Nehemiah 1:11
O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer.

The Cupbearer For The King?

THE KING  Who Bore The Cup!

 What's a cupbearer? My first answer to that question would probably be someone who bears a cup.   Nehemiah was the king's cupbearer.  As I read this verse, all I knew was that this title must entitle the one who bears the title of cupbearer to some sort of special privileges.  Nehemiah was asking God to grant him mercy and reminding God that he had been the king's cupbearer.

Before I ever looked up the word or tried to study the verse's meaning, my mind wandered back about thirty years ago.  I remembered when I first married I used to fix my husband coffee and carry it to him.  So I guess I was once a cupbearer, not for a king, but a cupbearer.  My own cup bearing didn't last for long.  I soon found that when cups that I bore were full of hot coffee and the hot coffee made it's way to the hand that bore it, it burned. 

I searched for the meaning of cupbearer in the International Bible Encyclopedia and found it had been a very special job.

The Cupbearer was an officer of high rank with Egyptian, Persian, Assyrian, as well as Jewish monarchs. Nehemiah was cupbearer to Artaxerxes, king of Persia. In those days, one of the best ways to dispose of a ruling king was to poison him.  To prevent this, the cupbearer's tasted the wine before the king drank any. If the wine had been poisoned, then the cupbearer would die and the king would be saved.  It was a very admirable, yet risky profession. On account of the constant fear of plots and intrigues, a person must be regarded as thoroughly trustworthy to hold this position.  His confidential relations with the king often endeared him to his sovereign and also gave him a position of great influence.

After I read this explanation, I understood that being a cupbearer entailed a lot more than just bearing the cup and serving it to someone.  The cupbearer had to be ready to lay down his own life for the one he was serving. He had to be prepared to take poison,  to take death.

As I understood more just what Nehemiah's position had been, I thought of Jesus as our cupbearer.  In the garden, He asked God to take this cup from Him.  He was asking if it were possible for God to take this assignment of death from Him.  Jesus did go through with God's will and He bore our cup of death.  He laid down his life for us. 

Jesus fulfilled the job of cupbearer perfectly, He even took poison in his mouth that a sponge was soaked in from a vessel ( perhaps a cup).

John 19:29

Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

The next time you serve someone a cup of coffee, ask yourself if you were put in the position of having to be prepared to drink from the cup that could possibly lead to your own death, would you drink? 

Jesus did a marvelous thing for us. 

He was THE KING,  yet he was our cupbearer.

What a privilege it is to be able to thank Him for what He did.

Thank you, King Jesus, for bearing my cup