John 19:28-30 – A 1000 Year Old “Sour” Connection

Last week we examined the historical dimension of Jesus’ crucifixion.
·  We did so by completing our look at the final three steps of the crucifixion process.
·  Jesus had to carry the crossbeam with outstretched arms.
·  When He arrived at the “stakes”, He was fastened to the crossbeam, probably with nails.
·  And once nailed to the crossbeam, the crossbeam was attached to the already standing “stakes”.

As we went through these final three steps, we learned that:
·  The two floggings had left Him incapable of carrying his crossbeam.
·  He was crucified naked.
·  That He was crucified inches off the ground in range of dogs.

However, we purposely overlooked the prophetic, spiritual and theological dimensions.
·  Today, we will examine one example of the prophetic dimension.


John 19:28–30 (ESV) — 28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

We are going to work backwards from the Psalms to John, to get at our text today.

Psalm 69 – David’s Sour Wine:
In Psalm 69, King David expresses a wide range of admissions and longings.
·  He concedes he has sinned – “you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you” (vs. 5).
·  And he says, “You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor” (vs. 19).
·  But he shares that he has also been broken by his sin – He has “wept and humbled [his] soul” (vs. 10) and “made sackcloth [his] clothing” (vs. 11).
o   King David was the righteous and faithful leader of Israel, albeit an imperfect one.

But in spite of his contrite spirit, many continue to reject him and condemn him.
·  Psalm 69:8 (ESV) — 8 I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother’s sons.
·  Psalm 69:12 (ESV) — 12 I am the talk of those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me.
·  He shares that, “I looked for pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none” (vs. 20).

Because of this he expresses a longing for vindication and deliverance.
·  Psalm 69:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. 2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. 3 I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.
·  Psalm 69:16–18 (ESV) — 16 Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. 17 Hide not your face from your servant; for I am in distress; make haste to answer me. 18 Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies!

And it is in this context that David describes the specific way “they” heaped guilt upon him.
·  Psalm 69:21 (ESV) — 21 They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.

Now back in John, we have the following.

John 19 – Jesus’ Sour Wine:
John tells us that after securing the well-being of His mother, Jesus understood His work on the cross to be over.
·  So he uttered the words, “I thirst” (vs. 28).
·  John tells us that Jesus’ words were to fulfill Scripture (vs. 28).
·  All the scholars I consulted agreed that Psalm 69 was the primary referent for John in verse 28.
o   Psalm 22:15 could also be in view.

BTW – Jesus words, “I thirst” (vs. 28), are “the final instance of Jesus’ active, self-conscious fulfillment of Scripture” in John’s Gospel – Beale, Carson.
·  However, it needs to be said that it was not a hollow, manufactured fulfillment of prophecy.
·  “A man scourged, bleeding, and hanging on a cross under the Near-Eastern sun would be so desperately dehydrated that thirst would be part of the torture” – D.A. Carson.
·  Jesus was indeed thirsty.

Hearing Jesus’ words, one of the soldiers (Luke 23:36) responded by offering Him something to drink.
·  We are told (in all four Gospels) that he gave Jesus “sour wine” to drink (vs. 29).

Then John tells us that after Jesus “received the sour wine” (vs. 30) two things occurred.
·  He said, “It is finished” (vs. 30).
·  He died (vs. 30).

We will certainly contend with what Jesus meant by “It is finished” (next week).
·  But first we need to deal with Psalm 69 and this “sour wine” business.


So how does Jesus’ sour wine relate to what happened to King David in Psalm 69 one thousand years earlier?
·  Why would John say this was “to fulfill Scripture”?

BTW – A common OT hermeneutic was to connect passages of Scripture with similar words or phrases.
·  John was not over-reaching here.

There are some obvious differences between David’s context and that of Jesus.
·  David was not an innocent victim, Jesus’ was.
·  David’s suffering was not unto death, Jesus’ was.
·  David’s actions had wronged many, Jesus’ wronged no one.

So again, what is John trying to show us?
·  There was nothing unusual about the sour wine.
·  It was common throughout the ANE.
·  This was because it was cheap and “it relieved thirst more effectively than water” – BDAG.

