“I am thirsty”
In many ways it’s an unremarkable thing to say, all of us have said it at some point, but this was clearly very different. Jesus spoke seven times from the cross and each statement is highly significant so why are these three words important?
- It was yet another fulfilment of prophecy; “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” (Psalm 69:21). John writes that Jesus was fully aware that everything was completed, that he was about to die, and deliberately fulfilled this Scripture.
- It shows us again his humanity. These days it’s the deity of Christ that is questioned but in the centuries after his life it was his humanity. John’s first chapter laid all of those questions to rest, he was God but he became flesh (he was fully human) and on the cross, as a result dehydration from his terrible suffering, he was thirsty.
- It shows the depths of his life., Just look at some of the things he said;
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (4:13-14)
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (7:37-38)
He is the source of living water but on the cross he was thirsty. The eternal life he brings is only possible because he died. The soul satisfying living water that we drink is available because he was thirsty for us.
“It is finished.”
It wasn’t the despair of defeat; it was a shout of victory. Christ has triumphed! He did not say ‘I am finished’, he said ‘it is finished’. The work he came to do was completed, the perfect life, the perfect death, it was mission accomplished.
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary! (William R Newell)
“They will look on the one they have pierced.”
Jesus died, John wanted to make sure that everyone knew this truth so he gives us his witness statement. There is no room in any of the Gospels for the idea that Jesus passed out and woke up later in the tomb. Roman soldiers knew about executions and if they messed up they would have been crucified themselves. The body of Jesus was taken from the cross and laid in a tomb. The two men responsible for this were Joseph of Arimathea and our old friend Nicodemus. I love the thought that these two men, one of whom had visited Jesus in secret, nail their colours to the mast at the death of Jesus. It wouldn’t have been without cost, in touching a body they were excluding themselves from taking part in the Passover and we can be sure there would have been a cost in identifying with a condemned man. I think they were perhaps two of the first to look upon the crucified Christ and be changed. They certainly weren’t the last. Hallelujah!
‘I believe as they beat on his beautiful face,
He turned a torturer’s chair to an altar of grace.
Where the worst we can do met the best that God does.
Where unspeakable hate met the gaze,
Of unstoppable love.
At the crux of it all there he hangs.
I’ve placed my hope in a crucified man.’ (Graham Kendrick)