Forthright Magazine

Seven Sayings of Jesus (5)

I thirst” – (John 19:28)

A Portrait of Humanity

Thank God for MacLaren’s insightful and precious words concerning our man, Jesus:

The words of Jhn 19:28 are not to be taken as meaning that Jesus said ‘I thirst’ with the mere intention of fulfilling the Scripture. His utterance was the plaint of a real need, not a performance to fill a part.

In the light – the first three hours – Jesus was still seeking (Lk. 23:34), and saving (Lk. 23:43), and serving (John 19:26).

But then came the darkness (Mark 15:33).

In the darkness, Jesus was dying.

The effort to stay alive on the cross is a cruel paradox; the effort required to draw breath drains the life more and more. It is a grueling, losing proposition. Jesus’ pericardium was filling with fluid (as will be evidenced later by the thrust of a centurion’s spear, John 19:34).

The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia (JAMA, 1986).

In short, Jesus is slowly suffocating – drowning.

Behold, The Mighty God – Who knows no want, Who suffers no need, the Source of life, the Creator of oceans – crammed in an earthen vessel, nailed to a hideous tree, His chest filling with water, proclaiming, “I thirst.”

Again, we hear MacLaren:

The same lips that said, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink,’ said this. Infinitely pathetic in itself, that cry becomes almost awful in its appeal to us when we remember who uttered it, and why He bore these pangs. The very ‘Fountain of living water’ knew the pang of thirst that every one that thirsteth might come to the waters, and might drink.

What appears to men so strange, so weak, so unnecessary is in fact infinitely profound, powerful, and obligatory (1 Cor. 1:22-25).

“I thirst” – the cry of the immortal Deity Who created men for precious companionship.

“I thirst” – the cry of the unique Son who left heaven to find the Father’s lost children.

“I thirst” – the cry of Mary and Joseph’s helpless infant.

“I thirst” – the answer of an adolescent boy in the Temple.

“I thirst” – His rebuttal when His disciples tempted Him.

“I thirst” – the cry of our man on the cross.

Thank God for us His thirst was for more than just water.

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Rick Kelley
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