In the course of our journey through the Gospel of John, we’re examining the seven statements Jesus made from the cross. Last week we looked at Jesus’ fourth statement. (See previous post The 7 Statements of Jesus from the Cross: Statement 4 (God has a Problem))
Today we’ll look at Jesus’ fifth statement from the cross:
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture),
“I thirst.”John 19:28
How Far Jesus Descended
“I thirst,” Jesus said, to fulfill the scripture from the prophetic Psalm 22:15 and also Psalm 69:21. But he also said it, I believe, because like many in the midst of the process of dying, Jesus was thirsty. It speaks of his human condition because this is such a universal human experience. Every person on the planet experiences thirst, whether black or white, man or woman, rich or poor. And Jesus here in this moment experiences it too. Jesus is brother to the black person and the poor person and to every person who thirsts. But for Jesus this pain of thirst is made remarkable by the fact that all things were made through him. Which means the oceans of water were made through him, as were the great rivers of the world and every lake and every stream. The clouds that hold great volumes of water, and rain, and mist, and the hydrologic cycle itself: all were made through him. Even the sweetest purest water for drink, from the most pristine spring was made through him. But even though he’s Lord of all, even though without him, not any water was made that was made, even though today a river of life flows from God’s throne where he sits, Jesus humbled himself so dramatically, he submitted himself to the role of servant so completely, that he said, as he hung there on the cross, “I thirst.”
How Much Jesus Loved Us
Jesus, who took upon the sins of the whole world thirsted even as the rich man thirsted when he said to Abraham, “have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.” It was the flame reserved for sinners the rich man anguished in. Even as Jesus thirsted because he bore the weight reserved for sinners. And Abraham answered the rich man and said, “between us and you a great chasm has been fixed.” Without Jesus, every one of us would have thirsted as the rich man, an infinite chasm fixed by our sin, between us and God where the river of life flows. But that chasm has been transcended by the Son of God. His thirst wasn’t just for water but he thirsted for your salvation. And the immense suffering he endured was the only way to quench that thirst.
How Much Jesus is Like You
My hope is the next time you’re thinking to yourself, or saying out loud, “I’m thirsty,” you remember how sacred those words are. My hope is you remember how Jesus himself said those words when he experienced the thirst we find in this world. Living here on planet earth is so hard sometimes. We lose our jobs. We lose our significant others. We lose our health. People we love die. We’re forced to move or forced out of any home altogether. We experience injustice. But Jesus feels compassion for you because Jesus experienced the human condition. The next time you feel anxious remember the great drops of blood that came from Jesus’ forehead when he anguished in the garden before they came to arrest him. The next time you lose someone to death or divorce remember how he cried from the cross as he hung there dying, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” The next time you’re betrayed remember how Jesus was betrayed by his close friend Judas. The next time you’re wronged remember how Jesus was wronged by the envious leaders of his day, tried before Pilate, found innocent, but crucified anyway. The next time someone kneels on your neck remember how Jesus was nailed to the cross. What I’m saying here is that Jesus understands. He knows your frailties and suffering. He intentionally humbled himself and made the line of his life to be parallel with yours.
The next time you’re suffering, I hope you’ll remember these words from Charles Spurgeon.
The arrow which has lately pierced you, my brother, was first stained with his blood. The cup of which you’re made to drink, though it be very bitter, bears the mark of his lips about its brim. He has traversed the mournful way before you, and every footprint you leave in the sodden soil is stamped side by side with his. Let the sympathy of Christ, then, be fully believed in and deeply appreciated, since he said,
Can I give you my best advice? My best advice to anyone who’s experiencing anxiety, or depression, or great suffering is to remember these words from Spurgeon, and fall on your face and pray to the One who knows what you’re going through.
In Jesus’ name.
This blog post was inspired by Jesus’ statement from the cross, “I thirst” and by Charles Spurgeon’s excellent sermon delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, April 14, 1878, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
Image of Christ on the Cross between Two Thieves by Peter Paul Rubens via Wikimedia Commons — Public Domain