Posted by: pmarkrobb | April 8, 2020

the facet of His purposed no

The thing about stories and even accounts of actual events with third-person tellers is that they are extraordinarily heavy on the who, what, when and how but mostly skinny on the why. At least, as it relates to the subject’s own thoughts and intentions. I strongly believe this is where scripture presents both a great challenge and a great opportunity. One must do more than read to know the mind of God. We must invest in relationship with Him to have the eyes to see and ears to hear. We must ask and then listen. This does not mean that it’s too hard and only some can do it. That is one of the great lies our great enemy uses to keep us distant from God and immature in our faith. And it does not put the good Book at great risk of being like any other on the shelf that can be taken as truth in as many ways as there are readers. It doesn’t, because the way to a greater knowing of God through His Word is not dependent on our own abilities to learn or discern. It is only and always about dying to our own trying and asking for His help. God does not ever ask us to be more. He desperately wants us to become less so He can be and do more in and through us. If you belong to Him, you already have everything you need to grow and know Him more through reading the Bible … because you have Him. And what does that practically mean? Pray before you read, “Father, you have given me Your Word, not so I can find someone to teach it to me, but because You yourself want to speak to me through it. I want to know You through it. Please help it make sense to me.”

“Okay, wait a minute” you might be thinking. “Is this a PSA or lecture on me reading my Bible? Is this a big old bait and switch? I’m expecting a facet. Where is the facet?”

So, maybe I crawled a little farther down the rabbit hole than I was intending to, but I’m trusting God for the purpose in it. Here’s where I was headed when I began by mentioning an inherent challenge in stories with third-person tellers. I was drawn to an encounter shortly after Jesus arrived at the place where He would be crucified, when He refused a drink offered to Him. I have come to believe something about it, and specifically about Jesus’ motivation in it. But nothing is noted in scripture as to His own reason(s) for the refusal. This is what we know:

And they brought him to the place called Gol′gotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mingled with myrrh; but he did not take it.
Mark 15:22-23 (RSV)

His body was bloody and battered. His face unrecognizable in form and feature.  Stripped of his clothing, our dear, sweet Savior was laid out on his back, arms outstretched, head and hands resting on the old rugged crossbeam. The nails would come next, but just before they do, someone rushes to offer Jesus a drink of wine mingled with myrrh. We don’t know who offered it, but we do know it was a concoction familiar to a soldier. The ingredients created a fairly potent narcotic that soldiers would use to deaden their discomforts during deployments.  Someone is showing empathy for the suffering Savior.

Jesus refuses.

Why?

Noting clearly that the Bible does not say, so we do not know for certain, I would like to suggest what I have come to believe. The offer of drink was made to medicate Jesus’ pain. Whether out of pity or sympathy, the intent was to dull His experience of what had been done and what was yet to come. Jesus sweat blood in the garden, asking God to “take this cup from me.” However, He quickly surrendered His own will, knowing that the Father had our best and His best in that cup.

In paying sin’s price and penalty, Jesus accepted no dulling or debt relief. He drank every drop of the cup the Father prescribed and poured. He rejected none of the dull aches of accusation, mocking or betrayal or sharp pains of the whip, crown, nails or sword. He could not accept mitigation, and He refused medication to bear the full weight of my sins and yours in His own body. Doing anything less would have left some measure of the debt unpaid. It was the Father’s cup filled all the way to the top and his Son drinking to the very last drop.

Jesus paid it all.
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain.
He washed it white as snow.

These words from an old hymn tell the most terrible and terrific truth. Jesus had to die. It was the only way. He refused no amount of suffering in order to pay our debt in full. This is the brilliant facet of His beautiful no.


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