23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. — John 19:23–29 (ESV)
Jesus is experiencing the worst torture and pain as he hangs on the cross. His naked body is exposed to the elements and stretched out with nails fixing his hands and feet to wooden planks. He has been beaten and bruised by guards and a sign hangs above his head announcing his shameful crime of being “King of the Jews.” His life is coming to its end and he knows it. His mission, which has been to fulfill the scriptures, is nearing completion.
Yet, in his last moments, Jesus is able to utter the words, “I thirst.” His mouth is dry as the suffering takes its toll on his body. He is dehydrated and in need of water. But, to add to the mockery and shame of his torture, the soldiers bring him sour wine, not water, to drink.
21 They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink. — Psalm 69:21 (ESV)
Jesus has this in mind. The sour wine offered to him is the sour wine of the scriptures. He has come to fulfill all scripture, even to the very point of death. But, Jesus is no victim. He gives over his body to be on display for all mankind, proclaiming that the moment of salvation has arrived!
He offers his body over to the guards and sinners like us, to all who might receive him: those who mock him, who don’t believe, who seek to destroy him, who are weary and worn out and desperate, those whose life of sin excludes them from God, and those who thirst for ultimate joy and satisfaction in life.
Jesus thirsts on behalf of the souls of men. He exclaims from the cross for us. And what do we offer him? The sour wine of our souls: our sin. We have nothing to offer God except the sin-stained, mockery-filled hearts that keep us from him. Jesus drinks of the wine, not to satisfy his thirst, but to demonstrate his willingness to take the penalty of our sin into his body and pay for it, so that we can be saved unto God. His parched mouth is quenched just enough to to utter the next words, “It is finished.”
Praise God for his love and mercy! Jesus drinks the wine of his Father’s wrath so he can offer us the living water we so desperately need to quench the deep wells of our souls!
Is our sin so terrible, that it must destroy our Jesus?
Is our depravity enough to nail the Son of God to a tree? Surely, we must not be quite so broken. Surely, we must have something to offer: some merit, something innately redeeming. At least, we try to believe that.
Our true King of the Jews, with somber hearts we stand in awe of the anguish you endured on the cross, a suffering we’ll never be able to comprehend.
The hands that served and performed miracles:
violently pierced with nails.
The eyes that beheld the glory of the father:
weary, ready to close.
The feet that walked with disciples:
crushed, limp, dangling, dirty.
The body that was once washed in a river baptism:
now washed in blood.
No ordinary King, indeed.
His injuries, for our eternity.
It was our sin that held him there.
We confess it is hard to grapple with the ugliness of our sin. When we look to the hideous yet beautiful scene on Calvary, we cannot escape the reality of our depravity. Our sin takes up arms against you, oh God, inviting your judgment. And yet, you’ve chosen to spare us from the torture we deserve. You could have given us over to our wayward desires, but, instead, you have adopted us, forsaking your own Son in our place.
That bitter cup was destined for us, our due.
Mercy of mercies! It was not even offered to us.
The cross was endured by Christ for the joy set before him, so that we would never have to thirst again.
You alone can quench our deepest needs.
We pray to you as a people who know you took our place, thirsted for us, and descended into hell for us so that we might live with you forever.
Good Friday & Resurrection Sunday
You are invited you to celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday at Coram Deo Church. Good Friday is a unique time of reflecting on the sacrificial death of Jesus, while Resurrection Sunday is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Our Good Friday services will be at 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. on April 15 while our Resurrection Sunday services will be at 8, 9:30, and 11:00 a.m. on April 17.