Tuesday, March 1, 2016


"There they offered Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not take it" Mark 15:23

After hours of brutal punishment, culminating with crucifixion, Jesus was near death. Offered what amounted to a sedative meant to ease suffering, He refused it.

Why? What harm could it have done? The final outcome would have remained the same, just a little less painful. Jesus never acted without purpose so what was He trying to teach us here?

Earlier that evening in the Upper Room, Jesus shared communion with his disciples. The bread was His body and the wine was His blood. According to Leviticus 17:11, life is in the blood.

In the bible, myrrh symbolizes death. Added to the wine the combination of the two would result in a dilution of life. Jesus declared His reason for coming was:

"The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy, I have come that they may have life and have it to the full" John 10:10.

Jesus didn't offer or participate in any form of a watered-down version of life.

Pressures bear down on us and tempt us to look for escapes, if not totally, than at least for short term respites. Is that so bad when they don't impact the final outcome? Maybe yes, maybe no.

I am by no means discounting the use of any properly prescribed medications to relieve pain. Self-induced altered states, however, can end badly. Anesthetizing suffering away increases the temptation to check out again and again. If the situation cannot be changed then the pain of the process can at least be dulled.

Altered states impair one's ability to make sound judgments. In that condition it's easier to make one's life worse, not better. The inability to think and reason coherently can cause one to miss possible solutions, prolonging and increasing the agony.

In the midst of a horrific situation, Jesus elected to stay in the now. Refusing to self-medicate He had the presence of mind to entrust His mother to the care of His closest friend John, genuinely forgive His persecutors, and offer an assurance salvation to a repentant thief.

How about you? Are you under relentless pressure that has you desperate for relief? What avenues of escape lure you to disengage, even just temporarily? If these options won't change or improve your situation, are they as harmless as they appear? Would a temporary fix be worth missing a real, permanent solution?

1 comment: