November 3

Text: Matthew 27:47-49

And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, "This man is calling for Elijah."  And immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink.  But the rest of them said, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him."  (NASB)

This incident is the only act of kindness that the gospel of Matthew records being extended to Jesus in the ordeal of his death.  The person extending the kindness was not identified—whether a soldier, one in the parade of abusers, or one of the curiosity onlookers.  Evidently, the person thought Jesus’ cry was that of a dying man who thirsted.

This does not seem to be an attempt to further abuse Jesus.  What was offered him seems to have been something to quench thirst.  The things involved in crucifying a man required work (remember there were three men).  The Roman soldiers likely had a thirst-quencher near the site of crucifixion.

Much is assumed in Jesus’ cry.  The volume, Jesus’ projection, his amount of physical strength at that point, and the noise level are all assumed.  The people were not listening for an utterance!  Some hearing at least part of the cry thought he was asking Elijah to come to his aid.

None of the abusers questioned his power in life.  They questioned Jesus’ ability to help himself  in death.  Such questions piqued the curiosity of some.  These curious ones wished to see if there would be any divine intervention from Elijah (or any other figure) to aid this dying man.  Their attitude was, “Let’s see what happens!”  It was curiosity that motivated them, not faith.

The question needs to be asked today, “What motivates people’s interest in Jesus?  Is it faith in the resurrected man, or something else?”  In a “Christian” social environment it is easy to find a reason to be a “Christian.”  Just a few reasons are business, heritage, “fitting in,” as well as belief in the person.

Suggestion for reflection: What motivates your interest in Jesus?  (Read John 20:26-31.)
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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell