“After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’” – John 19:28
Fastened to the cross Jesus grows weary, suffering from his journey. His body is in extreme pain, his nervous system is in shock, he has lost much of his blood. He now says, “I thirst.” He is experiencing severe dehydration. Having been beaten, flogged and forced to carry his cross before being nailed to it. He now hangs, dying among robbers and thieves.
Jesus suffering and thirst is shared by every other man being executed that day; except that, unlike every other man, Jesus suffering is part of his journey, another step in his mission, it is his vocation, his job to suffer, to thirst, and to agree to do this willingly and knowingly.
Fulfillment of Scripture
Jesus is aware that he is fulfilling scripture.
Psalm 69:3 says, “I am weary with crying out, my throat is parched.”
Psalm 22:15, “My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.”
These prophecies about Jesus from the Old Testament looked forward to this day on the cross. However, Jesus is not suffering as a byproduct of his journey to the cross. Jesus’ suffering is his journey to the cross.
A Journey of Suffering
In the beginning, the world was created perfect, without suffering, without thirst. God satisfied the needs of all his creation. But then through us, sin came into the word. And sin brought suffering. It is into this suffering world that God became a man. To journey alongside his suffering creation stricken by sin that creates a thirst for something it cannot satisfy.
Jesus weary from this earthly journey among man (Jn 4:6) now thirsts alongside them. During his journey before this day on the cross, He stopped once by a well and asked a young woman for a drink. Tired, hungry, thirsty…Jesus was not focused on satisfying his suffering. But to engage a woman who needs to her sin induced suffering satisfied.
She looked at Jesus as wondered, why? Why is he saying this? Why is he here? The answer she gets is…
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
Today, as we look upon the cross and meditate on its meaning and the words of Jesus Christ; “I Thirst,” the world continues to ask, “Why? Why are you saying this to us? Why are you even here on this cross?” “Why are we talking about this cross?” At the same time, we continue to try and satisfy our own suffering and thirst with sins deceitful schemes.
But Jesus says to us, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘I thirst,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
Jesus Suffers for Us
Jesus knows that his suffering is needed to end suffering. His thirst is necessary to end thirst.
He is accomplishing the work that His father in heaven gave him to do. The thirst he has is both physical as well as spiritual.
Jesus eagerly thirsts for our salvation. He ardently desires to satisfy our suffering-thirst for a solution to our sins.
And through Jesus suffering once for sins, he completed his journey to bring us to God and present us living water.
Jesus thirsts and suffers for us to be satisfied in Him.