Mark 15:23

There they offered him drugged wine; but Jesus refused it.

do not go gentle
to any goodnight
drunk beyond pain

look every night
even a last night

this is real
and hurts like hell
grieve it through

whether narded outside
or myrrhed inside
I am who I am

Coming off the mocking by the soldiers, it seems unlikely that it would be they who would try to ease the pain of a crucifixion to come. Who that leaves is open to conjecture. The women?

Whoever it might be, the Greek is better translated as “offered” as “tried to give” carries a bit more force.

At any rate, the attempt to have Jesus drink wine was unsuccessful.

Mann645 talks about “drugged wine” or “wine mixed with myrrh”:

Proverbs 31:6 has a command to give strong drink to the desperate or to one about to die. The word drugged is the Greek esmurnismenon (literally “mixed with myrrh”), and the use of myrrh was intended as an anesthetizing or stupefying agent.

As usual, it is helpful to remember previous comments about drinking. Verse 10:38 speaks of coming difficulties in response to the request of James and John—who only see glory ahead. Verse 14:25 indicates Jesus has already had his last glass of wine. In verse 14:36 Jesus prays for this “cup” of suffering (death) to be removed, thus not coming to a temptation for an actual cup that would ease his way from life. When the “cup” is not taken from him, Jesus proceeds to drink from it rather than this wine that would deaden him to death.

This is not to discount the value of palliative care for those at the end of life who have not partnered and agreed to suffer to the end. Jesus is not the one-to-one model for everyone’s life. The entrance of a larger spirit and experiences of wilderness can reveal other gifts needed for a particular time. At the same time, reflection on Jesus’ life can be a challenge to more boldly use one’s gifts and risk standing quietly in the midst of consequences for doing good in a harmful world.

Readers might begin asking what drug they have taken that is allowing them to continue observing this perversion of justice and general lack of mercy without engaging that going on around them.

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