October 27

Text: Matthew 27:33, 34

And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, they gave Him wine to drink mingled with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.  (NASB)

For execution, they took Jesus to the killing place.  How depressing!  The man who had focused his ministry on giving people life and teaching people how to live would be forced to die in the place that still is the symbol of deathóthe skull.  How ironic!  From Jesusí death would spring life from God in a form that humans had not known since sin entered Godís creation.  The issue: Would people understand what a gift God through Jesusí death was providing humanity?

Jesus wished to experience the full anguish suffered as the result of evilís injection into a godly creation.  The possibility of humans being righteous, pure, and holy in Godís presence did not come cheaply.  The price cannot be visualized or appreciated until the situationís injustice is recognized.  Many have unselfishly given their lives.  It is the situationís injustice that is beyond human approximation.

The concoction offered to Jesus to drink often was given to victims (in some form) to make the initial ordeal of the crucifixion manageable.  Perhaps this was not a compassionate act, but an act to prevent the victim from dying too quickly.  Extended suffering through a slow death was typically the goal of a crucifixionóit seems unlikely that this drink would have as its purpose continual decreased suffering.

Whatever the objective, Jesus refused the drink.  Though he thirsted during the ordeal, he refused to drink when he realized what the drink was.  Perhaps as sin was painfully forced on Godís good creation (see Genesis 1:31), crucifixion in its full pain was forced on Jesus.  Too few ever consider the suffering the sin of the first rebellion forced on God.

Suggestion for reflection: Does your life bring God joy or sorrow?  (Read Romans 8:18-25 with 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.

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