The world is filled with Apple's i-technology, which delivers on its promise to make connectivity and information readily accessible. But there is a deeper need within everyone, a thirst to be right with God, that no app or gadget can fulfill. How ironic that Jesus, the great Thirst-Quencher, would Himself be thirsty. It was part of the great exchange—His temporary thirst enabled yours to be quenched eternally!
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
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Greek terms: Διψῶ; Dipsō - I thirst; Θεός; theos - god; ἄνθρωπος; anthrōpos - man
Figures referenced: James Jauncey
Publications referenced: The Life of Christ, by Frederic Farrar
Cross references: Psalm 69:21; Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 4:4; Matthew 5:18; Matthew 9:4; Matthew 24:37-39; Matthew 26:34; Matthew 26:39; Matthew 27:46; Mark 14:49; Luke 11:29-32; Luke 17:29; Luke 23:34; Luke 23:43; Luke 23:46; John 2:23-25; John 4:13-14; John 6:58; John 6:61; John 7:37-38; John 10:35; John 13:3; John 16:16-19; John 19:26; John 19:28; John 19:30; John 21:17; Acts 2:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:8; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:9; Revelation 22:17
Keywords: thirst, deity of Jesus, humanity of Jesus, crucifixion
Let's pray together. Lord, there are some sins that require careful consideration. And this is one of them. We linger at the foot of the cross. The writer of Hebrews said that we should consider him who suffered hostility by sinful men. But Lord, it's difficult to do that. In our natures, we repel from such imagery and such thoughts as painful execution over many hours. The only way we can handle it is to take a little bit each week and let it soak in. And so doing Father, as our minds are transported to another time and another place as the shadow of the cross falls even upon us in a modern setting, I pray that we would have an appreciation for You and Your love for us like never before. Thank you for so many that has come, so many hungry hearts. Your word declares that You are a rewarder of those who diligently seek You. We are trusting that You will do that again among us in Jesus' name. Amen.
The world we live in today is the world of "I." I'm not just speaking about selfishness. I'm not just speaking about me, myself and I. But I mean, we live in a world of iPhones, iPods, iPads, iMax, iTunes, iWork, iLife, iCloud, I could go on but I won't. It's Apple technology and boy they did a good in distribution and marketing. Seventy-three million iPhones have been sold worldwide. Some of you have that item. Guess how many iPods have been sold worldwide, 250 million. Twenty-five million iPads, 14 billion applications, they call them apps have been downloaded to these mobile devices. In the iTunes world, 10 billion songs have been downloaded.
So what's with the "I" part of it? Well, Steve Jobs back in 1998 was describing his products in the use of the letter I as the Apple platform signature letter. And in trying to describe what it means he said, "The meaning of I is included in such words like internet, individual, inform, instruct and inspire." So the whole point of the I is that you are individually tailoring your technological needs to service your lifestyle, your desires and they would even say your needs. So, we're going to make products for you to consume technologically that will satisfy your deepest needs or desires or lifestyle.
Now, Apple has a tagline to describe that individuality. The tagline is, "There's an app for that" or "We have an app for that." So the commercials will say, "You want to write a book? We have an app for that. You want to take creative pictures? There's an app for that. Do you want to find out the temperature of any city at anytime? There's an app for that. Do you want to play Angry Birds in traffic? We have an app for that." So they have all these applications that you can download and utilize for your lifestyle. But technology is unable to meet our deepest needs. The deepest and most profound thirst that we all have only God has an app for that. Technology does not. God does for two reasons.
Number one, He is our manufacturer. He knows what we need more than we know what we need. He made us. Number two, because He became one of us and lived a human life and experienced human experiences like even what we're about to read, thirsting. He can service the deep needs of the human heart. Again, we step into the scene of the cross. We look at Verse 28 and 29, which records the shortest of the seven statements that Jesus made on the cross.
