Each of the seven sayings from the Cross gives us a glimpse into the nature of Jesus Christ. In the fifth saying, Jesus shows us that he is the Yearning Christ when he said, “I thirst”.
While this saying can be studied to understand and express the humanity of Jesus, which makes it possible for God to empathize with us (Hebrews 4:15), for Jesus, like each one of us, felt weary (John 4:6), sleepy (Mark 4:38), hungry (Matthew 4:2), and expressed human emotions such as grief by his weeping (John 11:35; Luke 19:41) and sorrow (Mark 14:34; Matthew 26:38), closer reading of this Bible scripture reveals to us that this saying was a fulfillment of prophecy. A prophecy that particularly references to messianic Psalms, which king David records in Psalm 22 and Psalm 69. Psalm 22:15 states that the Messiah’s strength would be dried up like sunbaked clay and his tongue would stick to the roof of his mouth, as one would experience in extreme dehydration and thirst. Psalm 69:3 records how the Messiah’s throat will be dried and Psalm 69:21 records how he will be offered gall and vinegar to drink, which was fulfilled on the Cross (Matthew 27:34), further establishing that Jesus is the Messiah who was prophesied in the scripture.
Knowing that all things were now accomplished (John 19:28), it would have been apt for Jesus to have said “It is finished” (John 19:30), but instead, he did not want any scripture to go unfulfilled and so he aptly said “I thirst”.
When he was offered vinegar mixed with gall to quench his thirst, Jesus refused to take it (Matthew 27:34), which further establishes that it was not necessarily his physical thirst that he was interested in satisfying but his spiritual thirst. Hours ago, in deep anguish, alone in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had cried out, asking for the cup of God’s justice to be passed from him, but as the obedient Son of God and Savior of all man, he willingly accepted to drink the cup of God’s justice (Mark 14:36; Matthew 26:39) by submitting to the will of God (Isaiah 53:10). And now here on the Cross, he expresses that after knowing that he had accomplished all things, he was thirsty and yearning to drink from the cup of God, to the dregs.
Points to ponder:
Jesus yearns to fulfill the scripture and to fulfill the will of God. Jesus is the yearning Christ.
The wearied Savior offers to all who come to him that they shall find rest; eternal rest (Matthew 11:28-29) and those who are hungry and thirsty shall hunger and thirst no more i.e., they will be eternally satisfied (John 6:35), for the water he gives will be in that person a well of water springing unto everlasting life (John 4:14).
Have you drunk of the water Jesus gives? Is your spiritual thirst quenched? In other words, have you come to Jesus and believed in him? And if you have been spiritually quenched, like Jesus, are you and I yearning for doing and finishing God’s will? Can you, like the Savior, Lord and Messiah, Jesus, say “I thirst”?
John 19:28 (KJV)
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.