What does Mark 15:23 mean?
ESV: And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
NIV: Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
NASB: And they tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it.
CSB: They tried to give him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
NLT: They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it.
KJV: And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.
Verse Commentary:
During the Passover dinner, as Jesus established the first Lord's Supper, He told the disciples, "I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God" (Mark 14:25). In Jesus' day, people are not allowed to openly publicly mourn for a crucifixion victim. Jewish women find a way around this. Tradition states that the women offer crucifixion victims wine mixed with myrrh in the spirit of Proverbs 31:6–7: "Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more." Myrrh is a weak narcotic, and the women mean to dull the pain a little, but the pain relief can also lengthen the life of the victim.

Jesus has two reasons to reject the offering. He has already established that He will not drink wine until He can drink it in celebration of the fruition of His sacrifice, when the church joins with Him in heaven (Matthew 26:29). The second reason Jesus rejects the drink is that He is not there to be comfortable. He is there to feel the weight of pain and humiliation that sin stains humanity with.

Proverbs 31:1–9 is a short dissertation given by a king's mother to her son, possibly Solomon. As a king, the son has responsibilities that require more discipline than normal men. He must not be distracted from sound judgment by indulging in many women. He must enforce justice for the disadvantaged. And he must not dull his wits with alcohol. Before her possibly tongue-in-cheek order to give the perishing wine to ease their distress, she says,
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Proverbs 31:4–5
Jesus is not a helpless victim who needs to find chemical solace in His condition. He is the King who must now soberly rule, even if His throne is temporarily a cross.
Verse Context:
Mark 15:21–32 describes the crucifixion of Jesus. The Romans refined crucifixion to be the most painful and humiliating death imaginable. Victims were usually stripped naked, then tied or nailed to a cross. Executioners were adept at driving nails between bones and arteries, but directly through nerves, extending the victim's agony. Hanging in this position, the condemned could only breathe if they lifted their weight on impaled feet or wrists. Exhaustion would soon lead to suffocation—typically taking a victim two or three days to die. Bodies were usually left to rot in public unless a family member was given special permission to remove them. More painful for Jesus, however, is the total separation from His heavenly Father. Still, though He suffers alone, He suffers with hope (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus' crucifixion is also detailed in Matthew 27:32–44, Luke 23:26–43, and John 19:16–27.
Chapter Summary:
After sham trials, Jesus is taken to the local Roman governor, Pilate. This is the only person in Jerusalem with the legal authority to have Jesus executed. Pilate is not fooled, and he attempts to arrange for Jesus' release. But the ruler's ploys fail, in part because Jesus will not defend Himself, and partly because the mob is intent on His death. Pilate offers a prisoner exchange in Barabbas, and even has Jesus brutally beaten in order to pacify the crowd. Eventually, he caves in and Jesus is crucified. Thanks to His prior abuse, Jesus survives only a few hours on the cross before dying. Jesus is then buried in a tomb belonging to a secret follower among the Jerusalem council.
Chapter Context:
After being unfairly judged, Jesus will now be unfairly sentenced and cruelly murdered. It's reasonable to say this chapter provides context for everything else contained in the Bible. From Adam and Eve until the last baby born in the millennial kingdom, every person other than Christ is stained with sin. Conscience, law, Jesus' direct leadership, even the indwelling of the Holy Spirit cannot keep us from sinning. Sinless Jesus had to die on the cross, sacrificing Himself in our place, so our sins could be forgiven and we could be reconciled to God. Beneath the violence, darkness, dishonor, and death is the love of God for all mankind (John 3:16). Jesus' crucifixion is also found in Matthew 27, Luke 23, and John 19. The next chapter describes the miracle of His resurrection.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 4/13/2024 9:17:34 AM
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