The Fifth Word from the Cross
John 19:28
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst.

This is both the shortest of all the dying utterances of Jesus, and it is the one which is most closely related to himself. It came from the parched lips of the Divine Victim towards the close of his agony, and after the darkness which endured from the sixth to the ninth hour. Most touching in itself, it has its spiritual significance for us.

I. THIS CRY REMINDS US THAT OUR LORD JESUS SHARED OUR HUMAN NATURE AND ITS INFIRMITIES. The need and desire to which expression was thus given had a physical cause and was accompanied by a physical pain. Jesus had thirsted upon his journey when he asked from the Samaritan woman a draught of water from Jacob's well. Jesus seems to have taken no refreshment from the time when he supped with the apostles in the upper room; since then he had endured the agony in the garden, had passed through the repeated examinations before the Jewish council and the Roman governor, and had hung for hours upon the cross. The bodily anguish and exhaustion of crucifixion, aggravated by his unspeakable mental distress, account for the thirst which possessed the dying Sufferer. When the refreshment was offered, Jesus moistened his lips with the posca, or sour wine, offered him in the sponge raised on the stem of hyssop. This seems to have revived him, and strengthened him for the last cries which he uttered in his humiliation.

II. THIS CRY IS AN EVIDENCE OF OUR LORD'S EXTREME HUMILIATION. When we remember that Jesus was the Lord of nature, who could feed multitudes with bread, and could supply a banquet with wine; when we remember that this acknowledgment of thirst was made in the presence of his enemies and persecutors; when we remember from whom Jesus deigned to accept the draught by which his thirst was relieved; - we cannot but be impressed by the depth of humiliation to which he stooped, He was "obedient unto death;" the "things which he suffered" were unexampled. Christ not only condescended to die; he accepted death in a form and with accompanying circumstances which rendered it something more than death. His death was sacrificial, and he shrank from nothing that could contribute to make him "perfect through suffering."

III. THIS CRY INSTRUCTS US AS TO THE PRICE BY WHICH OUR REDEMPTION WAS SECURED. Our Lord's pain of body, his anguish of soul, the ignominious circumstances attending his decease, were all foreseen and accepted. This very cry was a fulfillment of an ancient prophecy; and the language of the evangelist forbids us to regard this as a mere coincidence. "By his stripes we are healed;" and we may look upon his voluntary endurance of thirst as a means of satisfying the deep thirst of our immortal spirit. At all events, in his anguish he paid the price by which his people are redeemed.

IV. THIS CRY SUGGESTS TO US A METHOD BY WHICH WE MAY, IN ACCORDANCE WITH CHRIST'S OWN DIRECTIONS, MINISTER UNTO HIM. Jesus has taught us to identify his people with himself. If love to him would find an opportunity for its display, an outlet by which it may flow forth, this is to be found in those ministrations to Christ's "little ones" which he enjoins upon those who recognize his authority and who love to please him. The cup of cold water may be given to the thirsty one in the name of a disciple. Some want may be supplied, some suffering alleviated, some wrong redressed. And they who for Christ's sake thus minister to the thirsting, the needy, the friendless, are justified in deeming themselves, so far, ministers to Christ himself. It is all as though, hearing his dying cry, they raised the refreshing draught to his parched lips. He will account the deed of charity as done unto himself. - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

WEB: After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty."

The Fifth Word from the Cross
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