Sour Wine

Sour wine mingled with gall

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Sour Wine

John 19:28-30 (C) Sour Wine

What does the passage say Jesus drank just before giving up His spirit?
"Sour wine from a sponge on hyssop": "Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He delivered up His spirit." (John 19:29-30)

Didn't Jesus refuse to drink sour wine just a bit earlier?
Yes, "And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink." (Matthew 27:33-34)

Why did Jesus drink the latter sour wine but not the former?
He refused the former sour wine because it contained "gall," that was intended as a crude anesthetic for the holes they were about to drive through His wrists and feet. The fact that He drank the latter - "sour wine" without the gall - may have had more to do with the hyssop on which it was offered than the wine itself. The usage of this plant is mentioned ten other times in the Bible (Exodus 12:22, Leviticus 14:4,6,49,51,52, Numbers 19:6,18, Psalm 51:7 and Hebrews 9:19). Nine of the ten mentions are in the context of an innocent substitute being sacrificed and/or cleansing from impurity. Here is the other (the first) mention of hyssop in the Bible: "Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you." (Exodus 12:21-23). In words, deeds and symbolisms, Jesus made it clear that His sacrificial death cleanses us of our sins so that we may be spared the wrath of God against sinners.

How high was Jesus up on a cross?
A hyssop is no more than 18 inches (45 centimeters) long and an outstretched arm would add another 20 inches (51 centimeters) or so, so Jesus was only about 3 feet or 1 meter above the ground, and this was typical of Roman crucifixions, as the close proximity of the crucified victim to the passersby was intended to maximize their fear of Rome and breaking Roman law.

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