Introduction: In our study of our Lord’s words at Calvary, maybe it is time for a brief reality check. Perhaps you have noticed the journey with Jesus in His passion is neither pleasant nor easy. It wasn’t meant to be. This is not virtual reality where everything is based on fantasy.
In this story the people are real and the pain is real.
The plot is not imaginary, and the final results are not temporary.
The blood is genuine, not artificial.
The cross is real wood, not Styrofoam.
The words were literally spoken.
And please don’t be turned off by the time factor. Just because all this happened over 2,000 years ago, does not mean it is irrelevant in our 21st century lives.
All Christian truth revolves around the CROSS which stands for the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Extract the CROSS from Christianity, and the status of Christianity degenerates to just "another religion." No wonder the Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:2, "For I determined not to know anything among you save Christ and Him crucified." And in Galatians 6:14, he said, "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…" Do we not continue to sing this song over and over again?
He took my sins and my sorrows;
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered, and died alone.
King of my life, I crown thee now,
Thine shall the Glory be;
Lest I forget thy thorn crowned brow,
LEAD ME TO CALVARY.
Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered and bled and died;
He, our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation;
Hail Him! Hail Him! Jesus the crucified!
So, with that in mind, let us again step back into the shadows beneath the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ to grasp an even better understanding. Every word in the Bible is important, and every word is filled with meaning. There is nothing accidental in the Bible record of what took place on Calvary, God planned every DETAIL, and every PART has tremendous meaning and significance. Christ's death on the CROSS was no afterthought with God, for we read in Revelation 13:8 that Christ was "the lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
Christ had been hanging on the cross since 9:00 in the morning; it was now approaching 3:00 in the afternoon. He had been suffering the agony of crucifixion for nearly six hours. Prior to that He prayed in the Garden and was arrested. Then He was pushed through six trials and finally scourged with a whip thirty-nine times. For most of those agonizing hours, He was silent, uttering only four brief statements from the cross. We have already examined them:
FIRST: the words of FORGIVENESS, "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34
SECOND: the words of SALVATION, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." Luke 23:43
THIRD: the words of AFFECTION, "Woman behold thy Son; Behold thy mother." John 19:26-27
After His third utterance from the cross there was silence and the sky was darkened from the 6th hour or 12:00 noon until the ninth hour which would have been at 3:00 PM in the afternoon. As someone said, "it had become midnight at noonday." It was during this time that our Lord was wrestling with all the forces of evil, including the devil, and experiencing an eternity in Hell. Then beyond that, He was experiencing the rejection of His Father as He was bearing in His own body – all the sins, of all the world, past, present, and future. Thus we hear Christ’s next statement:
FOURTH: the words of ANGUISH, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46
Next, out of the darkness, He utters a fifth cry from the cross, a very human statement revealing an intensifying of His physical suffering. We discover this fifth cry in the context of John 19:25-30,
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. (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. (28) After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. (29) Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. (30) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
Again from verse 28 we read, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.” "I Thirst!" What a text for a sermon! A short one, it is true, yet how very comprehensive.
The maker of Heaven and earth, with parched lips, is now crying out for water.
The creator of all streams, springs, rivers and fountains of refreshing water Himself in need of a drink to satisfy His thirst.
The beloved of the Father is now crying, “I THIRST!"
What a scene we have at Calvary. Now from this cry, let us examine SIX truths found in Scripture.
First: In the words "I Thirst,” once again we see Christ fulfilling the prophetic Word. Again notice verse 28, "Knowing that all things were now accomplished, THAT THE SCRIPTURES might be fulfilled…."
How marvelously complete was the prophetic pre-view of Calvary! No essential item was missing from it. Every important detail of the crucifixion had been written before hand. Over 20 Scriptures from the Old Testament were fulfilled in the last 24 hours of Jesus life on earth. Here are just a few areas:
The forsaking of the disciples, FULFILLED from Psalm 31:11, “I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.”
The betrayal of a friend, FULFILLED from Psalm 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”
The silence of Jesus before His judges, FULFILLED from Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
The numbering with the transgressors, FULFILLED from Isaiah 53:12, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
The mockery of the spectators, FULFILLED from Psalm 109:25, “I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads.”
The gambling for His garments, FULFILLED from Psalm 22:18, “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”
The Lord forsaken by God the Father, FULFILLED from Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me…”
The bones not broken, FULFILLED from Psalm 34:20, “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.”
And on and on, we have these plainly foretold prophecies centuries before they came to pass. What a convincing evidence of the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures!
The prophecy of the Lord's thirst is found in one of the Messianic Psalms, Psalm 69:21, "They gave Me also gall for My meat; and in MY THIRST they gave Me vinegar to drink." Both in life and in death, the authority of the scriptures are paramount in our Lord's life.
