I thirst


Jesus’ fifth saying on the Cross was an expression of his need (not want). To thirst is to yearn for a drink. Imagine you are in a desert and you are parched… You would give anything to have a drop of water.

In this fifth saying, Jesus’ thirst could have been a mere expression of his physical thirst after enduring the scourging, stripping and crucifixion. Servants of God, including I (the least of the servants), have exposited on this saying and attempted to explain what Jesus could have meant by this curt expression. One explanation is the yearning of Christ for the souls of men, which is substantiated by the verse that God desires (longs for) all men to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

As I meditated on this and pondered, I wondered, Jesus had drunk the cup of God’s wrath (Matthew 26:39), so what did he thirst for? Jesus had told the woman at the well, that the Holy Spirit of God was the living water (John 7:39), whom he could pour into her life so that she would never thirst again (John 4:13-14). Now he himself was thirsty. Was it because his own Holy Spirit could not be with him in his earthly form for he had become sin (2 Corinthians 5:21)? He expressed that he was forsaken by God, and he cried out My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Was the first address of My God, to God the Father and the second address of my God, to God the Holy Spirit – both the personas of God who were not with Christ Jesus (God the Son). I can only imagine. The more I pondered, the more I realized that Jesus’ thirst is likely for his own Holy Spirit – so that he would never have to thirst again. We know that his Holy Spirit responded to his yearning cry, for Jesus’ last act on the Cross was to commend his Holy Spirit into the Holy hands of God the Father.

Points to ponder:
Do we yearn for the Holy Spirit of God to indwell in us, so that we may never thirst again? Does our soul long for God as a deer pants for water, yearning and crying out to God, “I thirst for God” as he thirsted for us on the Cross. Jesus said, “I thirst” and expects you and me to do the same for him.

John 19:28 (KJV)
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

John 4:13-14 (KJV)
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Woman, behold thy son! … Behold thy mother!


Jesus’ third saying from the Cross was directed to his mother and to his beloved disciple who was standing by her. To her, he said, “Woman, behold thy son!” and to him, he said, “Behold thy mother!” The action verb in both these statements is “Behold”. This word is a word that is a call to attention and literally has it roots from combining the words “be” and “to hold”. It is more than just a glance or a look – it means to keep the gaze on and to hold on to that sight.

As part of dispensing his duties (as any Son should), in this saying, Jesus was profoundly establishing a truth – the truth of holding on in sight to relationships – never losing focus on familial relationship.

Points to ponder:
To all those who have believed in Jesus, and who have received and accepted him, God has given them the power to be called the sons (children) of God (John 1:12). In other words, we are part of God’s family, if we believe and receive Jesus Christ, to be our Lord and Savior. God is reminding us to look at and hold on to that familial relationship, we have with God.

The Bible makes it amply clear that this is what we are counseled and commanded to do – Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame (Hebrews 12:2a). Notice how this rendition is “looking” and not just “look”, implying that this is a constant action – to behold – to keep the gaze – to hold on in view.

To the Church, the Woman (bride of Christ), God, the Father is saying, Behold his Son, Jesus Christ – looking on to him perpetually. What are you beholding?

John 19:26-27 (KJV)
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Today shalt thou be with me in paradise


Jesus’ second saying from the Cross was “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” It was said to a criminal who hung next to him. This criminal recognized the innocence of Jesus for he said that “this man has not done anything amiss” and then quickly recognized that Jesus was not just the son of man, but the Son of God for he recognized him as Lord and King for he said “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” I have expanded on this saying a few times in the past. This was the criminal’s salvation experience. It also expresses that man is saved by faith (believing in the Lordship and Kingship of Christ) and not be works, for the criminal did not have anytime to go do any good works or even publicly profess his faith by baptism, yet Jesus assures him with words of blessed assurance that he shall be with him. What powerful words? “Be with Christ”.

Points to ponder:
In the book of Acts 4:12-13 we read that when the disciples (Peter and John) boldly proclaimed that there was no other name, except Jesus, by which man can be saved, the people took notice of this and marveled that such unlearned men spoke with such boldness and realized that these men had been with Christ. What a testament? These men had been with Christ. Can that be said of you and me?

Jesus said, “You shall be with me” to a criminal (wrongdoer) and those words are words that ring true even today to each one of us, who are sinners (wrongdoers), if we believe in his Lordship and Kingship. He will be with us when we believe in Him. And to all those who have believed, if Christ is with us, do we boldly proclaim his salvation to others, so that they take notice of us and marvel saying that “We have been with Jesus.” Think about it.

Luke 23:38-43 (KJV)
38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews.
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Acts 4:12-13 (KJV)
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

 

Return and Submit to Authority


Genesis 16:9 states that the angel of the Lord (pre-incarnate Christ) told Hagar, who was running away from her mistress, Sarai, to return and submit to the authority of Sarai (under her hands). Interestingly, just before the angel of the Lord commanded Hagar to return and submit, he had asked Hagar, where she was going? Hagar had not responded to this question and irrespective of where she was set out to go, the angel of the Lord, answered this question for her.

Herein is a lesson, we all ought to learn, which is about returning and submitting to authority – authority that God has ordained over us, on one hand, but more importantly, to the ultimate authority over all – the authority of God (2 Chronicles 20:6; Psalm 47:8).

Points to ponder:
Jesus is the ultimate authority over all (1 Corinthians 15:27) for God has put everything under Jesus’ feet and gave him to be the head over all things to the Church (Ephesians 1:22). While it is important and necessary for us to submit to governing authorities that God has allowed over us (Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13), it is even more important for us to return and submit to the authority of God, of Jesus Christ, the ruler over all. Jesus laid the best example for us to follow, for he submitted to the authority of God by declaring that “Into (or you can say under) God’s hands, he commended his Spirit” (Luke 23:46). Let us return and submit to the authority – the Ultimate Authority – Jesus Christ.

