Matthew 27:32 – 34 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.
Have you ever seen those pictures of Jesus that portray Him as a skinny, wimpy Mama’s boy type? Well, if anything disproves that image, this passage does. Jesus had a crown of long, painful thorns thrust into his head. He was beaten with a cat-of-nine-tails, a whip with nine strips of leather, each strip imbedded with nails. As it tore into his flesh, he was left not just bleeding, but raw. Then, they made him carry a cross that weighed an estimated 80 to 110 pounds, uphill, for 650 yards. That is more than five football fields in length! Only on the last part of the journey did they even get someone to help him. Simon the Cyrene carried the back, and Jesus continued to carry the front.
Finally, when he got to the place where he would be crucified, they showed a little compassion. They offered him wine mixed with gall.
Gall was a bitter poison of bile, and I’m sure it tasted pretty nasty. But the poison was deadly, and would have caused Jesus to lose full consciousness. It would have dulled the pain. It would have killed him a lot quicker than the cross did.
Jesus was no dummy. He knew what they were giving him, and he knew it could have made this torture come to an end a lot sooner.
I would have drunk the stuff.
But not Jesus. He was there to pay the price for our sin, and by golly, He was going to pay the full price! No cheating. No shortcuts. He was determined to endure all that needed to be endured, for our sakes.
After all, He didn’t want there to be any question, later. He didn’t want Satan to say, “No, His death doesn’t count. He was supposed to die of crucifixion. Instead, he drank poison. Technically, He committed suicide!”
If that had happened, where would we be? I don’t even want to think about it.
Jesus paid the full price, suffered the full amount of pain for me. And it makes me think . . .
So often, I’m tempted to take short cuts. To cheat a little. I want to take the easy way, instead of living a completely holy, completely sold-out life for Him.
But in light of what He did for me, that’s just lame. I want to be like Jesus. If I’m going to do this, I need to do it right.
I am reminded of Romans 12:1 – 2. Here is my own paraphrase, a mixture of several translations, in a way that makes sense to me:
I urge you, brothers and sisters, in light of what God did for you, to present your bodies – your entire lives – as a living sacrifice to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by filling your mind with the things of God, that you may be living proof of what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
He fully died for me. Now, I must fully live for Him.
Dear Jesus, Thank You for paying the full price for my sins. I want to completely live my life for You.