[Listen to the sound file while you read — two inches to the right of this line on this page, marked “Aubre’s Gift”
Preparing Our Hearts for Good Friday and Easter
The Savior Tastes Bitter Wine.
Adapted from the accounts of
Ps 69; Mt 27:48; Mk 15:35-36; Jn 19:28-30
And some of the bystanders hearing it said,
“Behold, he is calling Elijah.”
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture),
And immediately, one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a hyssop reed and held it to His mouth to give Him a drink, saying . . .
“Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” [for the Scripture says]
REPROACHES HAVE BROKEN MY HEART, SO THAT I AM IN DESPAIR.
I LOOKED FOR PITY, BUT THERE WAS NONE,
AND FOR COMFORTERS, BUT I FOUND NONE.
THEY GAVE ME POISON FOR FOOD, AND FOR MY THIRST
THEY GAVE ME SOUR WINE TO DRINK.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said,
“It is finished.”
Death is not far away now. It is a given that the condemned will die, and the soldiers are more relaxed knowing that there will be no attempt to save the dying men hanging above them. Now the curious bystanders draw closer.
And the mocking continues.
When Jesus cries out that He thirsts, someone in the crowd, as a cruel joke but in fulfillment of Scripture, offers Him sour wine.
The cruelty of offering a thirsty and dying man sour wine is hard to imagine. Then again, maybe it isn’t.
I remember going to the movie The Elephant Man. I was appalled by the cruelty people inflicted upon a fellow human being.
Then a strange thing happened. As I continued to watch I began to feel more and more uncomfortable. I could remember times when I had been similarly cruel, harsh and insensitive myself.
And then I understood the appropriateness of the silence that fell upon the theatre as the crowd exited the movie—they had experienced it too—the inescapable feeling of guilt.
We had all been stunned into silence by the evil we had seen and now saw in ourselves. Was the crowd silent at the Savior’s death?
“Compassionate and gracious Lord,
my own cruel, harsh comments
and insensitive behavior
leave me no room to feel self-righteous.
I need Your forgiveness like a desert needs rain.
Thank You for the cup You drank on my behalf.
Help me to drink the cup
that You choose for me.
Because Your name is worthy, Amen.”
An excerpt from Experience the Passion of Christ by Marty Schoenleber, Jr.