I thirst…

Posted: April 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

John 19:28 records the fifth saying that Jesus uttered from the cross.  This is the shortest off all the dying utterances of Jesus, and it is the one which is most closely related to himself.  As touching as it is to read about the suffering of Jesus, these words “I thirst” have tremendous spiritual significance. The book of John is the only Gospel that records this saying of Jesus, and I believe John heard in these words the comprehensive cry which gathered up all the yearnings and agonies of Jesus’ soul. To know that Jesus thirsted in this way is to know that he must have suffered on many different levels.

First, there was a physical thirst.  According to the scriptures, Jesus seems to have taken no refreshment from the time when he drank with apostles in the upper room until the time he said “I thirst”. Since that time he had endured the agony of the garden, had passed through the interrogations of the Jewish council and the Roman Governor, and had hung upon the cross for hours. The bodily anguish and exhaustion of crucifixion aggravated by his unspeakable mental distress, account for the thirst that belonged to Jesus.  This cry of “I thirst” reminds us that Jesus shared our human nature and its infirmities.  If we read further in the scripture, it tells us that His thirst was taken care of by the sour wine offered him in the sponge raised on the stem of hyssop.  This even seems to have revived him, and strengthened him for the last cries which he uttered in his humiliation.

I believe the scriptures also tell us that not only did Jesus have a physical thirst but also an emotional thirst.  When we remember that Jesus was the Lord of nature itself, who fed multitudes with bread, and could supply a banquet with refreshment by turning water into wine and you combine that with the physical thirst he had from his day of agony – what an emotional thirst he must have had to simply be with his Father. Jesus knew he could cure his thirst, Jesus had the power to jump off of the cross at any moment, and being human, he had to have been struggling deeply with this concept.  But Jesus, as Philippians 2:8 says, humbled himself and became obedient unto death. But beyond His physical thirst, beyond his emotional struggle of being on the cross I believe it was his spiritual thirst that kept him on the cross.

Finally, Jesus had a spiritual thirst. There was an intense desire in the heart of Jesus to win the world to himself.  He said in the scriptures I have come to seek and save that which is lost. He thirsted for more lost people, more sinners, more sheep to come to his pasture.  He desired that all would come to know him. His love for each of us overshadowed his physical torment and it was as if he was saying, “More God, give me more, I want to make sure this is once and for all, I want to make sure that is death is for everyone.  I thirst for every soul now and forever more.”

Are you thirsty? You can come to the fountain that fills your soul like no other, you can taste and see that it is good. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

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