Second: In the words "I Thirst,” we see the evidence of Christ's humanity. In I Timothy 3:16 we read, "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." In theological terms in describing the person of Christ we have a “Theanthropic” person. This title comes from two Greek words: “Theos”, meaning “God,” and “anthropos” meaning “man.”
When these two words are put together, we have the best title for Jesus Christ: the God-Man. The Lord Jesus was not a DIVINE MAN, nor a HUMANIZED GOD; He was the God-man.
In Philippians 2:5-8 we read, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” In the incarnation, Jesus did not cease to be God. The Scripture teaches that even though Jesus did become a man, He never was anything less than God. Yet for thirty-three earthly years, Jesus voluntarily gave up His own rights as God, and took on the form of a man.
Have you ever noticed in studying the Bible, when Jesus’ deity shines forth, it is not long until we have a perfect illustration of His humanity; or when His humanity shines forth, it is not long until we have a perfect example of His deity. For example:
As a human being, He tired and fell asleep in the hold of a ship, but moments later, as God, He was able to still the sea and calm the wind.
As a man, He was broken-hearted and wept at the tomb of Lazarus, but as God, He raised Lazarus from the dead.
As a man He suffered a horrible death on the cross, but as God, He was bodily and victoriously raised from the dead.
This also holds true with the SEVEN statements from the cross.
In His second statement from the cross, when He opened the door of Paradise to the dying thief, His deity was seen because only God can permit men into heaven.
But in His third statement from the cross, we see His humanity. He is dying as a woman’s son, dying with this thought on His mind: “I have a responsibility. I must see that my mother is cared for.”
In His fourth statement from the cross, we see His deity, "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me."
However in His fifth statement from the cross, we see His humanity in the words, "I thirst."
While on earth, the Lord Jesus gave full proof of His Deity.
He spoke with Divine wisdom,
He acted in Divine holiness,
He exhibited Divine power,
He displayed Divine love.
Just a word from Him and people were healed, a storm was stilled, the Devil left Him, and the dead were raised to life. Yet at the same time His sinless humanity is seen. As a man:
He was wearied in body. “…Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.” John 4:6
He became hungry. “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.” Matthew 4:2
He slept. “… he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:” Mark 4:38
He wept. “Jesus wept” John 11:35
He rejoiced. “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit…” Luke 10:21
He groaned. “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping…, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,” John 11:33
And in our text we read, "He became thirsty."
Third: In the words "I Thirst,” we see Christ suffering the presence of Hell for us. At the cross Jesus not only did battle with the devil and all the forces of evil but also with His own soul bearing the weight of all our sins, He went into Hell and suffered an eternity of Hell for each of us. In the Bible, we discover that:
Hell is a place of darkness found in Jude 13, “To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” At Calvary Jesus spent 3 hour in darkness.
Hell is a place of pain found in Matthew 13:42, “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” On the cross Jesus was in agony and pain.
Hell is a place of absence from God found in II Thessalonians 1:8-9, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (9) Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” It was during the 3 hours of darkness that Jesus felt the absence of the Father when He cried, "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?"
Hell is a place where thirst cannot be quenched found in Luke 16:24 we read where the rich man said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of His finger in the water."
On the cross, Jesus, suffering all the pains of Hell, cried, "I thirst." O’ the rich man suffered all the agony of thirst. But Jesus, on the cross, cried “I thirst” so that you and I would not have to thirst for eternity.
Why did they nail Him to Calvary's Tree?
Why? Tell me, why was He there?
Jesus the helper, the healer, the friend,
Why? Tell me, why was He there?
All my iniquities on Him were laid,
He nailed them all to the Tree;
Jesus, the debt of my sin fully paid,
He paid the ransom for me
Fourth: In the words "I Thirst,” we see the intensity of Christ's suffering. In Hebrews 12:2 we read, "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." Did you notice the words, “…endured the cross, despising the shame…” Just think again through the suffering of Christ on the cross.
There He suffered at the hands of God, as God turned His back on Christ and forsook Him.
There He suffered at the hands of the devil and against all the forces of evil during those three hours of darkness.
There He suffered at the hands of man.
O’ how He suffered at the hands of man.
In the Garden, the STRESS ripped open His capillaries and great drops of blood came from His sweat.
Thirty-nine times His back was laid open, shredded like dangling red icicles of dripping blood.
The wreath of thorns placed on His head opened up the wounds for more blood to flow out.
He was spit upon, His beard was plucked, and He was beaten so that His face was so marred, no one would recognize Him.
