All the ways we attempt to quench our thirst for happiness and satisfaction leave us thirsty in the end. At Calvary, the Creator of the oceans and rivers felt thirst. Pastor Lutzer points to Jesus’ humanity and submission to the will of the Father as the weight of sin rested on Him. How long will we thirst before we are truly satisfied?
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” Thank you so much for joining us today as we continue our series, “Cries from the Cross: A Journey into the Heart of Jesus.” I’ve written a book by that title and what we’re doing is we’re looking at the sayings of Jesus from the cross and today we come to number five. When Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
What a statement! The Creator of the oceans and the waves of the sea and the rivers thirsty? That sounds strange doesn’t it? Why was Jesus thirsty on the cross? Well, first of all, the cross was a terrible death. Crucifixion was horrible. Furthermore it is said that crucifixion is basically slow dehydration. You think for example of Jesus being in the dungeon overnight and then being brought to the cross and now nothing to drink. And there He is saying, “I am thirsty.”
What does it tell us about Jesus? First of all, about His humanity. We have to remember that Jesus was the God-man but here on the cross He is suffering as God and as man and as man He is thirsty and He calls out.
Now something else that takes place is it really shows the submission of Jesus. Why is He thirsty? The Bible says in the Gospel of John that He said He was thirsty to fulfill scripture. What scripture? The prophecy comes to us from Psalm 22. “I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax. It is melted within my breast. My strength is dried up like a potsherd and my tongue sticks to my jaws. You lay me in the dust of death.” And so when Jesus cried out, “I thirst” the scripture had to be fulfilled. Now when He arrived at the cross they offered Him some gall which would have acted as a sedative but Jesus rejected it. Now having said, “I thirst” they offer Him some wine vinegar which He also rejects. He feels the full import of the suffering of the cross on our behalf. But here’s my point. Jesus had to fulfill the scripture. He was committed to the scripture.
Now as we think about this cry from the cross, let me remind you that you and I are born thirsty. And there are many people who try to slake their thirst—I’m speaking about a spiritual thirst, through sexuality, through wealth, through fame. But there’s only one way that our own thirst can be slaked. And that is through Jesus Christ our Lord. And the good news is this that Jesus Christ died for us so that you and I could forever drink from the Water of Life. The issue is not whether or not we will thirst, we will thirst. The issue is how long will we thirst.
I have to share my heart with you at this point. This is very difficult for me to do but I’m reminded of the sixteenth chapter of Luke where Jesus tells the story of the rich man. Remember the rich man and Lazarus and he uses the story to illustrate how the fortunes of people can be reversed in eternity because Lazarus the poor beggar gets to be in Abraham’s bosom; the rich man goes to Hades and while he is in Hades he calls out and says, “Send Lazarus that he might dip his finger in water and put it on my tongue for I’m tormented in this flame!” And there’s no thought that I’ve ever had that has been more chilling than to realize that that man’s thirst has never been slaked. Imagine, today he is still thirsty.
I want to contrast this with the words of Jesus Christ and the scriptures that give us such encouragement, for those of us who trust the Christ who was thirsty for us, that we might not have to thirst again. We read in the book of Revelation, “They shall hunger no more, neither shall they thirst anymore. The sun shall not strike them nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb is in the midst of the throne. He will be their shepherd. He will guide them to springs of living water and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.” I can’t think of a greater contrast. A man in Hades thirsty forever, and those who trust the Water of Life—Christ, forever in His presence, drinking deeply. No wonder the Bible ends with these words from the last chapter of the book of Revelation; it says, “He who is a thirst. Let him drink of the Water of Life freely.”
If you’ve never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, if you’ve never seen Him as the Water of Life come to Him now. And as Jesus said to the woman at the well,”Those who trust Me will find within them a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” I’m so glad that Jesus was willing to be thirsty that you and I might never thirst again. Thanks so much for joining us and I hope that these messages enable you to contemplate, to worship, and as for today, you just go with God.