After this, Jesus' knowing that all things were now accomplished that the scripture might be fulfilled said, "I thirst." Now, a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there and they filled a sponge with sour wine and put it on hyssop, and they put it to his mouth. Let me give you a little thumbnail sketch of what happened at the crucifixion of Christ so that you just have it fixed in your mind. It was about a six-hour episode. We believe that Jesus was placed on the cross about nine o'clock in the morning. And from nine to noon while He hang there those three hours, He made three statements from the cross. The first was a statement of intercession. As He prayed to His father concerning the crowd that was there He said, "Father, forgive them. They don't know what they're doing."
The second was a statement of salvation as He turned to the criminal next to Him and said, "Assuredly I say to you today, you will with me in paradise." The third statement was a statement of affection and provision. That's one that He gave to His mother that we read last week as He saw Mary at the foot of the cross and John, that's who we presume was the disciple whom Jesus loved. Jesus looked down and said, "Dear woman, behold your son" and then to John, "Behold your mother." After that around noon, a pervasive darkness covered the land. There was silence on the cross. Jesus said nothing except perhaps one statement that broke the silence. It was a cry of separation as He said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The last three statements were after that three-hour period of darkness just before His death. He uttered three things. "I thirst. It is finished." And then finally, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." Those are the seven sayings of Christ while He was hanging on the cross when He died.
We've been studying the Gospel of John for two years and I know some of you are going, "I know, I know." But it has given us some advantage in studying at this slowly in this deliberately all. What is it? Eight hundred and seventy-nine Verses of John. We discovered that one of John's mega themes is he wants to introduce Jesus Christ as being God in a human body. That's one of his designs. He does it a lot, every chapter. Here is God in a body of flesh. It's when we put all four gospels together that we get the full composite picture of Jesus and I'm glad we have four gospels. Because, it's like the Holy Sprit is the set director and He films the scene from four different camera angles to get the full picture. And as just a camera placed in one setting will give you a different expression on the face or a different new wants or a different emphasis. So the Holy Sprit does that with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Matthew presents Jesus in his legacy as the King of the Jews. Mark presents Jesus in His humility as a servant. Luke presents Christ in His humanity as the son of man. He loves that phrase, but it's John who singularly portrays Jesus in his deity as God in human flesh. And even now when we come to this fifth statement of Christ hanging on the cross, "I thirst." We see a mixture of humanity and deity of human suffering and God being in control in His sovereignty. We are going to look in these two verses at three things I want to draw your attention to. We want to look at what Jesus knew, what Jesus said and what Jesus did. Those three elements comprise this message, "I thirst." Let's look at what Jesus knew, Verse 28. After this, that is after Jesus gives Mary into the care of John. "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished that the scripture might be fulfilled said, 'I thirst." Somethings else that we have discovered have we not in going to the Gospel of John is that, John wants us to realize that Jesus knew everything. He was fully aware of everything around Him. That He displayed the characteristic of being omniscient. He knew stuff.
He knew what people were thinking. He knew what motivated people when they came to Him. He knew what time it was on the redemptive calendar and what God's plan was at all times. He knew it all. Let me try a couple examples. John Chapter 2, Jesus performs miracles. We're told that many believed in Him when they saw the miracles that He did. But John writes, "Jesus would not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men and He knew what was in men." In John Chapter 6, we're told that Jesus gave a message. It was a pretty tough message to listen to and some of the disciples among themselves were complaining and they said, "Well, that was a tough, tough message to understand. Who can get that?" They complained. It offended them.
The Bible says, "Jesus knowing that His disciples were complaining, went over to them and said, 'Hey! Does that offend you what I just said?" It will be tough to hang around a guy like that wouldn't it? Always knew what you were thinking and would call you on when you thought it. In the 13th Chapter of John, it's the last supper. It's about to begin. John begins the Chapter, "And Jesus knowing that the hour had come for Him to depart this world and go to the Father." He knew exactly what time it was on the redemptive calendar. In that same upper room in John 16, Jesus makes a statement that made the disciples go, "Huh?" He said, "A little while, and you see Me no more; and again in a little while, you will see Me." And they went, "Huh?" They didn't get it.
