Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Word of Fulfillment

Jesus once told his disciples and the Pharisees a parable about a beggar named Lazarus who went to heaven and a rich man who ended up in hell. So severe are the torments of hell that not even one drop of water would be given to relieve the agony.

Perhaps Jesus knew already then that he would be describing his torments on the cross. Though offered something to drink Good Friday morning, he refused. He was determined to experience the full measure of physical torment that was needed to pay in full the sinful debts of mankind. But he knew also that Psalm 69 had prophesied that the Suffering Servant would be given vinegar to drink.

And so as death drew near, Jesus asked for the drink--not to diminish his suffering, but to fulfill the Scripture: “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips” (John 19:28,29).

Even on the cross Jesus was taking great care to show that the portrait of the coming Savior, painted over the course of many centuries throughout the Old Testament, was accurate in every detail. He came not to discard the Old Testament but to fulfill it and complete it. In his dying moments the Son of God demonstrated that God keeps his promises.

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