By Not Known

Last Sunday I preached from Mark 14.1-11 entitled “A Beautiful Thing”.  The passage was about how Mary anointed Jesus with very expensive perfume. As I explained how Mary showed care for Jesus in a lavish way, I cited several passages which showed Jesus being affirmed/cared for among which was Mk 15:36: when Jesus was on the cross, a man (not the soldiers) filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick and offered it to Jesus (wine vinegar was a cheap, sour wine used by labourers and soldiers).

Some enquired after the service if this incident could be called a caring act. There are in fact 2 passages where Jesus was offered something to drink.  The first was by the solders, just before his crucifixion, the second by a man from “some of those standing near” the cross.
Mk 15:22-24, They (the soldiers) brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull).  Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.  And they crucified him.  The NIV Study Bible explains that myrrh is a spice which was sometimes mixed with wine to relieve pain, in other words a sedative.  This was refused by Jesus because He had to be fully conscious until his death to experience the full extent of sin-bearing and suffering for our sakes.

Mk 15:36 (the verse I quoted) says one man ran, filled the sponge with vinegar, put it on a stick and offered it to Jesus.  There is no negative intent indicated, so we can assume a sense of pity and a desire to alleviate Jesus’ suffering.

Interestingly more details are found in Jn 19:28-30, where we are told that “Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar of wine vinegar was there so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.  When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”  Here we are told Jesus expresses his thirst, and the soldiers respond by offering wine vinegar (which can be interpreted as a final, compassionate act just before He died).

So in retrospect, Jn 19:28-30 was another passage which could have been included in my list of “loving actions towards Jesus” even though it came from the soldiers who crucified him.  Isn’t it comforting to know Jesus received some compassion even as He hung on the Cross for our sakes?

On another sermon application point, here are some consequences of showing love for our Lord today:
i)    Jn 14:15 – If you love me, you will OBEY what I command
ii)    Jn 14:21 – He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.
iii)    I Jn 5:21 – Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
iv)    Eph 5:2 – Live a life of love as Christ has loved us..
v)    I Jn 3:16 – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

May this be our focus as we approach Easter.