He was forced to carry a heavy wooden cross-member, under which He finally fainted.
He was nailed with spikes through His hands and feet onto the cross.
Is it any wonder that in His humanity, Jesus cried, "I thirst?" My friends, "I thirst" tells of the severity of the physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering that took place on the cross.
Fifth: In the words "I Thirst,” we see Christ sympathizing with us in our suffering. Over the years, I have often been asked:
“Why is there so much suffering in the world?
“Why is there so much pain, sickness and death?”
“Does God not see our suffering?”
“Does God really care for us in our suffering?”
The cross shows us that God is not ignorant of our sorrows, for in the person of His Son He has "borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows."
The Cross shows God is mindful of our DISTRESS and ANGUISH.
The Cross tells us God is not indifferent to pain, because in the Saviour HE EXPERIENCED IT!
What then is the value of these facts? Simply this that is found in Hebrews 4:16, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted (or tried) like as we are, yet without sin."
Today is your body wracked with pain? So was His, as he was “…touched with the feeling of our infirmities…”
Today are you misunderstood, misjudged, misrepresented? So was He, as he was “…touched with the feeling of our infirmities…”
Today have those who are nearest and dearest to you turned away from you? They did it to Him, as he was “…touched with the feeling of our infirmities…”
Our Redeemer is not one so removed from us that He is unable to enter, sympathetically, into our sorrows, for He was Himself "The Man of Sorrows." And yes, He was, “…touched with the feeling of our infirmities…”
Sixth: In the words "I Thirst,” we see the universal need of mankind. Whether he speaks it or not, the natural man, the world over, is crying "I Thirst!"
Why is there a consuming desire to acquire wealth?
Why is there a craving for the honors and applause of the world?
Why is there a mad rush after pleasure, the turning from one form of it to another with persistent and unwearied diligence?
Why is there the insane craze for that which is novel and new?
Why is there an eager search for wisdom and the pursuit of philosophy along with a ceaseless experimentation during life to find out why we are here, what we are to do and where we are headed?
Why is mankind like this? Because:
There is an aching VOID in the Soul.
There is something remaining in every natural man that is UNSATISFIED.
This is true of the RICH man as well as the PAUPER.
This is true of the globetrotter as well as the country rustic who has never been outside the bounds of his native area.
The world over, man is looking for that which will quench his thirst and give him PEACE. Over all the cisterns of this world are written the words, found in John 4:14 where Jesus spoke to the woman He met that day at the well, "Whosoever drinketh of this WATER SHALL THIRST AGAIN."
And so it is with the religious man or woman WITHOUT Christ. How many people, even today in churches all across this area, all across this land, and all around the world, have wearied themselves in religious observance and religious performance, and have come away finding nothing to meet their deep need! In their honesty, they are still crying "I THIRST!"
The thirst is a SPIRITUAL one. That is why natural things cannot quench it. Unknown to themselves, their soul cries out as did the Psalmist in Psalm 42:1-2 who said, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God…" God made us, and He alone can satisfy us!
So in answer to the need of the woman at the well in John 4:14 Jesus said, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him SHALL NEVER THIRST."
Christ alone can quench our thirst.
Christ alone can meet the deep need of our hearts.
Christ alone can impart that peace which the world does not know anything about.
Christ alone says, "Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
O’ come to Jesus and heed His sweet invitation. Delay not. If today you "Thirst," come believing in faith and then go out singing:
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary, and worn, and sad:
I found in Him a resting place,
And He has made me glad.
I must remind you that the eternal cry, forever and forever, of the damned, in the Lake of Fire who are suffering amid the flames of God's wrath, is "I THIRST." If Christ cried "I THIRST" when He suffered the wrath of God for but three hours, imagine what will be the that state of those who have to endure it for all eternity! When millions of years have gone by, and ten million more lie ahead, there will be that everlasting thirst in Hell which allows no relief. The cry will ever be "Father… have mercy on me, and send someone that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame."
Praise God, Jesus experienced THIRST on the CROSS, that we might drink of the water of life and thirst no more, forever! Listen to this hymn, “Never Thirst Again” written by May Agnew Stephens:
There flows from Calvary a stream
For every sinner's pain,
And he that drinketh, Jesus said,
Shall never thirst again.
Tis stream from Calvary still flows
To bless and cleanse and heal,
And he that drinketh, Jesus said,
New life and rest shall feel.
What, never thirst again?
No, never thirst again;
What, never thirst again?
No, never thirst again;
For he that drinketh, Jesus said,
Shall never, never thirst again.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon on the fifth words of Christ at Calvary "I Thirst!” then right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, would you please let me know? Please send me an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com. and in return I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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