So as Jesus knew in himself that they went, "Huh?" They didn't say that but He knew that hey wanted to ask Him about that. So He said, "You are wondering what I meant by that aren't you?" And He told them. He knew that. And then, finally we get to Chapter 21 which we haven't gotten into yet, but we will. And, it's after the resurrection. Christ and Peter are together and Jesus asked Peter that famous question. "Peter, do you love me?" He asked him three times. Remember? The third time He asked him the question peter said, "Lord, You know all things and You know that I love You." It took Peter a long time but now he figures it out, "You know everything." It's one of John's themes. Here is Jesus. He knew everything. He was fully aware of what time it was, what is happening, what people's motives are and what they are thinking. So here is Jesus, even on the cross knowing that all things are accomplished. Meaning, every single thing up to that point in redemptive history have all been lined up and accomplished except one scripture is left unfulfilled and that is Psalm 69 Verse 21, "And so, we are told that the scripture might be fulfilled." He said, "I thirst."
Okay. Pause for just a moment. Step back from the cross, because as you look at that crucifixion of Christ, you can look at it from one side or another. Please, look at it from both sides simultaneously. See, there are two sides of it. There's the human side. There is the divine side. There is the human responsibility. There's the divine action. From the human viewpoint, this is a mistrial. This is a misjustice happening. This is men plotting and hating and Judas betraying and Jewish leaders lying, and Pontius Pilate cooperating with their scheme, all from a human level. But from the divine level, it was planned all along. It was God's design all along. It was predicted all along.
Now, listen to what Peter will say in Acts Chapter 2 as he preaches to the Jerusalemites and he combines these two truths. He speaks about Jesus being crucified. This is what he said. "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by your wicked hands and crucified and put to death." You see how he puts two of those truths together. You're responsible for what you did but this was God's plan all along. God's plan all along doesn't preclude your human responsibility and both human responsibility and divine sovereignty were wrapped around the same chord as we look at Jesus hanging on the cross.
I read something that I committed to memory. I'll share with you now. James Jauncey, author writes this. He said, "God will never burglarize the human will. He may want to come in and help, but He will never cross the picket line of our unwillingness." Isn't that good? In other words, here is God allowing human choices to be made. At the same time, He is behind the scenes sovereignly operating and allowing those choices to be made. Though, ultimately driving the car where it needs to go. But he will never burglarize the human will. He'll never cross the picket line of our unwillingness. So we have human responsibility. We have divine sovereignty. Now, that the scripture might be fulfilled, we're told in Verse 28. He said, "I thirst." I mentioned that scripture was Psalm 69. Don't turn there now but look at it later. It's a messianic Psalm. It describes the suffering of the coming messiah like Psalm 22 did. And in Verse 21, it describes a scene. It says this and I quote "They gave me gall for my food and to quench my thirst they offered me sour wine to satisfy my thirst," or vinegar but it's sour wine. Some translation put it differently.
The sour wine was, well it was just a cheap wine. It's what the Roman soldiers drank. The legionnaires would have a pitcher of sour wine. It's like the worst of the wines. I don't know. I don't know much about it but it be like boons farm, all right. Some of you are like going, "I know what that is." So I'm a little worried about this. So this is like the cheap wine that the Roman soldiers in carrying out their duties of execution would have at that place and they offered it to Jesus to drink at the time. It also said that they administered that to Him with hyssop. John records that. Hyssop was a weed. It had long shaft or reed and it had a spongy end, really grew like a weed around Jerusalem among the crevices of the rock. So they will just pull out a piece and use it.
