“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:28-30 (NKJV)
Hanging there, on that cross, between Heaven and Earth, between God and man, the mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), the substitute (2 Corinthians 5:21), the sacrifice (1 John 2:2), and the Servant of God (Isiah 52:13-15) is nearing the end of His journey. He was nearing the end of His passion, His great trial, and the dredges of that cup (Matthew 26:39). Soon it would be finished (verse 30). Soon, He would have His victory over sin, death, and Hell (Philippians 2:9). Just a few moments from this point and our King will exchange that old rugged cross for the honored seat at the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:33).
What do the titles mediator, substitute, sacrifice, and Servant of God mean to you?
What other titles for Jesus come to your mind?
First, Jesus is in need. Let that sink in for a moment. The God who created all things, in whom all things hold together and consist, is in need. He has never been in need. He has never needed anything until He descended so low until He came as one of us. Only then do we read of Him having need. We read of Him being weary, tired, or hungry. Here, in the final moments of His suffering, He has an urgent need. It is a very basic need. He is simply “thirsty.” I do not know about you, but I have often felt so helpless when someone is going through suffering. I feel helpless for the brother or sister with cancer, the person who has just lost their father. I so desperately want to help, and so I find myself offering to do any practical thing I can to help lighten their load. I may ask, “If we can bring you a meal or if we can watch your kids, please let us know.” Who among us, would not run at the chance to give to our Lord Jesus, the One whom we love, something to drink in this final moment? It would be an honor just to lift His burden in some slight way. I am thrilled just to think I could do anything to help Him who was helping us. I want to serve the One who is serving me.
When was a time you felt helpless helping someone in their time of need?
What thoughts come to mind when you think of the concept that Jesus was “in need?”
While it is common for people near death to feel intense thirst, Jesus’ words here are the fulfillment of ancient prophecy. In Psalm 69:21, written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, we read this of the suffering Messiah, “And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (NKJV). This is exactly what happened here. When you consider that, realize He had no control over what was brought up that hill that day. He had no control over what could be given to Him to drink. You realize that this is just another proof of the deity of our Lord Jesus and the reliability of the Word of God.
Can you think of any other prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus?
There are so many lessons we could learn from Jesus’ last words, but I think that our Lord’s thirst tells us something we cannot miss. How can He be thirsty when He is the One who satisfies the thirst of man? Was it not He Himself who said to the woman by the well, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14 NKJV)?
Yet, here He is thirsty. What does this say to us? It speaks powerfully of our Lord as our substitute. He is the One who took our place. I deserved to hang there. I deserved to suffer. I deserved to die. However, He took my place. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, we read, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This means that Jesus, though He had never sinned, became a sinner by taking my sin upon Himself. He who had never been condemned and did not deserve to be condemned, hung there, condemned by God for me. He was being judged in my place instead of me. So, as my substitute, He was thirsty, and all of Heaven gasped at the sight.
What would be your thoughts if you were at the cross and heard Jesus say this?
Can you see Him there? Has God given you a fresh view of our Lord hanging there, between Heaven and Earth, between God and man in great suffering and in thirst? It was for you. It was in your place. He suffered so that you do not have to. He was condemned so that you will not be.
When did you realize God did all of this for you?
He was thirsty so that you could be forever satisfied in Him. Can you hear the words from His parched lips? It will change you to hear them. I pray even now, that as you do, that your heart is filling with thankfulness to Him who “loved me [us] and gave Himself for me [us]” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV).
What should we do today because of what Jesus did for us?
“Love was compressed for all history
in that lonely figure on the cross,
who said that he could call down angels
at any moment on a rescue mission,
but chose not to – because of us.
At Calvary, God accepted his
own unbreakable terms of justice.”