Thursday, March 13, 2014

Here for the Show

A excerpt from a post by Jonathan Parnell at Desiring God. Find the post in its entirety here.

So we know overall, because of the Psalms and how it plays out in the other Gospels, this sour wine is a bad move. It is yet another sting in the excruciating cross of our Savior. And I think Mark, in particular, shows us how. Theologically, we can understand it’s heinous role in the mockery, in the Messiah’s suffering, but then Mark brings us down to the ground of Golgotha. Again, the details are important.

According to Mark’s account, there is more rationale for why the bystander, after mistaking Jesus to be calling for Elijah, offers him the sour wine. We see it in his words. He offers the sponge to Jesus and says, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come take him down” (Mark 15:36). Wait, he says. Wait. Jesus is nearing his final breath, as the next verse says, “he breathed his last” (verse 37). And this bystander says to wait.
Wait, in other words, let’s not let him die yet. Let’s help him hang on a little longer to see if Elijah might really come.

We don’t know exactly what this bystander had seen. Presumably he had at least heard that Jesus worked wonders. Thousands had eaten when there wasn’t any food. Real people who once could not walk, or see, now could. Whether witnessed or heard, this bystander knew the dying man on the tree had a reputation for the miraculous. And here, in the intensity of Jesus’s passion, just before he breathed his last, the bystander wanted to squeeze him just one more time for some good glitz. He didn’t really think Elijah would come, but maybe. Jesus had done some amazing things. But now, the bystander didn’t really hope for his rescue, he wanted his dazzle. He didn’t want a suffering Savior, he wanted a spectacular stunt. He didn’t want Jesus, he wanted his show.
And so did we.

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