So they're just pulling out the hyssop but the Jewish mind and the Jewish reader in hearing hyssop would go all the way back to Exodus 12 in hearing hyssop. Because hyssop is what God told that children of Israel to dip in the passover blood, the blood of the lamb and wipe on the lentils and their door post of their home so that the death angel will passover. Every Jewish ear would think Passover, blood, lamb, salvation, how fitting. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world being crucified in what festival? Passover was happening at the very moment this is going on. So, every single thing is being fulfilled and accomplished according to plan even Psalm 69 and even the new ones and the typology of the hyssop being used for this event. The scripture might be fulfilled he said, "I thirst."
I want you to step back again from the scene and consider Psalm. This is something I think every single Christian needs to consider. Have you ever considered what Jesus' relationship was to the scriptures? That is what He said about the scriptures, how He would refer to the scriptures. And the reason every Christian should examine that is because I fear that Jesus' view of the scripture and in His case, it was the Old Testament at that time. Now, Jesus' view of the scripture is far different from many who claim to follow Jesus. You know that 64 times or 64 places in the New Testament Jesus referred to Old Testament scripture and always as the word of God and as always, it's something that was inherent and perfect and would never be broken. For instance, He quotes Deuteronomy 8 saying, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." That's what He said. He affirmed that. In John Chapter 10, Jesus said about the scripture. "And the scriptures cannot be broken." I wonder if you believe that. He said concerning the scriptures in the Gospel of Mark and the scriptures must be fulfilled. On five occasions, Jesus Christ asked the Jewish leaders questions like this. "Have you not read?"
"Haven't you read what Mosses wrote? Haven't you read what David said as if holding them accountable for reading and believing the scriptures?" But, the passage of all passages that came form the mouth of Jesus were these words. "Till heaven and earth pass away not one jot or one title," that is the smallest Hebrew letter in the alphabet or the stroke of the pen will pass form the law. "Tell everything is fulfilled."
So you have a lot of people that say, "Yeah I don't know if I really believe the Bible as the word of God in errant and all that stuff, but I love Jesus," really? If you can't trust Jesus in what He said about the Bible are you going to trust them in anything else? Because the one you claimed to follow was one who said the word of God cannot be broken. And incidentally, the Jesus you claimed to follow in Matthew 19 said that God created man in the Garden of Eden. In Matthew 24, said there was a worldwide flood that happened. In Luke Chapter 11, claimed that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish. I know it's a fishy story for a lot of people but for Jesus, it was scripture. He said that Sodom was an actually place that literally God destroyed and man have fell fro heaven. All of those miraculous things Jesus said happened. That's the Jesus that we follow, that's His relationship to the scripture and we are reminded of that here as Jesus hang on the cross and knew all things were accomplished that the scripture might be fulfilled said, "I thirst."
Let's look at that on what he said. Two words, I thirst one word in Greek, dipso. Dipso, one single word, it's the shortest of the statements that Jesus made on the cross. Now when we hear those words, the vale is pushed back and we understand something about the cross. First of all, it shows us the cross is intensity. It reminds us that victims of crucifixion went through physiological phenomena of dehydration, intense dehydration. That the tissues of the body become emptied of their fluids and those tissues sent messages to the brain over and over again. "I'm dehydrated. I thirst." I'm going to read the words of Frederick Farrar who wrote the classic work on The Life of Christ describing what happens at crucifixion. "The unnatural position" that is of the crucified victim. "The unnatural position made very movement painful; the lacerated veins, the crushed tendons throb with incessant anguish; the wounds, inflamed by exposure, gradually gangrened." That is when the victim took several days to die Jesus took hours. "The arteries, especially at the head and the stomach became swollen and oppressed with surcharged blood, and while each variety of misery went on gradually increasing, there was added to them the intolerable pang of a burning and raging thirst."
