John 19:28-30 (ESV)
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 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. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
As Jesus was nearing death on the cross, he declared that he was thirsty. A fairly common statement, and yet when Jesus said it, there was nothing common about it. This scene was an echo of the psalmist’s words in Psalm 69: “They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink,” and John makes sure to tell us why it happened: to fulfill the Scripture.
A casual observer could have looked at Jesus’ final moments and seen only failure. Here was a man in whom so many placed their hopes, but for what? It appeared that He would meet the same end as the other revolutionaries and “messiahs” before Him who had sought to free the Jews from their Roman oppressors.
Though Jesus appeared as an ordinary criminal suffering the inevitable fate of one who would challenge the might of the Roman Empire, He actually was the Son of God Himself, come to crush the head of Satan and put an end to sin and its effects. When He arrived at His final moments, we are not hearing the semi-conscious groans of a dying man, but rather the battle cry of the triumphant Son of God.
As we consider these final words of our Lord, may we feel both their gravity and their power. He has come to make good on all the promises of God.
He is our true Prophet, come to proclaim to us both the depth of our sin and the wonder of our salvation.
He is our true Priest, who makes atonement on our behalf as both our Perfect Sacrifice and our Mediator, pleading on our behalf before the Father.
And He is our triumphant King. He has come to redeem His people, reigning as their Lord, and one day He will return to judge the living and the dead. He will usher in perfect peace as every nation, tribe, and tongue fall down before Him declaring “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
Oh, that we would see that day before us and that we would long for its arrival! May we hear the words of our Lord and be filled with hope as they ring out through eternity. “It is finished!” He has done it! Let our weary hearts rejoice.
How radiant You are, O triumphant ruler! Our Almighty King, who became our brokenness for the sake of the world.
We confess that we often don’t recognize the gravity and weight
of your final words on the cross. The thirst that our Deliverer suffered on the cross is the thirst we all deserve.
The bitter cup was our due!
Instead, we drink deeply from the cavernous wells of your grace.
We are free, because it is finished:
Finished is our Lord’s earthly ministry,
Finished are the priestly sacrifices,
Finished is the fulfillment of Scripture,
Finished is the redemption of God’s chosen people.
Let our worship reflect the finality of your triumph,
and may it satisfy our thirst.
Increase our appetite for You, O Lord, every day until You call us home.
May we remember that You are
not only fully man but also fully God
not just the God of Water but the God of Wine
not just the God of Fasting but the God of Feasting
You are Lord over both the sunset and the sunrise.
Our anthem today: Sunday is coming.