Last week, two Spanish historians claimed to have discovered the Holy Grail– a cup which Jesus supposedly drank from at the Last Supper.
Now, I’m very skeptical of this claim—but not for the reason a lot of other people are. Most skeptics, are skeptics because they believe the cup in question is far too eloquent for Jesus. Because Jesus was an economically strapped carpenter’s son. This belief was made famous in one of my favorite movies, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.
But is it true? Would Jesus have only used a cup that was unadorned and ordinary?
I obviously can’t say for sure, but let me give you a couple of reasons I think it was possible that Jesus could have drank from a very ornate challis.
Jesus may have been the son of a carpenter, but he had wealthy friends.
There was the disciple Matthew, a former tax collector, who hosted Jesus at a lavish party. There was Zacchaeus a chief tax collector, who after believing in Jesus gave away enormous amounts of wealth. There was the women who poured expensive perfume over Jesus. And there was Joseph of Arimathea, who used his wealth to provide the tomb for Jesus. Jesus was comfortable with people from every social and economic background. And although he often preached about the abuses and misuse of wealth, he had no problem rubbing shoulders with people using their wealth to bring honor to God.
Jesus did not use his own resources for the Last Supper, someone else did.
Matthew 26:18-19 tells us,
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
Jesus celebrated the Last Supper at the house of someone else. The house of a man that respected Jesus enough to call him “Teacher”. Given Jesus’ other associates, it is quite possible this man was wealthy. And if this “man” was wealthy, it is easy to imagine Jesus drinking and eating with his disciples from ornate dinnerware.
I have been blessed by the generosity of wealthy Christians enough to know that when they provide for you, they do so, not with your standard of living in mind, but with theirs. In others words generous believers are generous with their stuff. They love to share. The generous people I know, would have no problem letting a “carpenter’s son” use their fine china– especially if they knew that carpenter’s son was also the Son of God.
Did Jesus drink from an elegant, and very expensive cup at the Last Supper? Maybe, maybe not. But if he didn’t it wasn’t because he was a carpenter’s son.
When God pours out his grace and provides for a person’s needs, he doesn’t do so based on where a person came from, or their current social-economic status. No God pours out his lavish grace and provisions, based on who he is, and his social and economic status. If Jesus had wealthy friends who loved God and reflected the character of God, we would expect them to treat others the same way God had treated them. We would expect them, to use their wealth to bring God’s grace and abundance to others.
If the discovering by the historians is authenticated and it turns out Jesus did in fact drink from a lavish cup. It will only serve as a beautiful picture of God’s lavish grace. Jesus as the “poor man” was allowed to drink from a cup he did not pay for, just as we who are poor are allowed to drink from the cup of salvation we did not pay for.
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:27-28)
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— (Ephesians 2:6-8)