Farrar and other medical experts tell us that crucifixion was by first planting the spikes, the tapered spikes in the wrist where the radius and all the bones come together to form a hook, so that the victim can hang without shredding through the tendons and the flesh. And then, the spikes were administered to the feet. And so, throughout the crucifixion, the victim would be pulling up and pushing up on those spikes. After awhile, the muscles became paralyzed. The pectoral muscles of the chest, the inner costal muscles between the ribs there was a paralysis. So, it was easy to take in a breath almost impossible to exhale and the only way to exhale was to pull up painfully or to push up painfully on the spikes to let a breath out. So this shows us that now at this period, almost the end of the crucifixion Jesus can't make many words come out so He gives one word, "Dipso. I thirst." It speaks of the intensity of the cross. It also tells us of the humanity of Jesus. How ironic, how ironic that the giver of life is experiencing death that the quencher of human thirst, the one who said, "Whoever thirst let them come to Me and drink out of his inner most being will flow rivers of living water. I am the living water."
That one is thirsty. The creator of the world has parched lips. It speaks of the humanity of Jesus Christ. I've discovered something about us even angelical Christians were really good at defending the deity of Christ. We have been traditionally typically, but we're a little sketchy when it comes to talking about the humanity of Jesus. Did you know that the first assault on Christian doctrine, the first heresy introduced into the church? It was not an attack on the deity of Christ. It was an attack on the humanity of Christ. It was called Gnosticism. And so because of that whole debate, the theologians introduced us to a new term about Jesus. Here is the term, theanthropas. Jesus Christ is the theanthropic son of God. It comes from two Greek words Theos, God and anthropos, man. Jesus is both God, Theos and man, anthropos. So His nature is a theanthropic nature. Meaning, Jesus has undiminished deity while having unprotected humanity, fully God, fully man, dying on a cross and in His humanity saying, "I thirst."
Now, do I get that? Do I totally understand that? I don't. I got to confess that to you. So like, "Oh yeah men, I got this down. I kept my mind wrapped around this whole nature of God." I do not. That's why Paul said, "Great is the mystery of godliness." God was manifest in the flesh. It's like, "Man that's like, it will blow my mental fuse." That's why Isaiah in speaking of Jesus coming, puts both natures together in one verse. "For unto us, a child is born." That's humanity. "Unto us, a son is given." That's deity "And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Both natures are included in the prophetic single verse. Here is Jesus dying on the cross, thirsty as a man. Jesus got tired. He slept in the boat. He got fatigued. He had to sit down at the well. In John 4, "He is thirsty, he got hungry. He shed tears at the Lazarus funeral." So, put it this way. What Jesus knew on the cross proves His deity. He knew all things about to ready to be accomplished. He knew that. That's deity.
But what He said demonstrates His humanity, "I thirst." It's also this. Pulling back the vale shows us not only the intensity of the cross, the humanity of Christ but the humility of Christ, the humility of Christ. Paul said, "Jesus humbled himself to the point of death even the death on the cross." Jesus became at this point our sacrifice, our substitute. He humbled himself. What does it mean He humbled himself? And how does this show his humility this way? Jesus was offered sour wine, not once but twice. If you put this together with what Matthew Chapter 27 tells us, we're told that at the very beginning of the crucifixion, they offered Him sour wine mixed with gall and He refused it, remember that?
He refused it because gall was an analgesic. It was a painkiller. It produces a narcotic effect in the body deadening the pain and most criminals were given a narcotic. In other words, the soldiers got him stoned. Why not, they're dying. It's like putting a patient on morphine before they die. Jesus refused it. He refused it. Why? Because He wanted to make sure that, His senses would be undiminished, so that He could feel the full wrath of God upon sin in His own body. And He didn't take it, but now all things are accomplished. All things are over so He takes the sour wine to quench His thirst without the narcotic involved. That shows His humility. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed this prayer, "Father, if it's possible let this cup pass from Me. Never the less not my will but Your will be done.
The cup He was speaking of there was the cup of suffering. Jesus wouldn't let any human cup diminish that cup of suffering. So He pushed it away. He refused it at first. And now, He takes it without the narcotic. That's what Jesus knew. That's what Jesus said, close with what Jesus did. Now, a vessel of sour wine was sitting there and they filled the sponge with sour wine and put it on hyssop, put it to his mouth. So when Jesus received the sour wine He said, "It is finished" and bowing His head. He gave up His spirit. That verse we'll concentrate on next time.