If God was to ask us today, where are you going? Let our answer and action be, “Returning to Submit to God’s authority.” Let us be able to truly say, “Lord God, Into your hands, I commend my all – heart, soul, strength, and mind”

Genesis 16:9 (KJV)
And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.

Cross Verbs – Calling to Action :: 7th saying from the Cross


This is the 7th post of the series, Cross Verbs >> Calling to Action, which is a look at the 7 sayings of Jesus Christ from the Cross, with an “action” perspective, for faith without action is dead (James 2:17). What is of note is that each saying has a verb in it, implying an action of Jesus Christ, the Lord, and what’s more, is that his action calls for our action.

Saying Seven: “Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit.
The Cross verb today is “commend”.

To “commend” is to entrust or to give in charge of and here we see that Jesus commended his spirit to God willingly, trusting God to be in charge of his spirit, after the life he had lived on earth in human form, would ebb away, so that God would resurrect him from his death.

Points to ponder:
The Cross verb “commend” calls us to action – to entrust God with the spirit, the Holy Spirit that God has given to all who believe, so that the Spirit is always victorious over the flesh. We need to commit the spiritual things to God first so that the physical things can be taken care of, for we are commanded to seek God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). We are called to “commend” as Jesus commended, trusting God to keep us alive, even if life on earth as we know it now, ebbs away. Are you and I a commender?

Prayer: God, let me always remember and recognize that the spiritual things matter more than the physical and I commend my spirit that you have earnestly deposited in me, for I have believed in your Son, Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus, I give you charge over all aspects of my life, both spiritual and physical … you take and be in control. Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit.  

Luke 23:46 (KJV)
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Cross Verbs – Calling to Action :: 6th saying from the Cross


This is the 6th post of the series, Cross Verbs >> Calling to Action, which is a look at the 7 sayings of Jesus Christ from the Cross, with an “action” perspective, for faith without action is dead (James 2:17). What is of note is that each saying has a verb in it, implying an action of Jesus Christ, the Lord, and what’s more, is that his action calls for our action.

Saying Six: “It is finished.
The Cross verb today is “finish”.

Jesus’ word, “Tetelastai” which is to mean, “It is finished”, affirmed that the work that God has sent him to do, which was to reconcile mankind with God, was complete. There was nothing else left to be done. He finished the work so that we do not have to.

Points to ponder:
The Cross verb “finish” calls us to action – to first fix our eyes if Jesus and to stay on the course of our faith, keeping it and finishing the race, setting aside any weight that encumbers and pull us down and any sin that besets us.  Jesus finished the act of reconciling God with man and is the author and finisher of our faith. We can finish the work that God has given us to do which is to share the gospel of Christ, who saves all who believe in him, by grace, through faith in him, because Christ Jesus is a finisher. We are called to “finish” for it is only the finisher (and not the quitter) that receives the praise and the victor’s crown. Are you and I a finisher?

Prayer: Lord, let me not be a quitter, but let me be like you – being able to finally proclaim, “I have fought a good fight (as you did bearing our Cross), I have finished the course (as you boldly proclaimed – It is finished) and I have kept the faith (as you have demonstrated, how great your faithfulness is, in accepting us, an adulterous people).”  Lord Jesus, I thank you, that you who began the good work in me, would complete it, and I pray that you be with me (as you have promised) and help me be a finisher. 

John 19:30 (KJV)
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Cross Verbs – Calling to Action :: 5th saying from the Cross


This is the 5th post of the series, Cross Verbs >> Calling to Action, which is a look at the 7 sayings of Jesus Christ from the Cross, with an “action” perspective, for faith without action is dead (James 2:17). What is of note is that each saying has a verb in it, implying an action of Jesus Christ, the Lord, and what’s more, is that his action calls for our action.

Saying Five: “I thirst.
The Cross verb today is “thirst”.

It is no surprise that Jesus physically thirsted after all the agony of torture and the crucifixion that he had endured, but we must be careful to not merely overlook this as just an expression. The Bible records that Jesus expressed his thirst as a way to show that all scripture (prophecy) had to be fulfilled (John 19:28). Jesus’ thirst was to fulfill God’s will in his life. Furthermore, isn’t it ironic to notice, that the one from whom could flow the living waters was now needing to be quenched? The Bible records the Holy Spirit of God to be the living waters that flow from the one who believes in Jesus (John 7:38-39). When Jesus became sin on the Cross (2 Corinthians 5:21), the Holy Spirit of God, that had descended upon him in his baptism, could no longer reside with Christ, for what communion can holiness (righteousness) have with sin (unrighteousness), or light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14). So in a spiritual sense, it is extremely likely that Jesus thirsted for the companionship and comfort of the Holy Spirit of God, when he was God forsaken – Father and Holy Spirit forsaken.

Points to ponder:
The Cross verb “thirst” calls us to action – to thirst to fulfill the will and purpose of God, in the physical elements of our life, but more importantly, it is imperative for us to always have a thirst for the Holy Spirit of God. When we sin, God’s Spirit cannot indwell in our lives (1 Samuel 16:14) and our lives can be deemed Ichabod (1 Samuel 4:21). So like David, we need to repent and thirst for a clean heart and God’s right(eous) Spirit within us (Psalm 51:10).
Jesus thirsted so we can thirst. God’s thirst calls for us to thirst. Are you thirsty?

Prayer: Lord, because of my sin, do not forsake  me Lord, for your love is unfailing, your grace indescribable and your mercy unending and enduring. Let me thirst, not just physically, but let me thirst to be renewed by Holy Spirit, so that you are my companionship and comfort constantly.  Lord, let me thirst … as the deer pants for water 

John 19:28 (KJV)
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

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