Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
“I am thirsty.” Our Lord, the creator of the universe, was thirsty. I don’t even pretend to understand the fullest meaning of that.
I do know what it’s like to be thirsty; I was thinking though, have I ever been really thirsty? I think profound thirst would be an entirely different experience than most of us have ever imagined.
But here, beaten and crucified some of Jesus’ last words were “I am thirsty?” Are those words out of place? I mean, isn’t the physical pain He’s enduring just off the charts? Well, if we could imagine some of our weakest moments, maybe some acute sickness or pain, I think any of us could see ourselves uttering what otherwise might be considered irrational statements.
But, even here, in this very human moment, in the very same sentence the Scriptures tell us there’s more. “…so that the Scripture would be fulfilled…” So, now I’m imagining Jesus rationally thinking, “Ok, now before I die, I have to remember to say ‘I’m thirsty’ so the Scriptures will be fulfilled.”
Now I realize that He isn’t fulfilling the scriptures, He is the fulfillment. His actions don’t fulfill God’s plan, He is God’s plan. He didn’t carry around a checklist: “OK, let’s see, suffering servant, check, read from Isaiah in the synagogue, check, ride a donkey into Jerusalem, check. Mutter ‘I’m thirsty’ right before I die, check!”
No, Jesus is, as philosophers like to say, “The thing itself.”
So, He was really thirsty, and He was the fulfillment of the Scriptures; both at the same time. That just says it all; human and divine.
Do I know what that means? No, I don’t. But, I know that these things exist. I know that humans exist and I know that the divine exists. And I know that they were not created apart from each other.
It is me that has driven a wedge between the two. It is my sin that keeps them apart. And, it is my sin that drove Jesus to this moment of agonizing thirst.
Jesus is thirsty and I can’t save him. He is up there because of me. Lord, forgive me; I wish it was just a matter of giving you some sour wine to drink. But you’re asking so much more. Tonight, I can scarcely take it in. Seeing you up there, thirsty, crying…I just want it to be over.