Summary: Fifth sermon on the seven sayings of Christ from the cross.
Jesus was crucified at 9 o’clock in the morning, and He spent the first three hours on the cross in the sunlight. Then the darkness came, and at the end of three hours of darkness, Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).
Our Lord’s first three statements were centered on others - His enemies, the thief, and John & Mary. But His last three statements from the cross were focused on Himself: His body - "I thirst" (John 19:28); His soul - "It is finished" (v. 30; Isaiah 53:10); and His spirit - "Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46). Body, soul & spirit - all were offered by the Lord Jesus Christ in obedience to the Father.
The shortest of these statements that our Lord made from the cross is the one found in John 19:28, "I thirst." In the original text, it is one word of four letters. It is the only statement in which our Lord referred to His body and His physical suffering. This simple word, however, tells us three important things about our Savior.
1. Jesus Is A Sympathetic Savior.
While Jesus was 100% divine, He was also 100% human. Because He walked upon this earth as a man, though He knew no sin, He did become very much acquainted with the difficulties of life here below. When He was a child, He probably skinned His knee a time or two. As a teenager, it is likely that He knew what it was like to not be part of the "in" crowd. Learning the carpenter’s trade in His father’s shop, He possibly had a splinter or two, and He also could very well have smashed His finger on occasion with a hammer. As a man, He knew what it was to grow tired, to be cold, to sweat, to be hungry, and, of course, He knew what it was like to be thirsty.
During an airline flight, concern over the heavy turbulence mounted until the soothing voice of the pilot came over the inter¬com: “No need to worry, folks,” he said cheerfully, “Just remember: these bumps are made of air!” We may wish the bumps we face in life were made of air, but they are not. Life is difficult; adversities are real. Physical trials sting and smart. Emotional trials leave us with unresolved baggage. Spiritual trials drain our souls.
Jesus felt the "bumps" as He lived here among men. Because this is so, we know that He understands where we are and what we are going through in our struggles in this life.
“We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all - all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” - Hebrews 4:15-16 (The Message)
One of Denmark’s leading sculptors had a burning ambition to create the greatest statue of Jesus ever made. He began by shaping a clay model of a triumphant, regal figure. The head was thrown back and the arms were upraised in a gesture of great majesty. It was his conception of Christ the King: Strong, Dominant. "This will be my masterpiece," he said, on the day the model was completed. But, during the night a heavy fog rolled into the area and sea-spray seeped through a partially opened window of the artist’s ocean-side studio. The moisture affected the shape of the model so that when the artist returned to the studio in the morning, he was shocked to find a wounded figure. The droplets of moisture that had formed on the statue created the illusion of bleeding. The head had drooped. The facial expression had been transformed from severity to compassion. And the arms had dropped into an attitude of welcome. The artist stared at the figure, agonizing over the time wasted and the need to begin all over again. But something came over him to change his mood. He began to see that this image of Christ was the truer one. Then he wrote at the base of the newly-shaped figure: "Come unto Me!"