The four cups of Passover are an integral part of the Passover celebration. They stand for each of the four promises the Lord makes to His people in Exodus 6:6-7.
“I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
These days, no one likes to talk about the judgment of the Lord. Yet, even in the story of Passover itself, the children of Israel could not rest on their status as Israelites. They had to respond to the method that God chose, the slaying of the Passover lamb, to be spared from the 10th plague of the slaying of the firstborn.
“I will rescue you from their bondage.”
During Passover, we remember how God brought the children of Israel out from slavery and made them into a great nation with a name and a great purpose. Israel always had a purpose and calling—to be light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6 | Isaiah 49:6 | Acts 13:47) and to bring Messiah Jesus into the world! Without the Jewish people, without Passover, we would not have the Messiah—what a humbling thought.
“I will redeem you with an outstretched arm.”
The Cup of Redemption traditionally signifies the slaying of the Passover lamb and is consumed after the Passover meal as it signifies the completion and the saving outcome of sacrifice.
“I will take you as My people.”
The 4th cup of the Seder is the Cup of Praise. It is drunk with singing and rejoicing that Israel was made into a nation at Sinai. The leader of the Passover meal (Seder), announces that ‘The Lord has remembered us’.
The ministry of Messiah speaks to each of these four promises:
Messiah sanctifies us – “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth” (John 17:19).
When drinking the cup of sanctification, we remember God bringing Israel out of slavery and the miracle that the Messiah came through the line of David. We also earnestly pray for the many Jewish people who are still in spiritual slavery, who have yet to embrace Jesus, their very own Messiah.
Messiah delivers us – “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
It is a biblical truth that all people, both Jew and Gentile, are under God’s judgment unless they accept salvation, that is, substitutionary atonement, through Jesus the Messiah (Romans 5:9 | 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 | John 14:6).
In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father but through me.”
Let us have a sense of urgency as we share with our Jewish friends and family, knowing that just as the children of Israel escaped Egypt in haste, so is our time on earth fleeting – each moment is precious.
Messiah redeems us – “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
It is so very poignant when Jesus tells His disciples that the wine in this cup is “My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” As the blood of the Passover Lamb covered the believing Israelites and Egyptians back in Egypt, so the blood of Jesus covers Jewish and Gentile believers today!
Messiah is our joy – “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).
Through His sacrifice and atonement, Jesus has drafted Gentile believers into His nation, Israel. We are united in receiving God’s grace and salvation. It is in this way that we who were once not a people before God, are so (1 Peter 2:10)!