The World Cup exalts one team of individuals above all others. The World Cup exalts a nation, feeding that nation’s patriotic self-worship. Surely, it is a lot of fun, especially if yours is the nation exalted. It is glorious to make it to the final 32 teams that enter the World Cup competition. Even more glorious to make it to the final 16, 8, 4, 2, and, ultimately, 1. One team is exalted over all the others, and the triumph is glorious.
There is yet a more glorious cup: the cup of Christ. His is not a cup of self-exaltation, but a cup of humiliation–a cup of death. But the cup of death Christ drank is not a cup of defeat. It is a cup of victory more glorious than the 4-year reign of a World Cup winner. Christ’s victory is eternal, having defeated death and every enemy arrayed against God.
I mention the contrast between the 2 cups because both are on display right now in South Africa. You are familiar with the story of the World Cup. Perhaps you have already enjoyed watching it to the glory of God. At the same time in South Africa, the cup of Christ has been drunk by a Christian pastor named Nico Smith. His story is linked here for you to read. He has drunk the cup of Christ, just as the Apostles did. He sacrificed personally for the victory of Christ over sin and death. His funeral is taking place in South Africa at the same time the World Cup is being played. The world is celebrating one cup, while ignoring the other, but it is the forgotten cup which offers the higher prize.