Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Scene From The Cross

"I Am Thirsty" (John 19:28) Jesus is a man, He is still human, and He was thirsty. So He announces it, I Am Thirsty and a Roman Guard lifts a Vinegar Soaked Sponge up to His lips. I have always read that and thought to myself that was an act of kindness and mercy in the midst of some horrific stuff, but I was reading a commentator that brought a very interesting perspective to all of this. He said these were the same Romans who just tortured Him and Crucified Him in such a way that He wouldn't die quickly, but His death would linger out for a significant period of time. It's not like these individuals are going to have a change of heart and say "Oh your thirsty, you want a little drink?" He said more than likely what was happening was this. In the ancient world, when it came to public restrooms, they didn't have stalls like we do today where you went in the private. You basically just kind of lined up outside the areas where people would go to the bathroom, and when they were done there were areas where you could dip you hands in water, to sort of clean yourself. Slaves realized that they could take a sponge, dip it in water, put it on a stick, and they could make a few cents by cleaning up for you after you were done. So that could have been what was happening. More than likely what was going on at the crucifixion was this. They took a sponge that had been used basically as toilet paper, and the way they would clean these sponges, is that they would put vinegar on them, so the sponge could remain usable longer, they would hold it up and it was basically like holding toilet paper up to his mouth. In fact when you look at the original language in Mathew 27:48, the tenses used basically show that this attempt to quote "give Him a drink," was either unsuccessful, or it was repeated again and again. So here is Jesus in this incredibly vulnerable moment, who thirsts, and more than likely what's happening, they are sticking toilet paper up in His mouth. And Jesus thirsted, so that we wouldn't have to. He suffered and struggled so that we could be forgiven.