After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, "I am thirsty."John 19:28(NASB)
No doubt after many exhausting hours on the cross and following the humiliating trials, the cruel beatings, the merciless floggings and the excruciating pain that seared through His body – no doubt the Lord’s throat was parched, as His tongue was stuck to the roof of His mouth. But the depth of meaning behind His words, I thirst, must never be overlooked.
Christ was the Lamb of God Who had paid the full price for the sin of mankind so that the full measure of God’s wrath submerged Him in all but one part of the Law, which had not yet been fulfilled and without which His perfect life and substitutional death could have become the topic of philosophical debate – for Christ was to fulfil the whole Law and carry out all prophetic scriptures in every detail.
All the legal requirement that were listed in the Mosaic Law with regard to the Passover Lamb, the sin offering, His high priestly office and His genealogical heritage had all been fulfilled to the letter and many hundreds of additional prophecies in connection with this Person and Mission had already been fulfilled in minute detail but in Psalm 69 we are told: they gave Me vinegar for My thirst. In order for this part of the Messianic Psalm to be fulfilled, necessitated Lord Jesus Christ receiving a sip of vinegar for His thirst – and so He called out I thirst, so that scripture might be fulfilled in all details of His life and every facet of His death.
Earlier He has tasted but refused the original mocking offer of wine mixed with gall, for this would deaden His pain and cloud His thinking. Our Lord was to remain fully conscious as He drained the Father’s cup of bitterness so that every scripture might be fulfilled to the letter, as it was written by the prophets of old. And so Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished – cried out: I thirst, in order to fulfil the Scripture.
And so it was that a jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips – so that along with every other prophetic scriptures that related to His first coming - this prophecy was also fulfilled.
Oh yes there was indeed an eternal reason that Jesus called out I thirst at the particular poignant point as He hung on the cross. For three long dark hours the wrath of God had been poured out in full measure on the eternal son of God so that by faith in His death, burial and resurrection we might be forgiven of our sin and made one with Him. But in order that ALL scripture might be fulfilled and not one jot or tittle of the Law or the prophets be overlooked – Jesus said I THIRST.
Though higher critics delight to scrutinise scriptures in an attempt to spiritualise the Word or discover some small place of discrepancy, while other foolish and liberal-minded men attempt to discover some scriptural contradiction, in order to discredit the Word God and His Christ, we can stand firm on Christ’s finished Work - for He is the end of the Law and the fulfilment of all prophecy - in order to bring righteousness to everyone who believes.
Christ completed every prophetic utterance and the righteous requirement of the Law and His death for you and for me paid the full price. Indeed, had one small section of the Law or the Prophets remained unfulfilled, His sacrifice would have been both insufficient and incomplete. and our faith would have been in vain. But praise God that Jesus cried out I THIRST as He hung on the cross, before He bowed His head and said: into Your hand I commend My Spirit.
Loving Father it amazes me that Your Son would even call out for a drink so that all scripture concerning my salvation was made secure in Him. There are times when I foolishly doubt Your Word, but You are a faithful God whose Word can be trusted in every detail. Teach me more of You, Lord Jesus, for I want to know You better and love You more, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.