“Later, knowing that all was now completed and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ’I am thirsty’”
(John 19:28).

It is one of the ultimate ironies of the biblical story that Jesus cried out “I thirst.” He who is the water of life now dies of thirst. Jesus has not complained at all about his physical condition through all the hours of suffering. When they put the crown on his head he didn’t say “Oh, my head.” When they ripped the beard from his face he didn’t say “Oh, my face.” When they scourged him he didn’t say “Oh, my back."  As the old spiritual has it, through all that they did to him, “He never said a mumblin’ word.”

Now at last Jesus cries out in the last moments of his life, “I thirst.” This is the only reference he made to all the sufferings he underwent. Why is that? When Jesus hung on the cross he knew that his work had been completed. He knew that he had borne the sins of the human race. He knew that he had done everything he could for you and for me. And having done what God sent him to do—having cared for the needs of others—only then does he make a comment about his own intense suffering.

Let us learn the lesson well. Your sufferings do not necessarily mean you are out of the will of God. It is entirely possible that you may do everything God wants you to do and still suffer terribly. Even so, your suffering may yet be redeemed into something much greater than you can imagine. Jesus pointed the way when he cried, “I thirst.” That was Friday. On Sunday he rose from the dead to become a gushing spring of Living Water. 

Run to the cross. Cling to it. Embrace the sufferings of Christ. Though this cannot lessen your pain, it may give you strength to carry on. Jesus suffered before you; he also suffered for you. Child of God, remember that as Friday comes before Sunday, so the cross leads on to the empty tomb. And there is no resurrection unless there is first a crucifixion. 

Lord Jesus, your thirst has provided Living Water that fills my soul. Eternity will not be too long to praise you for your great sacrifice. Amen. 

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.