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 drink.
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 you choose?
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. Amen. Hallelujah!
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.
CFD | January 2020
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