Good Friday : I Thirst

 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”

I often forget that Jesus was fully human.  He experienced life, the joys, the sorrow, the pleasures and pain that all humanity experiences.  And it is on the cross where Jesus reminds us again that his work on the cross was not just for the transactional need for atonement, but for the full relational redemption that can be found when we are found in Christ.  

We see throughout Jesus' life Jesus experiences being

  • Tired and weary in Samaria

  • Frustrated and disappointed by people’s lack of faith in Nazareth

  • Hungry in the Wilderness

  • Grieved at the death of John the Baptist

  • Angry in the Temple

  • Sad to the point of tears at the tomb of Lazarus.

  • Anxious in the garden

  • And now, on the Cross, Jesus declares his thirst.  

On the cross, Jesus is taking care of  universe altering work.  He is paying our price of sin, taking it upon Himself so that humanity, those who put their trust in Him may exchange their rags for his righteousness.  

In this moment, where Jesus, God made flesh, is doing his atoning work, we celebrate that Jesus is fully God and because of that truth this work has power to redeem and save us, to conquer sin and death forever.  The cross is where this work is being done!

But of the different statements Jesus makes on the cross, his declaration, “I Thirst” reminds us of the paradoxical reality that Jesus is not simply God’s son, God in the flesh, but that God in the flesh is fully human.  

Jesus, as God, chose to embrace the fully human experience and therefore could feel and experience what all of us humans feel and experience.    For some reason, the way God made us, we find hope and inspiration in how others navigate trials.  

  • When we read stories of POW’s and their heroism and courage in the face of unrelenting isolation and pain.

  • When we walk with a loved one who is battling cancer

  • When we see the noble reaction of people who have wrongfully lost a child or spouse due to someone else’s selfish and shortsighted choices.  

For some reason, the testimony of people walking through pain and trials stirs something in us.  

Jesus, the fully human Jesus who lived, taught, ate, slept, among the people, is now being tortured to death.  His pain isn’t numbed and as his body shuts down, he thirsts.  And his testimony of navigating his own death was done in such a way that even one of the Centurions, tasked with killing this prisoner couldn’t help but declare, “Surely, this is the Son of God.”

Jesus’ humanity was vital for his ministry as the Great High Priest

As the the incarnate son of God, being fully God, Jesus was able to make the perfect atoning sacrifice.  Jesus blood is so powerful that it, in fact, tears the curtain in two, making available the presence of God for all people!

Hebrews 4 declares that we have a Great High Priest,  but not one who can’t empathize with our weakness.  Rather, the incarnate son of God, who was fully human, embraced our weakness, experienced it, to the point of death!

Because Jesus was thirsty, because he was willing to embrace his humanity, he can empathize with our humanity.  And when we are tempted, anxious, lonely, angry, crushed, even dying, Jesus experienced all of that.  He knows in the depths of his being what that feels like.

While it was his divinity that paid the price for our sin, tore the curtain in two, gave us access to the very presence of God, it was his humanity that gave him empathy so that when we do come into His presence we will find grace, mercy and and help for our times of need.  

What does your body need?  What does your soul need?  Boldly come into the throne room of God and find a God who longs to carry your burden with you and meet you exactly where you are at.

 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”