Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vinegar at the Crucifixion ... Adding My Two Cents' Worth

Most of you will think, "What the?" about this topic.

However, those of us who cruise by The Anchoress's cell at least once a day will have seen her thoughts on why Jesus was given vinegar at the crucifixion, sparked by an article by balsamic vinegar. Comments were vigorous and interesting.

It sparked my own memory of past study that I remember connecting it to Passover and the sacrificial lamb. I didn't have a chance to check it out until this morning. You may know a lot of this already but I thought I'd pass it on anyway because I wanted to mention the significance of the hyssop branch.

Ok, the vinegar and gall was "sour wine" mixed with a narcotic that has been mentioned at The Anchoress's. Every single resource I checked (and I checked seven) said this was common practice for crucifixion victims because the gall was a narcotic to dull pain ... and that Christ rejected it because he was offering it ALL to the Father for us. Talk about humbling.

The sponge. How else were they going to administer the vinegar and gall on a regular basis to men who were high above their heads? This was the point of having the sponge on hand say source or two.

Now, in The Ignatius Study Bible, Book of John, by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch ... here is the part that I thought was, well, though I hate to use the word, "Awesome!

The Scripture, John 19:28-29:
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst." A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. when Jesus had received the vinegar; he said, "It is finished"' and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
The study notes:
19:28 I thirst: Recalls Ps 22:15 and Ps 69:21. [These would be the Scriptures being fulfilled.]

19:29 vinegar: Sour wine. This was not the narcotic drink that Jesus earlier refused (Mk 15:23) [My comment here: another reference specializing in ancient culture says that this is what the Romans themselves drank. The soldiers were offering him some of their own wine possibly.]

The use of hyssop to lift the sponge to Jesus suggests a connection with the original Passover, when the Israelites used hyssop branches to smear blood on their doorposts as a mark of divine protection (Ex. 12:21-23).
Yet another study points out that the Greek word used for Jesus' pronouncement, "It is finished." is one that victors used to indicate final triumph.

SO, Jesus did not choose to give up his spirit until he had made that final connection with the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb. Which would be why John included that detail. AWESOME. In the true meaning of the word.

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