What does Mark 15:36 mean?
ESV: And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”
NIV: Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 'Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down,' he said.
NASB: And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, 'Let us see if Elijah comes to take Him down.'
CSB: Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, fixed it on a stick, offered him a drink, and said, "Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down."
NLT: One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 'Wait!' he said. 'Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!'
KJV: And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.
Verse Commentary:
It's reasonable to think that someone who'd had nothing to eat or drink since the night before would be thirsty the next afternoon. Still, this is the only time Jesus specifically expresses discomfort on the cross (John 19:28). Doctors suggest that His thirst is one of the many indications He is suffering from hypovolemic shock, or blood loss.

It is not unusual for Roman soldiers to scourge their victims, but it appears they whipped Jesus with special vigor. Pilate may have hoped that by beating Jesus the Sanhedrin would be satisfied and Jesus wouldn't have to be crucified. He was wrong (Luke 23:16–25). The guards used a whip of leather thongs braided with balls of lead and sharp pieces of bone to flay Jesus' flesh. The Mosaic law limited corporal punishment to no more than forty lashes (Deuteronomy 25:3); the Romans are free to whip their victims until bones and bowels are revealed. Jesus' inability to carry His heavy crossbeam supports the theory of blood loss (Mark 15:21), as well as His relatively short stay on the cross. Most crucifixion victims live for two or three days; Jesus lasts six hours (Mark 15:25, 34).

One of the signs of hypovolemic shock is extreme thirst. The body has lost more than twenty percent of its blood, and the kidneys stop functioning to preserve what body fluid is left. The heart beats faster, trying to move the decreased volume of blood. Fluid collects in the cavity around the heart and lungs. This fluid escapes when the guard pierces Jesus' chest with a spear (John 19:34).

Most crucifixion victims die of asphyxiation. They can only breathe by holding their weight on the nails through their feet. Their body grows more and more fatigued until they cannot push themselves up anymore. At that point, they have no breath. When Jesus dies, He shouts (Mark 15:37), impossible for someone who cannot breathe, but very possible for someone who dies of the medical equivalent of a broken heart.

The "sour wine" offered here is probably a common, cheap beverage, made mostly of water and eggs, with a splash of wine vinegar to keep it from spoiling. Why the executioners would allow this, given that it would make Jesus survive longer, is unknown. It's possible the soldiers are already beginning to question their role in this event (Mark 15:39).
Verse Context:
Mark 15:33–41 is a raw and stark account of Jesus' death. Jesus feels separated from God and abandoned by His friends. The land is covered by darkness. The earth shakes and the tombs open (Matthew 27:52–53). Only too late does the centurion get a glimpse of what he and his men have done. Even the women who supported Jesus during His ministry have moved farther away. But when Jesus breaths His last, the temple veil tears, marking the possibility of our reconciliation with God. Jesus' death is also recorded in Matthew 27:45–56, Luke 23:44–49, and John 19:28–37.
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.
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