And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered Him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when He tasted it, He would not drink it. (Matthew 27:33-34)
Read Matthew 27:33, 46-50
The Roman executioners were not complete monsters. Before they nailed Jesus to the cross, they offered Him wine mixed with gall -- a painkiller, probably a bitter-tasting plant like opium poppy. No doubt there was a practical purpose -- it is easier to deal with a human body that is half-stupefied and can't fight very well. But there was mercy there as well.
Jesus refused it.
I am so afraid of pain that my house is stocked with several kinds of pain killers, and I make sure I have them stashed away at work, too. I know what pain is like. But then, so did Jesus. He had just been flogged. How could He bear to say no?
And yet He did. He would not refuse the least bit of the suffering He bore to redeem us all. "Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given Me?" (John 18:11b)
It wasn't just the physical pain. Jesus would keep a clear, unclouded mind to the end -- enduring the horrific pain of being forsaken by the Father as Jesus became sin for us (Psalm 22:1; Mark 15:34). Paul describes why He did it: "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This is how much Jesus loves us. What can we do but love Him back?
THE PRAYER: Help us when we face pain, Lord. You know what it is like -- have mercy on us. Amen.
When is the last time you felt pain, and why?
Do you fear pain? Why or why not?
If you are willing, tell of a time when Jesus helped you deal with pain-emotional or physical.
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