Nothing quenches my thirst quite like lemonade. I remember being dressed in my Sunday's best and running around the yard, searching for Easter Eggs. I would fill my basket to the brim with candy and smile at the rewards of my labor. After all that running, I would work up a mean thirst. So I would go on a hunt. A hunt, not for candy, but for lemonade. I wanted my candy but I wanted to satisfy my thirst even more. There's just something about the perfect combination of sweet, sour, cool and refreshing that hits the spot. If you ever want to know the way to my heart, it's lemonade. As I grow up, lemonade still plays a role in my Easter traditions, but in a little different way. Now on Easter, it reminds me of Jesus' thoughts on the cross.
Jesus was offered something to drink two times while enduring the cross. The first time He refused but, the second time, on the cross, He was inclined.
Mark 15:23 mentions the first time and says, “they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.” William Lane explains that, "According to an old tradition, respected women of Jerusalem provided a narcotic drink to those condemned to death in order to decrease their sensitivity to the excruciating pain . . . . Jesus refused it, choosing to endure with full consciousness the sufferings appointed for him" (The Gospel of Mark, p. 564).
I'm sure that amidst the pain and torment Jesus' lips were chapped and his throat was dry. He was thirsty! He could have easily taken the wine to ease his pain and quench his thirst. But Jesus refused, and in doing so, chose to stay thirsty “to endure with full consciousness the sufferings appointed for him.”
The second time is in verse 36. Lane comments that, "...A sour wine vinegar is mentioned in the OT as a refreshing drink (Numbers 6:13; Ruth 2:14), and in Greek and Roman literature as well it is a common beverage appreciated by laborers and soldiers because it relieved thirst more effectively than water and was inexpensive . . .The thought, then, is not of a corrosive vinegar offered as a cruel jest, but of a sour wine of the people. While the words 'let us see if Elijah will come' express a doubtful expectation, the offer of the sip of wine was intended to keep Jesus conscious for as long as possible” (Ibid., 573–574).
So the first thirst quenching drink was offered to dull Jesus’ pain and to keep him from having to endure the cross with full consciousness. And the second was offered to keep him “conscious for as long as possible,” and have the effect of prolonging his pain. Jesus stayed thirsty for our benefit! He suffered and prolonged the full consciousness of the cross because of the full consciousness of our sin.
Jesus stayed thirsty, so we could thirst for Him.
Now on Easter, I still drink my perfect combination of sweet, sour, cool and refreshing to quench my thirst. But I am truly reminded of the prefect combination of God and man that stayed thirsty for me.
Elvis Peacock is the Northeast Youth Minister and has a passion for showing others the joy of knowing the Lord.