After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!"
[New King James Version]
The words “I thirst” or “I am thirsty” are very common to us, because we have all heard our children utter them at any and every moment they could. We are familiar with the need of refreshment and we are willing to sympathize with and respond to such a request because it is easy to fulfill. However, here in our text the person making such a request is not one of our children, us ourselves, or someone we know, but it is the cry of Christ Jesus. By the time we make it to the fifth word spoken from the cross, Christ has been on the cross for six hours. Besides the constant exposure to extreme weather He has been mocked, beaten, betrayed, and is carrying the weight of the sins of the world on his shoulders. All of these circumstances coupled with His massive blood loss and dehydration cause Christ to cry out the words of verse twenty-eight in our text, “I Thirst”.
It was the flesh (or the humanity) of Christ Jesus that was thirsting, but it was not for physical water. Jesus did not need His physical thirst quenched, because he created the oceans, rivers, rain and the cup the water would be put in. He did not need physical water because he was the water of life. Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:14, “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." In John 6:35 Jesus said, “And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” Jesus said in John 7:37-38, “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." He did not need physical water because He could have just spoke a word or lifted His brow and rain would have fallen from heaven to quench his thirst and cool his agony. He was not requesting physical refreshment, but the soldiers misunderstood His words and in verse, twenty-nine offered Him vinegar to drink.
My brothers and sisters we must understand that it was not a physical need but a spiritual longing. Three very important things stand out about the thirst of Christ Jesus.
1. Christ was thirsting to restore humanities relationship with God.
Genesis 1:27 says that man was created in God’s image and likeness and had a relationship with God, but sin robbed the world of peace and tranquility when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit and were expelled from the Garden of Eden. It was sin that caused the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah t be destroyed by fire. It was sin that caused the earth to be destroyed by a flood and only Noah his family and some animals were saved. It was sin that caused David to cry out in Psalm 51:10 and say, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right spirit in me”. Sin had put up a barrier between man and God and placed a bounty on humanity that was spelled out in Romans 6:23 that said, “The wages of sin is death”. Sin had removed man from his former position with God and made him God’s enemy. Man tried to break down this barrier with the blood of bulls, goats, doves and lambs, but just could not wash away the stain of sin. Sin had left humanity sick, feeble, and deprived of strength. However, I can here Jesus saying, “Father prepare me a body, I’ll go down and redeem man”. We find Jesus here in our text hanging on the cross to restore the relationship between man and God. Romans 5:10, 11 says, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” The words reconcile or reconciliation in these verses simply means through Christ death on the cross the barriers were broken down!
2. Christ was thirsting for man to be filled with the Spirit of God.
My brothers and sisters Jesus knew when the Spirit came all who believed on Him would receive the Spirits Inward witness; the Spirit would shine in the believer’s heart, lead them into a full knowledge of God, and remind them of what He said. John 14:26 says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 15:26 says, “"But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” Jesus knew the spirit would give all believers power for service. Acts 1:8 says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." The Spirit would illuminate or enlighten us to God’s truth. John 16:13 says, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” The Spirit of God would lead men to truly worship God. John 4:23-24 says, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." God would send the Paraclete (His Spirit) because He knew the disciples and all believers would need: comfort, support, strength, and encouragement. John 14:16-18 says, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
3. Finally, Jesus was thirsting so we would not thirst.
Jesus endured the thirst because He knew as we read in Revelation 7:16 in heaven, “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore.” He endured the thirst so, “The sun would not smite you by day or the moon by night.” He endured the thirst so, “God could wipe the tears from our eyes.” He endured the thirst so we could say, “I have been young and now am old; yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed beg bread.” He endured the thirst so you could say, “My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory”. Is there anybody here who is glad Jesus endured the thirst? Songwriter said, He would not come down from the cross just to save himself. He decided to die just to save me!