The Crucifixion – Wine, Part 2

April 13, 2017 – Maundy Thursday
Read: Mark 15:33 – 40
Focus: v. 36

One man ran and filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

We enter now into the final verses of Jesus’ life. No longer are we talking about a final chapter. Time is getting very short. Jesus is still on the cross at this point and it follows a very long time of Jesus being awake. Nowhere is there any indication that, from sometime Thursday morning (likely at sunrise near 6:00 AM when He would have risen for a day which included partaking  of a Passover Feast with His disciples and ended with His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane), Jesus had an opportunity to sleep. From then on He was in the hands of the Temple guards and dragged from place to place for His trials and beaten severely. This became so bad that he could not even carry his cross to the place of crucifixion. It is unlikely that all this time after the Passover Feast that Jesus has had anything to eat or drink. We wrote in an earlier devotional that he was offered wine mixed with myrrh to deaden the pain of crucifixion and enable Him to live longer and therefore suffer longer. Jesus, we are told, refused that wine so that He would experience the full impact of His act of redemption on behalf of all mankind.

The crucifixion was at 9:00 AM and in our scripture reading for today it has reached about 3:00 PM. Jesus has been on that cross for six hours of excruciating pain throughout His body. He has suffered from loss of sleep, beatings and the continued bleeding from the crucifixion wounds as well as the wounds from His beatings. All this means tremendous pain. He is thirsty but receives nothing, according to Mark, until after He makes His final cry from the cross: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”  (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) After this, to mock Him, those standing by offer him “sour wine” (nearly vinegar) so they can hear if He says anything else. They thought he was calling to Elijah and wanted to see if Elijah came to take Him from the cross. Did Jesus accept the “sour wine”? Once again He refuses. Why? Because it was His responsibility to bear the full amount of pain and suffering from the crucifixion so that our sins would be paid for in full. He took no shortcuts to accomplish our redemption! Shortly after being offered the “sour wine” Jesus calls out loudly once more and “breathed His last.”

Salvation was now accomplished and Jesus was freed from this earthly life. Never again would He be bound by earthly things but after His resurrection would be free to return to His Father. Twice wine was offered to give some succor to the Savior and twice he refused. No one would be able to say He took any shortcuts to do the work the Father sent Him to do. In this respect also He is our example as believers. Do we take shortcuts while doing the Lord’s bidding?


Day 38 – It Is FINISHED!

Friday – March 18, 2016

Day 38 – John 19:1-30 finished.png

Focus: vs. 30

 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

It is a real feeling of relief that comes over me when I have completed some project or done something that needed to be done and often dreaded doing. This is true if I have built something that I knew my wife wanted and it is true when I have completed a difficult task which I really did not want to do. There is relief that the job is done. Sometimes there is even a joy that comes knowing something hard to deal with has been taken care of satisfactorily. I experienced that when I made the final commitment to become a minister of the Gospel. I have also experienced relief and joy after completing a particularly difficult funeral service. There have been numerous times throughout my life when God has given me joy and peace.

Our focus verse reminds us that Jesus has finished something very difficult. He died on that Cross in the same manner any of us would have died in that situation. It was painful. It was slow. It was difficult. It was God’s will. I would like to call your attention back to verse 28 where we are told, 28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” Jesus knew at this point that the purpose of His going to the cross had been completed. Redemption was now available for all of mankind. His job was done. His purpose for becoming flesh way back at the beginning of John’s Gospel was done once and for all. So now, “It is FINISHED!” was a valid cry from His lips and He could enter the tomb in peace. More than that, I believe there was a great sense of joy and satisfaction in His heart that Satan had been defeated. What would appear to be victory for the enemy of our souls actually became Victory for the heavenly Kingdom.  Jesus is finished and He is victorious. That final declaration of Victory will come in just a short time. But the redemption of mankind was finished by Jesus’ death on our behalf on that cross.

His death on that cross also declared, “Finished!” to your debt and mine because of our sins. They can be forgiven and forgotten because Jesus died on our behalf. Have you received that forgiveness for yourself? If not please ask Jesus to forgive you and find His dwelling place in your heart. For believers, Jesus did a completed work on that cross so act on His sacrifice and stay true to Him.

Prayer Focus: Lord Jesus, I claim forgiveness in Your name for all my sins. Thank You for making me your child. AMEN.