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Cup in the Bible is a symbol of life in a positive or negative sense. In the positive sense, a cup could mean whatever God fills in one’s life (Ps 11:6; 16:5), or the blessings of life that God provides (Ps 23:5), or a thank-offering from man to God (Ex 29:40, Ps 116:13).

The ‘drinking cup’ has special meaning in the Bible. Just like many people have their special cup at home for regular use, some Biblical characters had the same. Pharaoh had his own cup and a personal cupbearer. Joseph, the second in command of Pharaoh, had a silver cup, and he used it to play a trick on his brothers. As for Jesus, he used the term ‘cup’ in a spiritual sense to signify his passion, death, and resurrection.

Cup also signified the wine that it contained because the cup was to hold the wine in it. So, when Jesus said, “Can you drink the cup?” the meaning was, could they drink its contents? Sharing one cup of wine between the groom and bride was a Hebrew custom in betrothal ceremonies. When the groom offered the wine and bride drank from it, she was agreeing to share all the joys and hardships of his life. Jesus was asking them whether they were ready to share in his sufferings.

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