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April 7 – Cross purposes

“And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink.” – Matthew 27:48 

Scripture reading: Matthew 27:45-56

Given the torture He has already endured, and the intensity of the scorching sun, it’s unsurprising that Jesus was parched on the cross. When offered sour wine, Jesus understandably accepts it (especially clear from John’s Gospel).

It’s a fascinating development. Earlier when Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh, He declined (v.34) because the drink was a sedative. Jesus did not want His senses dulled or His pain mitigated. When He was offered a second drink, a thirst-quencher, He accepted it. As His final demise approaches, He wants to be invigorated, not sedated.

Jesus’ refusal of the first drink and His acceptance of the second demonstrate the same thing: Every aspect of His sacrifice on the cross is voluntary. Enervation must not put Jesus to death. Exhaustion must not spoil anything. Jesus wants to enter death with perfect sensitivity. Invigorated by the wine vinegar, He can complete His sacrifice by yielding His spirit to His father.

It is true that at the cross the Father is imposing a punishment on the Son. It is equally true that the Son willingly absorbs such punishment. The Father and the Son, however, are not at cross purposes. The plan of redemption is a Trinitarian plan, and the love of God for sinners is a Trinitarian love.

Do you want to know what the love of God is like? Look at the cross. At Christmas we celebrate that God came into the world. On Good Friday we celebrate that He suffered and died for us.

Suggestions for prayer

Confess your sins today, and praise Jesus for His commitment to offer the sacrifice that atoned for them.

Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at  

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