Wednesday, March 19, 2008

numbing and mockery

"which he tasted but refused to drink"

I stay in Matthew 27, where verse 34 has really popped out at me this week. Part of me wants Jesus to numb himself with that concoction of wine and gall. The man is being crucified. Isn't that a time for a bit of anaesthetic? He does come close and it reaches his lips, but then he stops himself. I know what happens when a person doesn't stop. When the physical or emotional pain is so high, one leaps in and the numbing feels so good that the next thing you know years have passed and you need help.

Jesus could have numbed not only the physical pain, but also the emotional pain of being mocked. The priests and pharisees were having their moment of thinking they had been right all along and told Jesus that he was a phony. That I think Jesus could handle better than those whose hearts were breaking. These folk had believed, and now their leader was being crucified and was doing nothing to save himself. They felt tricked. So in their grief and anger they too mocked Jesus.

Yesterday I went to check on the plants at work, where I visited with a friend. I spoke of the teenagers I had seen singing praises to Jesus. I told her how I had spent that time of my life mocking those foolish enough to believe. I woke this morning with these thoughts floating in my head. What had led me to that mocking? If memory can be trusted, it too was a grand disappointment.

Last night at church, our leader spoke of the "Way." I had believed that was true as a child. That it was a way of life that made one a Christian and as a teen I focused on those who proclaimed faith but did not walk in the Way. I just may have been expecting perfection or more effort, but I was sad and angry and left the church.

Jesus chose to live out this experience without any numbing. So he cries out to the Lord and quotes the first line of Psalm 22, which goes on to say this...

"all who see me jeer me" (7)
"my strength is trickling away" (14)
"they divide my garments among them and cast lots" (18)
"the poor will eat and be filled, those who seek the Lord will praise him" (26)
"and these will tell his saving justice to a people yet unborn: he has fulfilled it" (closing line)

Jesus seemed to be aware of what was happening... it is a good thing when we don't numb ourselves from our own life, even if we just stop short of doing it.


  1. This entry is packed with insight. You're the one who should be writing a sermon. Oh -- you have.

  2. Gannet girl-- you are perfectly correct in your grammar... I have written "a sermon"

  3. I never considered looking at the Scripture the way you did it. I guess that's what the Spiritual Exercises are, seeing the Scriptures from a different perspective. Thanks -- as I prepare to do my exercises here late today.

  4. While, as you know, I do not see these two words spoken from the Cross to be a request for water, yet I like the twist you put to it here. In such line of thinking, I find it true that Christ, who is the "living water", does not, in any way, numb or "deaden" our senses, but brings to us life in spite of all else. Good post, Wayne...

  5. se-- thanks for stopping by, I liked discovering you were out there doing this with me.

    Jim-- thanks for taking my thoughts into yourself, and sharing what emerges.


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