Matthew 27:34

“They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.”

The Roman soldiers nailed another victim to a cross. Per procedure, the victim was offered a dose of vinegar mixed with gall. According to tradition, this mixture had a stupefying effect, perhaps to reduce the victim’s pain, or to prolong his suffering. But this one refused.

This One was none other than the LORD Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Who was sent by God to solve a problem in His creation. God’s creatures were at odds with Him; under His wrath for disobeying Him. From the days of Adam and Eve until this very day this has been the case. For mankind’s disobedience, God the Judge’s sentence is, “Hell.” Many scriptures speak of Hell, and it is described in very strong terms. As given in scriptures, Jesus spoke more about Hell than He did of Heaven. It is a real place. Hell is fire, torment, and complete consciousness for those therein. It is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is called outer darkness, and is the place where Satan and his angels will be judged for eternity, along with disobedient mankind. In Revelation 14:9-11 we read, “…If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” They have no rest night or day.

The torments of Hell are endured in complete consciousness. This can be seen in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Jesus relates this story in Luke 16. In verses 22 and 23 we read, “And it came to pass, that [Lazarus] died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” Note that the rich man did not request to be released from the torture, he asked only for a drop of water on his tongue. He knew that he was where he was supposed to be. But he wanted relief. None would be given him. He then requested that his brothers be warned from joining him. He was thinking clearly and fully aware of his torments. He wanted the slightest of reliefs, and that others be kept from ending up where he had.

The solution to the problem of sin was that Someone needed to be a substitute before the Court of Heaven. Someone Who would suffer the entirety of God’s sentence of judgment. Of course, it had to be Someone who was innocent before God. The only One that could meet that requirement was God Himself. Mankind is guilty, and cannot in its own efforts satisfy God’s justice and avoid the sentence. The Substitute would have to bear the whole of God’s wrath against mankind’s sin. Any part left undone would mean the work was not finished, and mankind’s situation would be unchanged.

Jesus’ refusal of vinegar mixed with gall was because if He were not fully conscious, then He would not have endured the whole of God’s wrath against the sin of mankind. Unlike the rich man, Jesus did not seek relief. Had He taken that drink, He would not have endured the full wrath of God, and mankind’s sin would remain. But, Jesus said, It is finished!

“They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.”

The Roman soldiers nailed another victim to a cross. Per procedure, the victim was offered a dose of vinegar mixed with gall. According to tradition, this mixture had a stupefying effect, perhaps to reduce the victim’s pain, or to prolong his suffering. But this one refused.

This One was none other than the LORD Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Who was sent by God to solve a problem in His creation. God’s creatures were at odds with Him; under His wrath for disobeying Him. From the days of Adam and Eve until this very day this has been the case. For mankind’s disobedience, God the Judge’s sentence is, “Hell.” Many scriptures speak of Hell, and it is described in very strong terms. As given in scriptures, Jesus spoke more about Hell than He did of Heaven. It is a real place. Hell is fire, torment, and complete consciousness for those therein. It is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is called outer darkness, and is the place where Satan and his angels will be judged for eternity, along with disobedient mankind. In Revelation 14:9-11 we read, “…If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” They have no rest night or day.

The torments of Hell are endured in complete consciousness. This can be seen in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Jesus relates this story in Luke 16. In verses 22 and 23 we read, “And it came to pass, that [Lazarus] died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” Note that the rich man did not request to be released from the torture, he asked only for a drop of water on his tongue. He knew that he was where he was supposed to be. But he wanted relief. None would be given him. He then requested that his brothers be warned from joining him. He was thinking clearly and fully aware of his torments. He wanted the slightest of reliefs, and that others be kept from ending up where he had.

The solution to the problem of sin was that Someone needed to be a substitute before the Court of Heaven. Someone Who would suffer the entirety of God’s sentence of judgment. Of course, it had to be Someone who was innocent before God. The only One that could meet that requirement was God Himself. Mankind is guilty, and cannot in its own efforts satisfy God’s justice and avoid the sentence. The Substitute would have to bear the whole of God’s wrath against mankind’s sin. Any part left undone would mean the work was not finished, and mankind’s situation would be unchanged.

Jesus’ refusal of vinegar mixed with gall was because if He were not fully conscious, then He would not have endured the whole of God’s wrath against the sin of mankind. Unlike the rich man, Jesus did not seek relief. Had He taken that drink, He would not have endured the full wrath of God, and mankind’s sin would remain. But, Jesus said, It is finished!

The cross! The cross! The blood-stained cross!

The cross of Christ I see.

It tells me of that precious blood

That once was shed for me.

The wrath! The wrath! The awful wrath

That Jesus felt for me;

When bearing my sins heavy load

He died on Calvary.

But Jesus lives! The Savior lives!

In heav’n He pleads for me;

And boldly I approach to God,

His blood my only plea.

He comes! He comes! The Savior comes!

Who bled and died for me;

Then will I sing, with rapture sing,

When gazing, Lord, on Thee. (John H. Stockton)

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