“I am thirsty.” — John 19:28 (NIV)
For the past 2,000 years, many have debated who Jesus was. Many have claimed He was an extraordinary person and moral teacher. However, going by what Jesus said about Himself as recorded in the Bible, we don’t have that option, because Jesus never described Himself as just a “good teacher.” For example, Jesus made this incredible statement, “The Father and I are one.” (John 10:30 NLT) As C.S. Lewis put it, when we evaluate Jesus’ claims about Himself, we must conclude He was either a liar, a lunatic, or He was telling the truth.
Far beyond our human understanding, Jesus was both fully God and fully man. We see that human nature on display in Jesus’ final hours on the cross baking under a Middle Eastern sun. John 19:28-29 (NIV) records it this way. “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.”
Gotquestions.org further explains it this way. “The apostle John links Jesus’ statement ‘I thirst’ to the fulfillment of Scripture. There were, in fact, at least twenty Old Testament prophecies fulfilled during the twenty-four hours surrounding the Lord’s death. By highlighting how Old Testament Scriptures were fulfilled throughout Jesus’ crucifixion, John showed that everything was happening according to God’s plan.”
When Jesus said, ‘I thirst,’ from the cross, He was alluding to a prophecy in Psalm 22:15: ‘My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.’ The apostle John had cited this same psalm earlier regarding the dividing of Jesus’ garments among the Roman soldiers (John 19:23)(….)”
Earlier, Jesus refused a drink of vinegar, gall, and myrrh offered to Him to relieve His suffering (Matthew 27:34 and Mark 15:23). After that, the soldiers mockingly offered Him wine vinegar but did not allow Him to drink (Luke 23:36). But here, several hours later, Jesus states, “I am thirsty,” thus asking for a drink. This time, the soldiers give Him some. This action was a fulfillment of Psalm 69:21: “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst(….)”
There is another, very practical reason Jesus says, ‘I thirst,’ from the cross. The Lord asks for a drink so that He might clearly and powerfully declare His final statement, ‘It is finished.'”
Knowing Jesus’ humanity can help us in a practical, daily way. We are constantly bombarded with temptations, distractions, and seductive voices trying to woo us away from God. Knowing that Jesus was not only fully God but also fully human, we can take comfort that He can identify with our weaknesses and temptations. As Hebrews 2:18 (NLT) puts it: “Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.”
At this Easter season, have you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ?