I always saw the “sour wine” incident as just ugliness. There Jesus is, dying, and those watching run and put sour wine on a stick and offer it to him. Taunting him, it seemed to me. “Yeah, he’s calling for Elijah – let’s see if Elijah comes to him.” This Palm Sunday, I heard the incident differently.
When Jesus called for God, the bystanders believed he called for Elijah. Wine was given to him not to taunt but to help him live a little longer. The bystanders wanted Jesus to live at least long enough for them to see if Elijah really would come to him: “and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’
Their minds weren’t made up. A part of them believed it could be so. As they stood watching the crucifixion, the witnesses still weren’t sure if they were actually killing the Son of God.
How many of us this Holy Week will stand by during an incident and wonder if we are watching a killing of God’s presence in this world?
here’s to creative synthesis . . .