Matt 27:33-34 And when they had come to a place called
Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him
wine to drink mingled with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to
Mark 15:23 And they tried to give Him wine mixed with
myrrh; but He did not take it.
Jesus had been without food or water for possibly more than 12 hours at this
point. If you could take away the horrible beatings He had suffered and the
fact that He had a railroad spike through each wrist and one through both
feet, he would still be dehydrated and very hungry. At a moment when anything
wet would have been a welcome relief to His throat, Jesus refuses the wine
that is finally offered to Him. It is laced with gall.
The gall would have been the first thing that might have been construed as
kindness toward Jesus by the Romans. It would deaden some of the pain, especially
mixed with the cheap wine. The alcohol would also have sped up the dehydration
process, and therefore death.
Jesus makes a point of tasting the mixture and spitting it out. Why does
He do this? As omniscient God, He would have know about the gall. But we
would not. And so, the point is emphasized for our benefit. He would go into
this with His facilities intact. When I think about what that meant, it sends
a shudder through me.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks if 'this cup' could pass Him to allow
it. The answer from the Father is that the cup must be drained to the dregs.
This is the cup that Jesus drank. It was far more deadly than the vinegar
and gall. What was in this figurative cup? Sin. For Jesus, who had never
known sin Himself, would take upon Himself every lie, theft, lustful thought,
murder, envy, rape, beating and more - every jot and tittle (Matt 5:18)
of the evil of all humanity. When it is said that He stood in our place and
paid for our sins, He knew them and internalized them first. Every mark against
the Law from the time of Cain's murder of Abel up to the final seconds of
human history somewhere in the future was in the cup that Jesus did not refuse.
This cup was foretold centuries before.
Ps 69:20-21 Reproach has broken my heart, and I am so
sick. And I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters,
but I found none. 21 They also gave me gall for my food, and for
my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
There is irony here. The sin of the Council, and the sin of Judas was in
that cup too. Those sins were being paid for as well. All sin, not just the
ones that might somehow deserve to be paid, were there. But truly it was
just as much my sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. And my sin that floated
in the mixture in the cup of God's wrath that Jesus drank. The Master drank
it knowing the price, and for whom that price was being paid.
The Law given to Moses had to be satisfied. It was the ordinance set in place
between God and the people. The price of sin is death - not physical death
necessarily, but spiritual death. The mystery is that Jesus, being sinless
Himself, was able to take on our sin and destroy it and the power it held
over us. The ordinance was satisfied. While humanity is still stung by the
price of sin, Jesus has paid the price. He stands offering us His spiritual
life in exchange for our broken lives. If we will swallow a little pride
and reach out and take it, that new life is free. There is only one string.
The gratitude and freedom you will enjoy will probably make you grateful
enough to want to learn more about this Savior and spend time with Him. He
has drained the cup so that we could chose between the two lives. Which will
Lord Jesus, Give us a glimpse of the price that You freely paid for us,
in our place. I know we will only be shown what we can bear - a little at
a time through eternity. Knowing that the physical agony was hardly the half
of your suffering is the beginning of understanding the depth of that price.
Thank You for Your willingness to go through that with your eyes wide open
so that no one could say something was missed. The price was paid in full.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.
CFD | May 1998
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