Summary: Jesus completed everything that he was given to do, and fulfilled all that Scripture had prophesied He would do. Only then does He make a statement about His own intense suffering.
March 10, 2002
Dying for a Drink
In 1991, I moved from the city of Memphis, Tennessee, population of over one million, to the town of Crossnore, North Carolina, population 258, including the stray dogs. Needless to say, I experienced significant culture shock. I was a city boy, not a mountain man, and had a difficult time adjusting to the altitude, let alone the attitude. I didn’t own a gun, had no animal heads to hang on my wall, knew nothing about NASCAR which I think is the state religion, and had never been swimming in a creek. I did learn how to do one thing while living in the mountains, other than how to talk a little bit like Billy Graham. I learned how to hike!
One hot, humid summer day I was asked to go with a group of students to hike the “Spring trail.” We parked on the side of the highway and entered the tree line and hiked for nearly an hour before we reached our destination. When I think of a spring, I picture a bubbling brook with trout jumping and deer drinking. Maybe that’s just from watching Bambi too many times! What I saw disappointed me greatly. Sticking out of the rock facing, there was a two foot long metal pipe with water dribbling out of it. I was hot and terribly thirsty. It is not what I had in mind. But then I knelt and cupped my hands under the water and drank from the spring. It was the coldest, clearest, most refreshing water I had ever tasted. It instantly satisfied my thirst. I filled up my water bottle, (city boys don’t own canteens), and stopped several times on the way down the mountain to drink and be refreshed. Have I made you thirsty yet? Good!
For the last four weeks, Pastor Brian has been teaching through the Seven Shouts from the Savior. These cries from the cross take us into the very heart of God. Last week, we shuddered as we heard Jesus quote from Psalm 22 in despair, “My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?” We felt the agony of separation as God the Father turned His back on God the Son and allowed Him to be our sin-bearer. We realized He was forsaken by God because of His Forever love for us.
Now we come to the fifth shout, the shortest of all the prophetic proclamations. One word in the Greek language that is recorded only by the beloved apostle John. We translate that word - “I am thirsty.”
Medical experts tell us that we can live for more than forty days without food. Right now, several of the Taliban prisoners in Cuba are on a hunger strike. They have given up food to make their point. But they are still drinking water. As oil is to an automobile, so is water to the human body. The body can not operate without water for very long, only about seventy-two hours. About that time, dehydration begins. The muscles begin to cramp and the kidneys shut down. Very few of us has ever been that thirsty. Very few of us understand the torture that Jesus Christ underwent on our behalf.
Three little words in English…I am thirsty…within this harsh whisper lay three vitally important points that we must understand if we are to consider whether we should put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ:
A. “I am thirsty” we observe Jesus’ PERFECT HUMANITY
B. “I am thirsty” we are witness to Jesus’ PROFOUD SUFFERING
C. “I am thirsty” we stand in awe of PROPHESY FULFILLED
Prayer: Lord, help me to teach clearly, help these people hear your words, and may you be glorified in the process. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Those outside of the church struggle with the notion that Jesus was God. They say, “he was a good man…a prophet…a moral teacher…but God in the flesh is a little too much.” They ask with cynicism, “How can a man be God?” Before you start getting proud of the fact that you believe that Jesus was God, let me point out a fact about those within the church. While we affirm the ancient creeds declaring Jesus Christ to be God Incarnate, we often struggle with the idea that he was perfectly human. We have become comfortable with the idea of Jesus calming the seas and raising the dead but bristle at the idea of Jesus being tired, or sick, or frustrated, or needing a bath.
Some time ago Pastor used this picture in one of his sermons. It is an artist’s rendition of what Jesus may have actually looked like. If I am truthful with you, that picture made me uncomfortable. He is too plain, I thought to myself. Then I remembered that Isaiah said the Messiah would look like a normal guy. You would not have been able to pick him out of a line up: