The Crucifixion – Wine, Part 1

April 12, 2017 – Wednesday
Myrrh
Read: Mark 15:21 – 32
Focus: v. 23

Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.

There are two instances found in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus is offered wine to drink at the Crucifixion. This is the first instance and takes place at the beginning of the Crucifixion itself. It appears that nothing was offered to Jesus during the long night before the Crucifixion took place.  Why now? The soldiers in charge of the crucifixion of these unfortunates were not trying to be humane. Rather, they were endeavoring to make this hateful thing last as long as they could. Apparently to them and others watching, it was likened to a sport. We do know that certain things could be done to hasten the deaths of those being crucified. At the end of this long day for Jesus, and the two criminals, they decided to break their legs so the suffocation would take place faster since they could not support themselves and lift up to breathe when their legs were broken. This hastened their death.  This did take place for the two thieves but not for Jesus as He was already dead when they decided to do this at the request of the Jewish religious leaders. Those leaders did not want those men to be still hanging there when the Sabbath began.

Why give them wine mixed with myrrh? Because the myrrh added to the wine worked as a painkiller so they would last longer on the cross. It was not to be humane but rather so their agony could be dragged out as far as possible. Jesus had already been beaten so badly he could hardly stand and needed help carrying his cross to the place of crucifixion. Crucifixion was a very cruel Roman practice for executions and was well-known throughout the Roman Empire for its excruciating pain. I can well imagine the two thieves gratefully drinking this mixture since they knew what was ahead for them. We are told by Mark, however, that Jesus refused this elixir. Why would He do this? It seems Jesus was determined to drink this cup of bitterness to the full so that no one could say He took the easy road. Jesus bore ALL the pain with none of it deadened by any drug, neither the alcohol nor the myrrh. He bore it all! Jesus didn’t go halfway in any manner for our redemption!

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A Gift that Comes with Scrapes and Dents

12-25

11 “On coming to the house, they (the Magi) saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, and incense, and of myrrh.”

 Have you ever received a gift that you really wanted but just knew you never would get?  Just such a gift was given to me when I was very young.  I grew up on a farm in Oklahoma in the mid to late 1930’s.  Money was tight, but that didn’t prevent a young boy from wanting a special gift.  In the Sears, Roebuck catalog and then in a shop in Ponca City, Oklahoma, I had seen the most wonderful item that I could ever want.  A wonderful “red flyer wagon.”  I knew that there wasn’t money to spend on such a luxurious gift, not even for Christmas, but oh how I wanted that wagon.  I never even dared tell anyone about my desire, but somehow my Daddy found out.  Can you imagine my surprise on Christmas morning when there under that Cedar Christmas tree was my wonderful wagon?  It was not the red Flyer wagon in the catalog, but to me it was the most beautiful wagon in the whole world, never mind it was not “new”.  Daddy had found this wagon, I don’t know where, and it didn’t look like much until he got through with it.  Somewhere he had found four “new” wheels and some bright ride paint and I was the happiest boy in that part of Oklahoma.

In our Scripture for today we read the first recorded account of gifts being presented to Christ after His birth.  There are several facts of this account that we need to be reminded of.  1st. These men had traveled many miles through many difficulties to bring these gifts to Christ.  2nd. These gifts were not “junk”.  They represent the best and finest that was available.  Gold, a costly item taking time and effort to refine; incense, a very scarce commodity; myrrh, a product not commonly used except for burial purposes.  3rd. Even after arriving at what they considered their destination they had to persevere to actually find the object of their search.  These men show us the way we must be willing to follow to bring our gifts to Christ.

On this Christmas Day, as we give and receive gifts from our loved ones, let us give the gift to Christ that will make Him overjoyed.  Don’t worry that you have some scrapes and dents, He can and will take you and make you “brand new.”  Ask Him today to receive the gift of yourself as you commit, or recommit your life to Him.