Friday of Holy Week has Jesus tried before Pilate, the Roman governor, beaten and sent to Herod, king of Galilee, made to carry His cross through the streets of Jerusalem and finally nailed to that cross for all to see. Jesus said very little during this time period, which is part of the type and shadow He fulfilled as the sacrificial lamb. He spoke to Pilate, women in the street, Mary His mother and John, and asked God a question but for the most part He said little and did not defend His actions when accused.
John 19:28 records one time He spoke and said, “I am thirsty.” Since He has lost a lot of blood by this time it naturally makes sense that He would be thirsty. Those three words have caused a lot of thought on my part this week. Would a man who has resigned himself to die be asking for fluid? Is this a sign of struggling to stay alive? The Romans had vinegar there not to ease the suffering of those on the cross but to prolong it.
Verse twenty-eight answers some of my questions. Jesus knew “all was completed” but that Scripture had to be fulfilled He asked for the drink. The drink and how it was offered to Him are part of what needed to be fulfilled. In Matthew 27:34 He was first offered wine and gall (a pain killer) but He refused to drink that. Remember during communion He said He would not drink wine again until He was with them in Heaven. The NIV says wine vinegar but vinegar has become a different drink because of the continued fermenting action. In John it was offered to Him on a hyssop stalk. Hyssop in the Old Testament deals with cleansing and has several places where this is mentioned. (A new Bible study in the making.) So this fits in with the “types” being fulfilled.
My own curiosity drove this experiment. It seems that hyssop stalks are about two feet long and if the soldier was about five foot eight inches tall that would have put Jesus’ head about eight feet in the air (about standard room height). We always tend to make our crosses really big, I was just curious.
Think about the power in the statement “knowing that all was now completed.” The disciples were picked and trained, parables had been taught, miracles and healings had been accomplished, and every type and shadow and prophecy had been fulfilled. The last thing left to do on this Friday was to ask for a drink and leave.
Matthew 27: 17 – 75, Mark 15:1- 47, Luke 22:66 -23:56, John 18:28 – 19:42