Wine Mixed with Myrrh

Mark 15:22-24a New International Version (NIV)                                                                                                                              22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”).  23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.  24 And they crucified him.

In my mind’s eye Jesus looked young, healthy, and energetic on Palm Sunday.  His body had the right weight to height ratio and muscle tone.  He appeared physically fit.  I don’t envision a Jesus with gray hair, a slouch, no energy, a pot belly, and wimpy.  

This era used crucifixion for control.  Convicted criminals hanging on crosses in prominent locations served to show Roman strength and keep Jews on the straight and narrow.  It proved highly effective with such concrete demonstrations.    

A typical crucifixion took a couple of days for the criminal to die.  Inflicting pain for the longest duration was the objective.  Oftentimes the Roman soldiers would finish off the victim with a spear through the abdomen and breaking of legs.  

The Scriptures reflect that Jesus’s crucifixion was particularly brutal.  It started around 9 in the morning and ended around 3 in the afternoon–only six hours.  If you agree with my feeling that He was physically fit, this short time span for Him to die as compared to a couple of days for most victims confirms the horrendous treatment that He endured.  The Roman soldiers didn’t have to finish Him off as they typically did others.  

I find Jesus’s refusal of the wine mixed with myrrh interesting.  This potion numbs the nerves and induces sleep.  Think of normal medical practices today of doing the same to help patients through a procedure.  We desire to eliminate as much discomfort as possible.  We want extra numbing and anesthesia!   

Jesus refused!  He wanted to feel the pain, maximize the suffering, sense the complete experience.  It’s remarkable!  His last six hours of life must have been the most excruciating ever experienced by anyone who has ever lived.  Even more remarkable than Jesus’s rejection of the wine mixed with myrrh is that He did it for us!  Because of His sacrifice, we don’t have to suffer!  All He has asked of us is to believe in Him, recognize his Kingship, and make Him our Lord.  It’s a pretty simple choice.  Thank you, Jesus!  

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