Like this rendition from the New King James version, most Bible translations read that Jesus "received" the sour wine, but this is not to say that He actually drank it. Strong's Greek Lexicon states that lambano, the Greek verb translated "received," can imply "to have offered to one." In the overall context, this is a more logical meaning. Also, if Jesus refused to drink the first offering, why would He accept the second? Knowing that only moments—perhaps even seconds—remained before He would die, why would He seek any temporary comfort from the effects of this drink?
Of Sponges and Spears
The pain grew so great that when Jesus said He thirsted, the Roman soldiers at the foot of His cross offered Him a brew of "vinegar" or sour wine mixed with myrrh as a sedative. Jesus refused it, knowing He had to suffer pain as part of the picture of what sin does in our lives: It causes a lot of gruesome pain!
Why Did Jesus Have to Die by Crucifixion?
In the final moments of His physical life on earth, God orchestrated that Jesus Christ be given hyssop, an identifying element that
» connected Him to the Passover lamb centuries before in Egypt;
» associated Him with the sacrificial and cleansing ceremonies; and
» recalled David's request to be purified of his sins.
Water is indeed the most wonderful physical means to clean and cleanse that God has created. Yet, it is through the life, the shed blood, the death, and the resurrected, eternal, glorious life of our God and Savior that we can experience the ultimate cleansing and purification, as typified in the use of hyssop in the pages of the Bible. Through this spiritual cleansing and purification, we can, like David, anticipate the end of our physical lives and hope to dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6).
Purge Me With Hyssop
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing John 19:29:
1 John 5:1-8