Questions From Readers
● Is it wrong for a Christian to use a painkiller, since Jesus at his impalement refused wine mixed with a painkiller?
Not necessarily; Jesus evidently did so for a special reason.
Just before being nailed to the stake Jesus refused what Matthew calls “wine mixed with gall” and Mark describes as “wine drugged with myrrh.” (Matt. 27:34; Mark 15:23) One commentator observes: “The myrrh gave the sour wine a better flavour and like the bitter gall had a narcotic and stupefying effect. Both elements may have been in the drink which Jesus tasted and refused.”
Jesus was then reaching the climax of his course of integrity. (Rom. 5:18, 19) Understandably, he would not want to be stupefied or drugged. He had prayed to his Father that he was willing to accept what was ahead. So Jesus needed to have and ought to have his full senses at that point. (Matt. 26:39; John 10:17, 18) Christ Jesus was to be fully aware of what he was doing in order to keep his integrity and to remain faithful to the end.
But what of a Christian’s accepting a painkiller when suffering pain or undergoing an operation? The Bible speaks of the appropriateness of giving intoxicating liquor to a person about to die, to aid him to forget his sorrow, or perhaps his pain. (Prov. 31:6) So, while the Scriptures rightly condemn getting drunk with alcohol (a drug), that does not rule out accepting a drug to deaden pain. When such is medically administered, it might serve a good purpose. However, the person involved should consider the possibility of becoming addicted to the painkiller.