JESUS LOOKED TO THE NEEDS OF OTHERS
He first said, “Father, forgive them.” Then he said to the criminal next to Him, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” Then he made provision for his mother, turning her over to the care of John. “After this,” he spoke words of personal need. Jesus modeled perfect love from the cross by looking to his own bodily needs last.
HE ASKED FOR A DRINK AFTER THE BATTLE WAS OVER.
John writes, “After this Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished…” (19:28). In the heat of battle, one cannot yell, “Time out,” and grab a drink. That Jesus now confesses thirst is an indication that the fight is done. He has stepped on the head of the serpent and crushed him: “He disarmed the rulers and authorities, making a public display of them” (Col. 2:14).
HE SAID IT IN FULFILLMENT OF SCRIPTURE.
According to John, Jesus spoke the words as a link with what had been prophesied about him. At no point did Jesus ever lose control. Caiaphas did, and tore his robes in anger. Pilate did, and tried to wash a guilty conscience with water. The crowd did, and shouted, “Crucify him,” like bloodthirsty dogs tearing at their victim. But the Victim never lost it. He knew what time it was (John 13:1) and what he needed to do. History was on schedule. The King was about to be crowned.
JESUS SAID, “I THIRST.”
The One who created Niagara Falls, who made the lakes in the Rockies, is now dehydrated. Humanity sinned and a human had to die. Jesus was a man, a thirsty man. He had poured out his soul to death, and He deserved to be thirsty. He had just cried, “My God, my God, why…?” That was the worst kind of dehydration, the most awful exposure, the most painful and gut-wrenching separation.
He was fulfilling the Scripture, “For my thirst they gave me vinegar” (Psalm 69:21). The soldier understood him to be asking for a drink of liquid. He gave Him some of the sour wine, the cheap stuff given to soldiers as part of their rations. Earlier it had been offered to Jesus and He had refused it. Why now? Because his work was over. He did not want to be drugged earlier, because he chose to be in full awareness of what he was doing, even in the severest pain. He needed to “taste death for everyone.” He had his taste, and now he asked for a final drink before the end. When he received it, he gained sufficient strength to cry out, “It is finished.” “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). He did what he had come to do–and he was done.