Summary: The thirst of Jesus on the cross reminds us that Jesus is human - which makes Him eligible to take our place and our punishment.
Talk about the effect of the drought in Australia
We understand what happens when you remove water from the land.
We have this vast land called the outback. Beautiful yet it can be deadly.
Move on to drought in other nations.
Everyone in Australia has relatively easy access to water, even those in the outback.
But that isn’t the case in other countries.
The lack of clean safe drinking water is the world's No 1 killer. To fight this global problem the United Nations has proclaimed the decade 2005 to 2015 as the International Decade for Action, "Water for life".
Thirst. All of us have experienced it in some way … some of us really know what real thirst is like. It is a natural human response … a very human response. Now let’s read our text.
Stop and think for a moment about some of the sayings which Jesus spoke on the cross.
Father forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.
My God. My God. Why have You forsaken Me?
It is finished.
These are sayings of power aren’t they. They are in character and appropriate for the occasion. Then we get to the words of Jesus in our text ... verse 28.
It seems so mundane.
And that is precisely the point. Just when we think we have the cross nicely packaged, we are given a little reminder:-
Don’t forget that Jesus was human. He had flesh. He knows what it means to be like us.
These words of Jesus show how much Jesus wants to identify with us … and also how willing He is to suffer so that we might be saved. Let’s have a closer look at these words and see just how Jesus does that.
Let’s start by asking the question
What is the cause of Christ’s thirst?
Jesus thirsts because of the physical circumstances He was faced with.
It is quite possible that the last drink Jesus had was at the Passover – early in the previous night. And, since that time, His body has endured much.
His head has been pierced by the crown of thorns.
He has been beaten with a wooden staff.
He has been whipped with lashes across His back.
His hands and feet have been pierced with nails and every time He moves a sharp pain flows through them.
His arms are aching from the need to lift His body so He can breathe.
His chest cavity would be screaming as it fights to take another mouthful of precious air.
Crucifixion is not an easy death. If you were close enough you would hear blood dripping onto the ground into a slimy mess at the base of the cross. No wonder Jesus had a parched mouth and a burning throat – I thirst.
But the physical pain was not the only cause of His thirst.
Jesus thirsts because of the spiritual circumstances He was faced with.
Let’s remember that this fifth word is spoken after the 3 hours of darkness.
And that means the 3 hours of darkness have already passed.
And that means the cry My God. My God. Why have You forsaken Me? has already passed His lips.
And that means Jesus has gone through the agony of having the Father pour our His anger against sin.
It is not a small thing to face the anger and wrath of God.
Nahum 1:6 says Who can withstand His indignation? Who can endure His fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before Him.
Psalm 2:12 says His wrath can flare up in a moment.
and in Romans 8:32 we are reminded He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all.
No wonder Jesus cries out, “I thirst”.
He has gone to the extremes of pain and endurance.
He has been rejected by men. He has been rejected by God.
Jesus thirsts. Not just because of the physical pain, but also because of the spiritual torment He has just endured.
At times it seems like madness … but there is method to the madness.
Even though he has been dead for quite a while many people still know who Steve Irwin is … he is the crocodile hunter. Most people who saw what he did thought he was crazy.
When he saw the world’s most dangerous, venomous snake he had to pick it up and touch it.
When Steve saw an angry, killer crocodile in a river he would jump in the water with it.
Basically he would get as close as he could. He invaded the environments of these animals so he could understand them, know them, and better help them. It seems like madness, but the madness had a purpose.