Text: John 19: 28-37
Text verse: John 19:28
Passover was celebrated to remind the Jews of the Exodus from Egypt. In Egypt, the Israelites longed to be free from the slave yoke.
The night before the exodus, God commanded the Israelites to slaughter a lamb without any defect. Each family had to use the lamb’s blood to smear on their door frame. Thus, the firstborn of the Israelites were spared in the last of the ten plagues that came upon Egypt (also see Ex. 13).
The lamb’s blood reminded the Israelites that God had miraculously provided for them by quenching their thirst for freedom. God provided for their deep need.
That is why that Sabbath was such an important day for the Jews (also see v. 31). In John 19:14, John says that the preparation for the Passover had begun. This means that the Easter celebrations would start that evening.
It is important to see how God was at work during the events surrounding the crucifixion. The Lamb, Jesus, was slain. His blood brings an end to the spiritual thirst that every human being experiences.
The sin of man plunges us into misery. Man turns his back on God and the result is death. Man begins seeking his purpose and dignity in himself, destroying lives. It makes us slaves of sin and we see this reality in this passage.
The Jews sought their dignity as people and a nation by strict adherence to all rules and laws. This is how they tried to silence their own deep thirst. They upheld the Passover and even removed the bodies of the crucified before the Sabbath (Deut. 21: 22-23).
It is ironic that the moment Jesus pointed out their falsehood – yes when He pointed them to their deep spiritual thirst – that they crucified Him!
Their obedience was not about their relationship with God; their obedience was about themselves. They wanted to show that they upheld all the laws, proving that they are worthy. This while the law was given precisely so that we could realise our unworthiness and seek our salvation outside of ourselves in Christ (also see Rom. 3: 19-20). Only Christ can set us free.
That is why we are spiritually thirsty.
It is important that we examine ourselves in this regard as well. How do we try to quench our spiritual thirst? Around whom or what do our lives revolve?
It is possible that we are helpful simply because we like people to praise us for our good deeds. Maybe we just do good things because it’s good for business or we give our contributions so we can feel good about ourselves. Perhaps so that the Lord will bless ME then?
To quench this thirst for acceptance and grace in God, we must get to know Jesus’ selfless love here. We see something of this love in his last words on the cross.
1. On the cross Jesus cries out, “I am thirsty.” (vs. 28)
To give us the water of life, “rivers of living water will flow from within them” (7:38), He had to experience this deep thirst. A thirst that was both physical and mental.
It is a physical thirst, because the reason Jesus exclaims here that He is thirsty is because the torture process put a lot of pressure on his body. His mouth was dry.
However, it also shows the spiritual thirst He experienced on the cross. These words remind one of the Psalmist who says: “My soul thirsts for God” (Ps. 42:2).
Jesus was forsaken by God so that we could again be worthy to appear in God’s presence. In this way Jesus comes to quench our thirst! He breaks the way open, the temple curtain is torn in half (Mark 15:38) so that we can have this glorious access to God again.
2. Then Jesus exclaims, “It is finished.” (vs. 30)
Jesus could say what no man can say, because He carried out His Father’s will perfectly. He alone is worthy to come into God’s presence. He completely accomplished His Father’s purpose.
This is also where glorious mercy lies. His sacrifice on the cross yielded a lasting result. No other sacrifice is needed because Jesus paid the full price for us.
Do not try to find your dignity in all the beautiful things you do. Quench your spiritual thirst through Christ’s sacrifice. Only in Him can we be worthy to go to the living God.