The Lord’s Supper (or Communion) is when we take time each month to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf and remember his great love for and forgiveness to us. We are currently in the midst of a series of monthly posts during which we are exploring the depth of Jesus’ sacrifice by considering his seven last words on the cross. The following reflection was shared at our Good Friday Service on March 25, 2016, by one of our church members and Deacons, Katherine Horvath.
“Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I thirst.’” —John 19:28
If one had to choose an understatement from all of the last phrases of Jesus, this would probably be the one. Of course Jesus was suffering undeniable physical agony:
- His skin and muscles had been shredded by many lashes from the Roman whip laced with metal and stone shards.
- Long, sharp thorns circled His head, having been beaten firmly into place.
- His wrists and feet had been hammered through and held and hung by metal spikes.
- In order to open His diaphragm to breathe He had to agonizingly push up on the long spike which held His feet – and most of HIs body weight.
- He was only minutes from death.
And so, “I thirst” seems to be a surprising, unexpected thing for Him to say. One would normally expect someone in His condition to say something like, “I’m in pain; I’ll take that numbing mix of wine & myrrh after all!” or “I can’t breathe; give me air!” But instead He simply said, “I thirst.”
He thirsted for water to be sure, but is there something else He also thirsts for?
Earlier Jesus talked about food. And that true “food”, for Him, was doing His Heavenly Father’s will. And here, we see, that by allowing His life to be taken in substitute for repentant sinners, indeed He was doing God’s will. He wanted only what God wanted – that was His greatest hunger and thirst.
So yes, He thirsted for water, but He thirsted even more for the souls of those He was dying for. He thirsted for every soul that God made or would make – and He would be parched until their sins were fully paid for – and until everyone who would, would “come unto Him” and receive His forgiveness and salvation.
Since I am in Christ through faith in what He did on the cross, what do I thirst for? What do we thirst for?