Jesus was crucified at about 9:00 a.m. on Friday morning. Jesus was in extreme agony, both physically and mentally. His physical agony was from the effects of torture, the crown of thorns, and nails that pierced his hands and feet. Christ’s mental anguish occurred because he had the weight of the world’s sin on his mind; he felt all of mankind’s perversions and violence. Further, the perfect, righteous God couldn’t look at Jesus while Jesus was saturated with the sins of humankind. During the 6 hours, Jesus was on the cross, God turned his face away from Jesus. Jesus was horribly alone for the first time in his life in heaven and in his 33 years on earth. It is no wonder Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Hearing Jesus’ words, some individuals standing near the cross concluded that Jesus called for Elijah. One man ran and filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put the sponge on the stalk of a hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. Jesus drank the wine vinegar. Not uncommonly, Roman soldiers gave water or wine to men being crucified in order to revive them and prolong the dying process. Attempting to revive Jesus was the man’s motivation for giving Jesus wine vinegar, because he said, “Now, leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.” Neither God nor Elijah came to rescue Jesus. Instead, soon thereafter Jesus gave his last breath and died.
Several writers proposed that the hyssop reed was from the sorghum plant, known in the United States as Aleppo millet grass and Johnson grass.
In this passage, the hyssop reed symbolized an endpoint or finish. After Jesus received the wine vinegar on the hyssop reed, his final words were, “It is finished.” He finished all the tasks set before him including enduring the cross. Genesis records another example of finished work. By the end of the 6th day, God finished the work of creating the earth, On the seventh day, God rested. For humankind Christ’s finished work on the cross, symbolized by a final sip of water from a reed, was as important an ending as God’s creation of the world.
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