Summary: examine the cry form the cross "I thirst"
"I THIRST." These words were spoken by the suffering Saviour a little before he bowed his head and gave up the spirit.
"I thirst." What a text for a sermon! A short one it is true, yet how comprehensive, how expressive, and how tragic! The Maker of heaven and earth with parched lips! The Lord of glory in need of a drink! The Beloved of the Father crying "I thirst!" What a word is this!
"I thirst." The fact that this is recorded as one of the seven cross-utterances of our Lord suggest that it is a word of precious meaning, a word to be treasured up in our hearts, a word deserving of meditation. We have seen that each of the previous sayings of the suffering Saviour have much to teach us, surely this one can be no exception. What then are we to gather from it? What are the lessons which this fifth cross-word teaches us?
I. Here we have the son of man ---- suffering
Here I have a confirmation (a display) of Christ’s humanity. The Lord Jesus was God, but he was also man. "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16). The Lord Jesus was not a divine man, nor a humanized God; he was the God-man. Forever God, and now forever man.
When the Beloved of the Father became incarnate he did not cease to be God, nor did he lay aside any of his divine attributes, though he did strip himself of the glory which he had with the Father before the world was. In the incarnation the Word became flesh and tabernacled among men. He ceased not to be all that he was previously, but he took to himself that which he had not before - perfect humanity.
The one born at Bethlehem was the divine Word. The Incarnation does not mean that God manifested himself as a man. The Word became flesh; he became what he was not before, though he never ceased to be all he was before. The babe of Bethlehem was Immanuel - God with us -he was more than a manifestation of God, he was God manifest in the flesh. He was both Son of God and Son of Man. Jesus was not two separate personalities, but one person possessing two natures - the divine and the human.
While here on earth the Lord Jesus gave full proof of his deity. He spake with divine wisdom, he acted in divine holiness, he exhibited divine power, and he displayed divine love. He read men’s minds. A word from him and disease fled, storms was stilled, and the dead were raised to life. So truly was he God manifest in the flesh, he could say, "he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father."
However, while he tabernacled among men, the Lord Jesus gave full proof of his humanity - sinless humanity. He entered this world as a babe and was "wrapped in swaddling clothes." As a child, we are told, he "increased in wisdom and stature." As a man he was "wearied" in body. He was "an hungered." He "slept." He "wept." In our text he cried, "I thirst." This gave evidence of his humanity. God does not thirst. The angels do not. In glory, "they shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore" (Revelation 7:16). However, we thirst now because we are human and living in a world of sorrow. Christ thirsted because he was man. Thirst is part of the suffering of humanity.
I derive consolation from His suffering. Because Christ suffered as man, he can sympathize with his suffering people.
The cross shows us that God is not ignorant of our sorrows. The cross tells us God is not indifferent to pain for the Saviour he experienced it!
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted (or tried) like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). Our Redeemer is not one so removed from us that he is unable to enter into our sorrows, for he was himself "the Man of Sorrows."
"Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest" (Heb. 2:17).
II. Here we have the servant of Christ - yielding
The Saviour thirsted, and he who thirsted could have exercise his power to satisfy his need. He that had caused the water to flow from the smitten rock for the refreshment of Israel in the wilderness, had the same infinite resources at his disposal now. He who turned the water into wine at a word, could have spoken here and met his own need. But he never once performed a miracle for his own benefit or comfort. When tempted by Satan to do so, he refused. Why did he now decline to satisfy his pressing need? Why hang there on the cross with parched lips? Because in prophecies of the Bible which expressed God’s will, it was written that he should thirst.