“I am thirsty.” John 19:28
It would seem more reasonable that we seek refreshment than thirst. Any trip to a convenience store or grocer will provide us with a wide range of beverages from upscale fine wines to bottled water. Our consumption of high calorie sodas and juices is responsible for much of our diabetic and obesity issues. In fact, often what we seek is not refreshment. Rather we indulge in our taste which results in problematic consequences.
Here we have hanging on a cross an innocent man who without proper clothing cannot enter 7-11 or Food Lion to buy a drink. He has been unjustly condemned, brutally beaten, and assaulted with insults. And now, after showing mercy to the woman who bore him, Jesus gives this one complaint of torment in John’s account of the Gospel. “I am thirsty.” I offer you tonight that the thirst of our Lord has nothing to do with not having change for a vending machine. No, this thirst comes from completing the task God had for him and a desire to fulfill the word. I challenge you that our true calling is not to over-indulge in this worlds offerings. But, to seek Thirst.
Jesus knew that everything had now been completed. He said all and done all he was called to do as the Messiah on earth. He humbled himself to be baptized by one he could have baptized himself and kept wine at a wedding party. His compassion went to a Pharisee and Samaritan woman who were willing to listen and learn. Where there were ill and infirmed people, He gave healing. Where some built walls with legalism, he tore them down with the word of love. He proved that God gives life in resurrecting Lazarus, gave his disciples the example of faithful service, and has combined all of the lessons, love, and power into one simple sentence. Jesus was thirsty.
The prophets declared his way would be made straight by a voice crying out in the desert. He offered living water so that no one would thirst again. His food was to do the will of the one who sent him. His very flesh became bread and blood became wine so that anyone who ate and drank of him would have eternal life. Where as the religious authorities taught only from a handed down tradition, Jesus taught as he was the word, the word was with him, and the word was him. And now the embodiment of the law, prophecy, and the pre-existing truth makes one last claim on the world that knew and received him not. “I am Thirsty.
Thirst is the condition of completion and fulfillment of God’s will in our lives. Too often we settle for foretaste of God’s glory in worship on Sundays, Wednesdays, or special conferences and concerts. And yes, the foretaste is divine. But, if we are to claim his name, we must aim for the same. The true pursuit of Christ has nothing to do with our sporadic moments of “getting a praise on.” We are called to complete his will in our lives. That is to be done with the utmost diligence and persistence. We are called to fulfill the word of God in how we live. Not being moral fearing God’s wrath. But, living in the Spirit because He is Spirit and gives his Spirit to dwell in us.
The point of thirst cannot be reached easily. It requires us to be pierced with thorns and climb a difficult hill. In spite of what we endure, we must still have compassion and seek the preservation of humanity even as ours has been shamefully mistreated. And even still, the best the world can give us is sour wine. Let us seek this thirst. Those who are thirsty shall have a refreshment and restoration that the world cannot give and never take away.
John Robert Gresham, Jr.
Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church
Moderator, Pamunkey Baptist Association
PBA Division of Clergy Good Friday Service 2012
Rock Spring Baptist Church in Manquin, Virginia