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Monday, August 19, 2013

“I Thirst”

By Clay Bond

     It has been said that Jesus preached some of His greatest sermons from the cross.  On the cross, Jesus uttered seven statements that teach us how to live.  One of Jesus’ great sermon-statements is, “I thirst” from John 19:28.  This short, powerful statement reminds us who our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is, and what He is all about.
     As with some of the other cross-statements, “I thirst” was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. As Jesus uttered these words, He fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 69:21, “In my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”  In Matthew, the Gospel of Jesus’ Kingship, we learn that Jesus came to fulfill every aspect of Old Testament prophecy (Matthew 15:17-18).  This makes Jesus the theme of the Old Testament Scriptures.
     “I thirst” speaks to us of the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  He was fully human, yet fully God as well.  The Psalmist reminds us about His eternal nature.  “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2).  Jesus, the eternal God, shared in the frailty of the flesh.
     While some religious groups teach that Jesus is not eternal, Paul spoke of Jesus’ eternal nature in Philippians 2:6-7.  “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”  To say that Jesus did not exist prior to becoming flesh is to reject the revelation of the Holy Spirit.  Sadly, those who make such claims are teaching heresy, and ultimately they reject the eternal Word, who was made flesh (John 1:14).  The Holy Spirit revealed to the apostle Paul Jesus’ eternal nature: “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).  Jesus Himself affirmed that He existed before the world began.  “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which you gavest me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:4-5).
     When Jesus became flesh, He didn’t empty Himself of His Deity.  What He gave up was His equality with God.  In partaking of flesh and blood, Jesus became the God-man, 100% God and 100% man.  When the eternal Word in His fleshly state cried out, “I thirst,” He showed us His human nature.  He walked with us, He suffered in the flesh, He felt pain and loneliness, and He also became thirsty because He dwelt in the flesh.
     The comfort of hearing our Savior say, “I thirst”, is that we serve a risen Savior who sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-156).  Jesus knows our weakness for He too was tempted (Matthew 4).  He knows what it is to hurt, to feel forsaken, to suffer and even to hunger and thirst.  It is this that makes Him our perfect mediator, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).  As the God-man, Jesus can represent God with a full understanding of His holiness, justice and righteousness.  As man, He can represent us with a full understanding of our weak and frail nature.  When Jesus carried our cares, concerns and requests before the Father’s throne, He does so with a perfect understanding of who we are, and of who the Heavenly Father is.  When Jesus said, “I thirst,” He showed us His humanity as He shared our pain.  This is the thought that should come to our minds each time we pray to our Father “in Jesus’ name.”                                                                                

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com


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