Matthew 27:32 As (the governor’s soldiers and Jesus) went out (to crucify Jesus), they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered (Jesus) wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36 then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37 Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
It hasn’t happened often, but there have been at least two times I can recall in which I was with a person near death, in pain, who refused pain medications. They wanted to be as fully present as they could be in their last moments, rather than anesthetized. We are told here that Jesus was offered wine mixed with “gall” which would dull his pain a bit. It was an act of mercy, yet Jesus refused. I suppose in a similar way, he may have wanted to be fully present in his last moments.
I’m not sure how I might respond to such a situation, but I understand the notion of embracing pain as a part of life, particularly at the end. The older I get the more precious life becomes to me, even the painful parts. I appreciate it more than I did as a younger man, when so much of life was in front of me.
Whatever his motivations, we know that Jesus took on the full penalty for our sin so that we might have life in him. This morning I’m particularly grateful. Thank you Jesus for enduring the cross on our behalf. Amen.