Exhausted after not getting one wink of sleep the night before, having had a crown of thorns pressed into His brow, Jesus was weary and undoubtedly showed it upon His face. For we read in Matthew 27:34, "They gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall."
This was also prophesied in Psalm 69:21 where David spoke of his own persecution. There we read, "They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink'.' These words are versified in our Psalter thus (PRC Psalter):
They gave me gall for my food,
And taunting words they spake;
They gave me vinegar to drink
My burning thirst to slake.
Outwardly to onlookers this might have seemed an act of mercy to a thirsty one; but the contents of the cup spoke of hatred and base cruelty. That gall and that vinegar revealed how bitter the hearts of those who gave them were toward God's Son, and thus toward God.
However, let it be borne in mind that Jesus had to taste far greater bitterness than all the men in the world could produce. Yes, He must suffer the hatred of man. That too is part of the punishment He must suffer for our sins. But this is only a small part of the punishment. All the bitterness of hell must be endured and brought to an end. And all that bitterness He must not refuse and spit out after tasting it. He must and did drink the full vial of God's wrath.
But because He did drink every drop of that bitterness, we will taste God's love and mercy. We will drink of the water of life, because God has through Christ and His cross prepared for us the fountain of everlasting life that will never run dry.
Though we in this life will know the bitterness in men's hearts that makes peace on earth impossible for man to realize, we will have peace on earth, because we already have peace with God, and soon will enter a world that has no gall or vinegar, but has joys and blessings to taste and enjoy without end.
Read: Matthew 27:29-38
Psalter versification: #185:7
Daily Meditations on the Heidelberg Catechism
Song for Meditation: Psalter #187
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Through the Bible in One Year
Deuteronomy 9 ; Deuteronomy 10:1-22
Quote for Reflection:
"For inasmuch as it (baptism) is given for the arousing, nourishing, and confirming of our faith, it is to be received as from the hand of the Author himself. We ought to deem it certain and proved that it is he who speaks to us through the sign; that it is he who purifies and washes away sins and wipes out the remembrance of them; that it is he who makes us sharers in his death, who deprives Satan of his rule, who weakens the power of our lust; indeed, that it is he who comes unto a unity with us so that, having put on Christ, we may be acknowledged God’s children." — John Calvin, The Institutes