Summary: Though it will take an eternity to reveal all that happened when Jesus Christ died on the Cross let’s briefly look at the Christ culminating His earthly work & ministry.
JOHN 19: 28-30
THE VICTORY ACCOMPLISHED
[Matthew 27: 51-52]
When I approach the Cross of our Lord Jesus and attempt to understand it, I increasingly feel inadequate, baffled by a mystery so vast, so deep, so high, so wondrous, that it seems impossible to fully comprehend it. Along with that increased realization of the cross importance and mystery there grows in my heart an increasing sense of its necessity, its perfection, and its eternal glory.
It is now afternoon and God has darken the sky. Jesus has uttered, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani." "My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" We continue standing before the cross in the heavy darkness until Jesus proclaims, "It is finished!" Though it will take and eternity to reveal all that happened when Jesus Christ died on the Cross let’s briefly look at the Christ culminating His earthly work and ministry [W. Wiersbe, Bible Exposition Com. Vol. 1, 385].
I. SCRIPTURE AFFIRMED, 28.
II. SUFFERING ACKNOWLEDGE, 29.
III. SALVATION AVAILABLE, 30.
As Jesus life draws to a closing climax He voices the realization that He has fulfilled His work and Gods Word in verse 28. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, "I am thirsty."
"After this" signifies a short interval. There was a little time between this statement and the last. Jesus fourth of His seven sayings from the cross was, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" is not recorded by John (Mt. 27:46; Mark 15:34). John alone recorded the fifth saying of the Cross, I am thirsty.
Having already spoken the first four sayings of the Cross, Jesus knew that the end was at hand and His earthly work for others was now done. [The grammar makes it is unclear whether to fulfill the Scripture applies to the preceding knowing that all things had already been accomplished or with the following "I am thirsty." It can and certainly does applies to both. [Morris, NIC, 1971, p 813.] Yet there is no doubt that the wording in John 19:28 indicates that Jesus was fully conscious and was aware of fulfilling the details of prophecies (Pss. 42:1-2; 63:1). ["Knowing" is a perf. passive ptc.]
Jesus is fully cognizant of the fact that the work He has been sent to the world to do has been accomplished [tetelestai, finished, completed, done]. He had revealed the Fathers name, gathered those given to Him, and exhibited Gods love and revealed His Word. All is accomplished. He also knows that these things are a fulfillment of Gods plan; the cross is the final portion of the work God has sent Him to finish.
Jesus had hung on the cross for six earthly hours, but into those hours an eternity was compressed. He has just emerged from three hours of darkness during which He was separated from God the Father undergoing the unparallel suffering of the wrath of God against sin so that He might deliver His people from it. With His mind clear and memory unimpaired, He looked over the whole scope of messianic prediction and saw that only one prophetic Scripture remaining for Him to fulfill during His first advent.
The Saviors mind had turn to Scriptures so constantly in His life that they were in His mind and heart at His death. He indeed live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. [Pink, Best of Arthur, p. 366 - see 361 for Scriptures fulfilled.]
Now that the need of mankind had been meet, He could look to His own need. The utterance "I Thirst" leaves His parched lips expressing His true physical and spiritual condition. Thirst is one of the severe agonies of the crucifixion.
The paradox of the One who is the Water of Life (John 4:14; 7:38-39) dying in thirst is striking. A cry of thirst is remarkable from the one in whom rivers of living water run (7:37). Jesus had said, "Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst" (4:14). The source of living water now thirsts! Elsewhere when John uses the language of "thirst" it refers to His work as the One who can satisfy all thirst (4:13 15; 6:35; 7:37). So to satisfy the thirst of who so ever would come to Him and drink, Jesus here suffered this burning thirst. Perchance the spiritual aspect of this thirst is best reflected in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:20. Remember that it was by His suffering that the Messiah was perfected (Heb. 2:10; 5:7ff).
[Other Paradoxes of the Passion