“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
Of all the world’s religious figures, Jesus Christ stands unique. He is like the Sun, shinning its brilliance; all others are but mere shadows. As today’s verse passage indicates, the details of Christ’s life and ministry were recorded in the sacred Scriptures hundreds of years before they came to pass. He was that Great Light that was to come into the world, sent to those who “sat in the region and shadow of death” (Matthew 4:13-16). Within Israel’s unique history and religion are numerous events and observances that pointed ahead to the Lord’s redemptive work. Our passage tells us that hyssop (a reedy stalk, about two feet long) was used to give Jesus sour wine to drink. The use of hyssop in the application of the Passover lamb’s blood (Exodus 12:21-22) immediately comes to mind, and we recall that “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). The innumerable, intricate, detailed prophecies and themes, all pointing to Christ, indicate beyond doubt that our Lord’s life and ministry were ordained by a Divine, Super-Intellect with infinite power at His disposal. Fallen man imagines he can earn his atonement through good works; self effort is imagined to be the path to union with the divine. The Wisdom of God says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Foolish man says, “Here is what you must do.” The Son of God says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Fallen man says, “Do this.” God says, “It is done!” The blessed words of our Lord in today’s passage remind us that our salvation has nothing to do with our performance; everything hinges on what He has done. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us (Titus 3:5a). Salvation is a free gift offered to all (Romans 5:15-18; 1 Timothy 4:10), to be received by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). God forbid, however, that the Gospel we believe and preach be reduced to a few theological propositions. It is the love of God that stands as the supra-rational foundation for the Gospel (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:19). God’s abiding love has secured our eternal salvation in a unique way and at an unimaginably high price (Acts 20:28). Let us remember that our Lord’s resurrection from the dead is the supreme vindication of the Gospel, our full assurance that these wonderful things are so. Our hearts echo the words of the blessed apostle: “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15)!
God bless you, dear saints,