesus asked if James and John could drink the cup that He was to drink. In 1 Cor. 10:16 Paul referred to participation in the Lord’s death as our cup of blessing, and in verse 21 accused the Corinthians of trying to drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. How does this tie to Exodus 6:6-7?
A. The Lord’s death was the ultimate fulfillment of all 4 of the promises God made to Moses in Exodus 6:6-7, that He would sanctify us, that He would free us from slavery, that He would redeem us, and that He would accept us as His people and be our God. These promises are represented by the 4 Cups of the Passover celebration, Sanctification, Blessing, Redemption, and Acceptance.
In Matt. 20:22 Jesus was in effect asking James and John if they were able to give their lives to redeem mankind. He used the then popular concept of “drinking the cup” to symbolize His commitment to give His life, just as He did in the Garden while praying on the night He was betrayed. “My Father if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” (Matt. 26:39) I don’t believe He necessarily had the Passover Cups in mind here.
Paul’s reference in 1 Cor 10:16 is to the 2nd cup of the Passover, the cup of blessing, representing God’s 2nd promise of Exodus 6, that He would free His people from slavery. The blood of Jesus freed us from slavery to sin. But I don’t think Paul was referring to the communion cup there, because I, like many others, believe that the communion cup is the 3rd cup of Passover, the Cup of Redemption.
In verse 21 the cup of the Lord is the Communion Cup, which the Corinthians were defiling by their drunkenness and debauchery at communion celebrations. In effect they were celebrating in a manner reminiscent of feasts to the pagan gods, turning the Communion Cup into a cup of demons.