Wednesday, April 08, 2020
As we draw closer to Good Friday, I am made more aware of my flawed human nature by the fifth statement of Jesus from the cross. My normal response to pain and suffering is quite the opposite of Christ’s. You see, I tend to focus on my needs first, and then, once they are met, maybe I will focus on the needs of others.
Not so with Jesus. He has spoken four times from the cross already, and in the midst of His anguish every statement was of a spiritual nature. Twice He forgave others. He cared for the needs of others. He declared the need for spiritual intimacy with the Father. Until now, He had not asked one thing for relief of His physical needs.
I am deeply convicted by that. How much time is spent seeking the relief of our personal suffering, rather than seeking the strength of the Father to meet the needs of others? Now, finally, after showing compassion to others, Jesus says,
“I thirst.” John 19:28
Jesus is now most likely in shock. The wounds inflicted upon him in the scourging, the crowning with thorns, losing blood on the three-hour walk through the city of Jerusalem on the Via Dolorosa to Golgotha, and the nailing upon the cross are now taking their toll. Dehydration has set in. Jesus asks for a drink of water.
In that request, I am reminded of the time He asked for a drink of water when talking to a woman at a well. That request turned into an explanation by Jesus that He has living water to offer everyone.
“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14).
In answer to His statement of thirst, the guards put a sponge soaked in sour wine (vinegar) to his mouth, and he drank it. Jesus drank what man had to offer. What a symbol of His death. He drank fully the bitterness of man’s attempts to satisfy God. If only those at the cross would have recognized that in His death He was providing them pure water from which springs eternal life.
Jesus took into Himself every form of man-made religion and ritual, and put it to death. Jesus took all of man’s efforts to earn the favor of God and crucified them in His body on the cross. There is nothing man can offer God except sour grapes.
But Jesus replaced all of man’s efforts with His sacrifice, and by faith in Who He is and what He did on the cross, we can be forgiven for any and every sin. Jesus took man’s best efforts and destroyed them by the power of the cross.
Colossians 2:13-15 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Are you thirsty? Come to Jesus for living water, and never thirst again.