Mark 15:36

And a man ran, and, soaking a sponge in common wine, put it on the end of a rod, and offered it to him to drink, saying as he did so, “Wait and let us see if Elijah is coming to take him down.”

the fourth quarter
nears a final whistle
the game might be interesting
if we can but extend it

our star player injured
there is no sub available
our only hope is a pain killer
take this drug entertain us

this is not a time
to think about addiction
there is work to be done
a paying crowd to play to

a real man would get up
just one more play one more
such a small thing to ask
given your pay grade and title

The “sour wine” is less about vinegar than it is a reference to the cheap wine of the Roman soldiers. This connection with wine and putting it on a pole or reed (which can also be a reference to a javelin used by the soldiers) strengthen that this scene brings Rome into the mockery.

The Roman judgment ensues after that of the Sanhedrin. The Roman mockery follows after the chief priests and local Jews passing by. In both cases, it is Rome where the buck stops.

There is a temptation here to try to find what relief was possible by having a bit of hydration. It is in direct relationship with 14:25 and Jesus saying he would not drink the fruit of the vine (sweet or sour) until he did so in the presence of G*D.

Regarding Elijah, this is not the first time there has been a confusion about Elijah. The disciples have reported that others have mistaken Jesus for Elijah. After Jesus was transfigured the disciples ask about Jesus and learn that Elijah’s role is not that of the tradition, he is not coming to restore all things (9:12). Elijah will not save Jesus from suffering and death. Jesus goes on to say that Elijah has already come (9:13, a reference to Baptizer John filling the Elijah role) and so there is no need to wait and see if Elijah will come.

It is as if the soldiers are pulling one last trick, an intentional misunderstanding of a cry of desolation. This suggests there is hope where that whole category has been abolished through an emphasis upon suffering, death, and rising as a result of refusing our usual self-imposed censorship regarding the limits of healing and partnership.

The bottom line is that Jesus’ life has been as much a parable as his teaching. People have not heard it or seen it for what it is.

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