Summary: A Lenten sermon for a series on the 7 Last Words of Christ.
“I Am Thirsty”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer
Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN
We often speak of the Cross of Jesus Christ as a stark tragedy; as the most awful, wicked, and incongruous thing that ever happened on this planet.
And, in a sense, we are right!
Almighty God comes to earth, lives as a human among humans—and He is whipped, spat upon, pierced with nails, and hung on a tree to die—by the very creatures He created!!!
It’s almost too shocking to be credible!
It is indeed, the most ‘out of place thing’ which has ever happened on this planet.
And yet, while that is true, it is only half the truth.
Even though it seems as if it just doesn’t fit…well…in some ways it does fit.
Did not Christ tell us in John Chapter 15: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus has shown us the greatest love of all…
…proving God’s love for us!
The first explanation Jesus ever made about His dying—after He had risen from the dead—was while He was walking to Emmaus with two disciples who didn’t recognize Him and who were stunned by all that happened on Calvary…
…Jesus was trying to explain to them why the Cross had to be…
… “Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
In other words… “Can’t you see the fittingness of this?”
“Don’t you see that this is what had to happen… ‘For God so loved the world.’”
In the Epistle to the Hebrews we read about Jesus that: “he had to be made like [you and I] in every way.”
And in the same Epistle we read: “In bringing many [children] to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.”
It was fitting.
So there is the sublime paradox…
…a great crime; a great love.
A vast incongruity; a lovely congruity!
The world’s worst; heaven’s best!
And so as He hung from the Cross, “knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.”
“I am thirsty”…
…Where have we heard that before?
Oh, I know. It was back about 15 Chapters earlier.
Jesus was on a journey through Samaria, and “tired as he was from the journey” he sat down by a well.
And a woman, an outcaste, a lost and lonely soul came to the well at the very same time and Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?,” but we never do find out how long it takes for Jesus to get a drink from that well because Jesus and the woman get into a long conversation…
…and then Jesus offers the woman something He calls “living water,” and she hasn’t a clue what He’s talking about!
But Jesus tells this woman that the living water He will give her will quench her thirst forever.
And since, in ordinary everyday language, to a Jew the term living water meant water from a stream…
…the woman took Him literally.
But Jesus wasn’t talking about physical water was He?
He was speaking metaphorically.
For the Jews had another way of using the word “water.”
They often spoke of the “thirst” of the “soul” for God; and they often spoke of quenching this thirst with “living water.”
Anyway, at the heart of all this, there is the fundamental truth that in the human heart there is a thirst for something that only Jesus Christ can satisfy!!!
Yeah, this goes way beyond just regular old thirst.
We are all thirsty, are we not?
And we are all going to try and quench our thirst with something.
Lots of young people try and quench their thirst with drugs and alcohol, but they find themselves even more thirsty and unhappy than before…
…but the cycle continues because they continue to thirst.
Other people try to quench their thirst with big paying jobs, big expensive houses, big fancy cars…
…yeah, we like BIG…
…‘Cause we have got a BIG thirst…
…but no matter what we do we are always thirsty again, are we not?
Sometimes, as Christians, we miss our daily devotional schedule, and take a long time to get back on track.
And we find ourselves becoming thirsty.
Perhaps, we have started to become kind of “spotty” in our church attendance…
…and we find that we are thirsty for something…
…we are not as satisfied as we once were.
A year or so ago, I was going through a rough time spiritually and then I bought a new devotional book by Laurence Stookey called: This Day: A Wesleyan Way of Prayer.