Midweek 5 – THE SUFFERING WORD
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. (John 19:28–29)
- The fifth word from the cross is a word of
suffering: “I thirst.”
- This is genuine, human pain, Jesus didn’t have a
special exemption from suffering because He was the Son of God.
- Just the opposite! His pain is all of our pain combined. “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:4).
- His suffering embodies all suffering, bearing in His flesh the suffering and sickness of fallen humanity.
- He thirsts; how ironic when we remember His ministry!
- When the wedding ran dry at Cana He turned water into wine.
- He promised living water to a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well saying, “The water that I will give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
- He declared at the Feast of Tabernacles, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37–38).
- But for Jesus, in His hour of suffering and
darkness there is only thirst.
- He said in the Upper Room on the night of His betrayal, “I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29).
- In response to His cry, the fruit of the vine does touch His lips, as the soldiers raise a sponge of sour wine.
- The kingdom of God had come. The reign of God was established in Jesus’ death – the powers of hell overthrown on the cross.
- This is genuine, human pain, Jesus didn’t have a special exemption from suffering because He was the Son of God.
- Jesus drinks the cup of God’s judgment against
sin, not His sin but ours.
- The Cup of Judgment is a well-known image in
Scripture, both Old and New Testaments
- In Isaiah 51 we hear, Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.
- Revelation says, And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger…
- And our Lord made reference to it in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
- Now our Lord drinks the cup of God’s judgment against all sin; the cup of our human woe, our suffering and misery, so that we might be refreshed and renewed.
- Remember His thirst when your suffering seems
unquenchable and the most that the world can offer is a drink of sour wine.
- Our Lord went through suffering, death and hell for us, to redeem us – know that you are never alone in your time of need and suffering.
- There are many of you going through that right now, walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
- The Suffering Servant is with you, even though you may not see or hear Him, He is there according to His promise, I will not leave you as orphans.
- Remember Him when your prayers and devotions are dried up, when your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth, silencing your hymns of praise.
- Come to Him, to the Fount of living water that
flowed from His pierced side in the waters of Holy Baptism, to the chalice of
His Supper where He refreshes you with His body and blood.
- He will quench your thirst as no one and nothing else can and meet your every need so that you can go and do likewise.
- So that you see Him at a time like this in your fellow human being. He is in the one who thirsts for a cup of water in the heat of the day, in the poor who don’t have food or drink or proper clothing, who can’t make rent because they’ve lost their job.
- Jesus is there, hidden in the least of these, for you to serve as you have been served by Him. “As you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40).
- The Cup of Judgment is a well-known image in Scripture, both Old and New Testaments
For Your thirst and agony, for Your cry in time of need, for Your drinking the sour wine of our disobedience to its dregs that we might seek and find refreshment for our souls in You, all thanks and praise to You, most holy Jesus. Amen