The answer…our one thousand year old connection appears to be found in at least two things.
·  (1) David’s suffering pointed to Jesus’ suffering.
·  (2) David’s mocking pointed to Jesus’ mocking.

So, what was the shared suffering and what was the shared mocking?

(1) Shared Suffering – Righteous Sufferer
·  Psalm 69 constitutes “a prophetic model, a ‘type’, of ‘great David’s greater son’” – D.A. Carson.
·  The “type” that David foreshadows is that of a Righteous Sufferer.
·  So the parallel is that David and Jesus are both “righteous sufferers” – Kostenberger, Carson, Beale, et.al.
·  But, obviously the fulfillment John has in view is not in the particulars.
o   We saw above that David was a sinner, so in the particulars there is no union.
·  But rather, John wants us to see that Jesus “fulfills the entire prophetic pattern” of the Righteous Sufferer” – G.K. Beale, D.A. Carson.
·  And Jesus fulfills and embodies the Righteous Sufferer, unlike David, in perfection.
o   He was an innocent and pure sufferer.
o   And even more profound, He suffered for our sake.
o   And only unblemished Righteous Sufferer could suffer for our sake.

(2) Shared Mocking – Sour Wine
·  In Psalm 69:21, the context denotes that the “sour wine to drink” was meant to be seen as part of the mistreatment and mocking of David.
·  In David’s case, the “sour wine” was seen as a withholding of the good stuff from Israel’s leader.
·  He was thirsty and instead of the King’s good stuff they gave him the peasant’s cheap stuff.

But in Jesus’ case, we just saw both that Jesus was thirsty and sour wine would quench His thirst.
·  So, it appears that the “sour wine” was meant to be helpful to Jesus.
·  If this is the case, there is no connection with the “sour wine”.
·  John doesn’t seem to give us enough information to make the connection.

However, the solution to our apparent problem is to be found in Mark.
·  Mark 15:23 (ESV) — 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
·  As Jesus was making His way to Golgotha, He was offered “wine mixed with myrrh”.
·  This mix was a sedative.
·  It was meant to “dull the senses and lessen the pain” – Beasley-Murray.
·  Jesus refused to take drink this mixture.

Mark also tells us about the “sour wine” mentioned in John.
·  Mark 15:36a (ESV) — 36a And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink…”
·  This mix was not a sedative but a restorative drink.
·  Typically, this mixture was meant to quench thirst and “prolong life” – D.A. Carson.
·  Jesus drank this mixture.

BTW – By drinking the restorative drink, He was potentially prolonging his suffering, humiliation and mocking.
·  So there may be here an allusion to the cup of wrath.
·  It also must be noted that the glorification of God would have also been prolonged.
·  John’s Gospel clearly sees the cross, the “lifting up”, as an exaltation and glorification of Jesus.

And the rest of Mark 15:36 completes the “sour wine” connection for us.
·  Mark 15:36b (ESV) — 36b “…saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’”
·  So it appears that Jesus was given the “sour wine” as a set up to tease and mock Jesus.

The mocking is twofold:
·  (1) The mocking sentiment expressed in 36b is this, “If we keep Him alive long enough, Elijah will surely come and rescue this sorry King of the Jews”.
·  (2) As with King David, instead of giving the King the good stuff, the King was given the cheap stuff.

And so it is in these two ways that the “sour wine” connects King David and King Jesus.
·  Both “Righteous Sufferers” were mocked and sour wine was used to do the mocking.

BTW – the hyssop was used to sprinkle blood on the lintel and doorposts during Passover.
·  Clearly, John meant us to make the association.
·  Exodus 12:22 (ESV) — 22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.

And so we can see what John wanted us to see.
·  Jesus perfectly and knowingly (because God was in control) fulfilled the OT “type” of the Mocked Righteous Sufferer.
·  This “type” was foreshadowed by King David in Psalm 69.
·  This was one reason that the cross was seen by John as a fulfillment of prophecy.
·  Next week will look at some spiritual and theological dimensions of what happened on the cross.