“I thirst.” (John 19:28)
Simple words; complex truth: Jesus was God in the flesh. Jesus was fully human. In these words of his on the cross, his humanness was fully revealed.
Have you ever truly thought about this—that the eternal, creator God, who has no needs and could never suffer want—became a man, fully susceptible to all of the needs, lacks, desires, and sufferings of the humanity that he created and loves?
Yet, Jesus, as a man, experienced the same trials and temptations, needs and desires that you and I face in our daily lives. No better way to share this truth than simply by sharing Scripture:
“Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.” (Hebrew 2:14-18)
We have a Merciful and Faithful High Priest!
“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)
So we can enter God’s presence boldly, and find graceful assistance in our own struggles!
Simply put: Jesus faced pain, hunger, thirst, temptation—everything you and I face. He not only knows what being human is like, he knows how to help those of us who are—suffering, hungry, thirsty, tempted.
“I thirst.” What suffering for our Savior; what comfort for you and me!
One more thought here: the Gospel of John frequently presents physical needs as illustrations of spiritual realities. It is, then, no accident that Jesus’ words “I thirst” follow so soon after his words basically saying “where are you Father?” His spiritual thirst was more real than his physical thirst.
(Note: to see how even these words were a fulfillment of Scripture, read Psalm 69:21, then read again John 19:28,29.)