Jesus has fully drunk the cup of suffering, now He drinks the cup to quench His thirst. He becomes the sacrifice. He becomes the substitute. What did Jesus endure on that day? Well, He endured darkness for three hours. He endured separation from His father. He cried, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?" Momentarily, He was separated from the father in close fellowship. Darkness, separation and burning raging thirst, what is that sound like? Darkness, separation, burning raging thirst, it sounds like hell. That's what Jesus endured for you and I. Jesus endured what every lost soul will endure for eternity apart from Christ. He took hell that you might have heaven. He took thirst that your thirst might be quenched. He took separation from the Father that you would never have to be separated from Him. He took death that you might have life.
The writer of Hebrews says, "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man." He tasted death so you wouldn't have to taste death. That's what the substitute is all about. That's what the sacrifice is all about. There's one scripture that I think puts it all together better than any other text in the bible. It's 2 Corinthians Chapter 5 Verse 21. Let me just speak it to you. "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him." Once again, "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him." Let me translate that to you my way. At the cross, God treated Jesus as if He had committed every single sin by every single person whoever lived. Or I put it to you in another way, God at the cross treated Jesus like you and I deserve to be treated. So that He could treat us like Jesus Christ deserves to be treated. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us. That's what He did. That's what He did.
"I thirst." That's God's app for your thirst. You could write "I thirst" over your life because you do thirst and so do I. It describes our pursuit. It describes our life. It's the banner statement of who we are, "I thirst." We have a deep spiritual thirst. Every human being has it. Jesus said to the woman at the well of Samaria, "If you drink to this water you'll thirst again." You can write that over every status symbol, over everything you own or every pursuit in your life, over every degree you are trying to get, "Drink of this water, you'll thirst again." Jesus on the cross "I thirst" is his app for you thirst. He took the thirst so that you could be quenched of your thirst spiritually, eternally.
One final thing to think of as we close, it's fascinating when you think that just a few months before this event that we are reading about in the same city of Jerusalem, a couple hundred yards away in the temple. It was the feast of tabernacles. The Jewish nation was celebrating God's provision of their forefathers in the desert. Everyday during an eight-day feast, thousands of people gathered in the temple. The high priest would take a pitcher of water down to the pool of Siloam, put water on it and walk up to the temple with the whole crowd of people, pour the water at base of the altar.
And people would shout and they would cry praises to God, all symbolic that God brought refreshing water out of the rock in the wilderness providing for their great, great, great, great grandparents. And it was a water libation ceremony, everyday in the temple. On the last day of that feast, what John calls the Great Day, the eighth day of the feast. The priest took that pitcher down to the pool and walked up to the altar twice, shouts of praise went up. But on the very last time, it was a time of silence. As the people would meditate on God's goodness in the past by quenching the thirst of their forefathers, but also anticipating the coming of messiah who would eternally quench their thirst. And as they were meditating and contemplating in silence, the Bible says in John 7. Jesus stood up and cried out, 'If anyone is thirsty let them come to me and drink." And all the heads went. To find out, "Who just said that? We're meditating. This is like church. We're suppose to be quite." And He cried that out and the people looked at Him and He made that promise. He said, "For out of his inner most being will flow rivers torrents of living water."
You know what the last invitation of the bible is, the last invitation? Whoever is thirsty let him come and drink of the water of life. Our substitute died and was thirsty, so that you and I would never have to be.
Lord, when we say thank you, when we say praise You those words just seem to fall flat after considering the great sacrifice You made. The substitutionary sacrifice that You made and that You would humbly take the full brunt of that suffering, the intensity of that pain, undiminished, unprotected so that we would never be separated, so that we would never be thirsty. So that we might never die eternally, so that we might never experience the hell that You did. Our Father, we thank you. Then I pray for anyone here today who has never said "yes" to Jesus, the real Jesus the historic living Jesus. That their life would be surrendered to You in His name. Amen.