Why Did Jesus Say, “I Thirst”?

Image credit: DeepRootsFaith.com

Image credit: DeepRootsFaith.com

Every glimpse into the humanity of Jesus provides an opportunity to stand in greater gratitude, awe, and love of the one who would give up glory in heaven and suffer greater affliction than any other has ever known, all for the sake of love.

When we look at the life of Jesus and the things he did here on earth, it’s important to consider his humanity. He emptied himself (Philippians 2:7) and lived here as a man, wholly dependent upon God and rightly related with him.

He did nothing of his own, but was fully obedient to God and dependent on the Spirit in his works of power (John 5:30; Luke 5:17). Because of this, “we do not have a high priest who is not able to sympathize with our weaknesses”. (Hebrews 4:15, LEB) He suffered as we do and “offered up both prayers and supplications, with loud crying and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death”. (Hebrews 5:7, LEB)

When Jesus was on the cross, he had already been scourged to the point he would have died, had Death had any claim on him. But he endured six more hours, and just before giving up his spirit, spoke some words that can still speak to us today.

Recall from the accounts in Matthew 27:46-50 and Mark 15:34-37, Jesus says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”. Then someone brought him the vinegar to drink. After receiving it, Jesus gave up his spirit. The account of this in John 19:28-30 is slightly different, where Jesus says, “I thirst”, just before he is brought the vinegar. If we combine these accounts, we get what may have been a more complete statement, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? I thirst.”

This statement can be tied to several verses, including Psalm 22:15 and Psalm 69:16-21, both of which prophesy of Messiah in the hour of his death. Jesus’ statement is also a parallel with Isaiah 41:17 (LEB), which states, “The poor and the needy are seeking water and there is none; their tongue is dried up with thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.”

What’s the significance? I think Jesus, in pain and anguish, cried out to the Father expressing how, in his sufferings, he felt forsaken. In his time of great need, Jesus recalled the scripture and reminded God of his promise not to forsake those who thirst.

In doing this, just as David did so often, Jesus strengthened himself in the promises of God, and proclaimed that God would not forsake him. Then, fully trusting in the faithfulness of God to raise him up, Jesus yielded up his spirit, saying, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” (Luke 23:46, LEB).

The great sacrifice that Jesus willingly endured as a man is astounding. He loved the Father and did his will. “And being perfected, he became the source of eternal salvation to all those who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:9, LEB)

Jesus suffered all things for you and lives to make intercession for you before the Father (Hebrews 7:25). Whatever trials you face, know that God will hear your prayers and supplications. And when you feel like the battle is too much, be strengthened in the Word, and remember that Jesus has been there too. God proved himself faithful, and he will do it again.

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  1. David Frankin says:

    Dear Cris,
    Two wonderful additions to your blog. It is wonderful to know the faithfulness of God through every trial and phase of our lives.
    I love you,

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