40 blogs of Lent, day 38
7 words from the cross
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the Scripture), “I thirst.”A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. John 19:28-29
But made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil 2:7-8
This is the only recorded place where Jesus speaks about his sufferings. Already weakened by the torture of being whipped and crowned with thorns and the resulting blood loss, Jesus had collapsed on the way to his execution, and another man, Simon, was compelled to carry the cross for him. Now, after hanging on a cross, one of the worst forms of execution ever devised, for a long time through the hottest part of the day, Jesus says he is thirsty. That thirst must have been intense.
Thirst is human. If you are God or an angel you do not get thirsty. This is the story of the incarnation. God became man. He ate and drank, became tired, slept and became thirsty. Just like any other human in every way except sin. There is something a human can do that God cannot do. Die.
God dies. God who is from everlasting to everlasting dies.
The hyssop is significant. Hyssop was the plant used to spread the blood of the Passover lamb on door posts. The parallels may not be obvious now. But to a Jew, the passover lamb’s sacrifice saved the people. In Jesus it is the death of God himself which saves not just the Jews, but all people.
But there is an irony here. Jesus is the person who said this in Samaria:
But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:14
The one who quenches the thirst of the soul says, “I thirst.” Are you thirsty for spiritual refreshment? Come to Jesus now.