Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross
Father God, as this Word goes forth, please send it straight to our hearts, so we will never forget what You did by sending Your Son Jesus to die for our sin. Bless these Words to fall on good grounds, so that all would bring forth good fruit in their season. Thank You for the opportunity to share Your Word about our Savior Jesus Christ. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
Title: "I thirst."
Reading: Gospel of John 19:28
Cross References: (I Peter 2:24; John 7:37-38; Isaiah 55:1-2; Psalm 42:2, 63:1, 143:6; Amos 8:1; John 17:13; Song of Solomon 4:14; Isaiah 49:10; Ezekiel 47:1)
Theme: (The Passion of Christ)
Warm-up Question: Name something that happened each hour during the crucifixion.
Goal: Worship God in Spirit and in Truth
Jesus uses the phrase "living water" in two instances in the Bible. The first instance is found in John chapter 4. Jesus was tired and sat at a well while His disciples went into town to buy food. A Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus asked her for a drink. The Samaritan woman was quite shocked because Jesus was a Jew and Jews simply hated the Samaritans. Of course, she had no idea who Jesus was, and asked Him how He could ask her for water since He was a Jew. Jesus ignored the question and went right to the point, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water" (John 4:10). Notice that He does not say that He is the living water, but that He would give living water to her, and when she received it, she would never thirst again. Of course, that does not tell us what the living water is! For that, we must go to another passage of Scripture. In this case, Jesus is in the Temple surrounded by a throng of worshippers. He suddenly cried out, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:37-39) emphasis added). Here Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the living water. External influence of the Spirit had always been given in the conversion and sanctification of the Old Testament saints and prophets, but the gift of the Spirit who would indwell believers had not yet been received (Acts 10:44-45). So, though many people say that Jesus is the living water, Jesus Himself intended the phrase to mean the Holy Spirit who dwells in believers and seals them for salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). It is the ministry of the Spirit, flowing out of a heart redeemed by God, that blesses believers and through them, brings life and light to the world. Jesus refused the initial drink of vinegar, gall and myrrh (Matthew 27:34 and Mark 15:23) offered to alleviate his suffering. But here, several hours later, we see Jesus fulfilling the messianic prophecy found in Psalm 69:21.
Reading Scripture in another version: John 19:28 (NIV) New International Vision
Time passes slowly. His spring of living water runs dry. He reaches the end of his strength. This is the moment the Tempter has been waiting for: through the voices of cynical men, Satan tries again, as he did in the wilderness: "If you are the Christ, prove it! Save yourself and impress the people."
The fifth word of Jesus is His only human expression of His physical suffering. Jesus is now in shock. The wounds inflicted upon him in the scourging, the crowning with thorns, and the nailing upon the cross are now taking their toll, especially after losing blood on the three-hour walk through the city of Jerusalem to Golgotha on the Way of the Cross. Systematic studies of the Shroud of Turin, as reported by Gerald O' Collins in Interpreting Jesus, indicate the passion of Jesus was far worse than one can imagine. The Shroud has been exhaustively studied by every possible scientific maneuver, and the scientific burden of proof is now on those who do not accept the Shroud as the burial cloth of Jesus.
"He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed."
I Peter 2:24.
Point of Interest: Remission
Spiritual Thirst: Living Water
Scripture: (John 4:10, 7:37, 17:13; Psalm 42:2, 63:1, 143:6; Song of Solomon 4:15; Isaiah 49:10; Ezekiel 47:1; Amos 8:1).
Jesus uses the phrase "living water" in two instances in the Bible. The first instance is found in John chapter 4. Jesus was tired and sat at a well while His disciples went into town to buy food. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus asked her for a drink. The Samaritan woman was quite shocked because Jesus was a Jew, and Jews simply hated the Samaritans. Of course, she had no idea who Jesus was and asked Him how He could ask her for water since He was a Jew.
Jesus ignored the question and went right to the point, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water" (John 4:10). Notice that He does not say that He is the living water, but that He would give living water to her, and when she received it, she would never thirst again. Of course, that does not tell us what the living water is! For that, we must go to another passage of Scripture. In this case, Jesus is in the temple surrounded by a throng of worshippers. He suddenly cried out, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:37-39). Here Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the living water. External influence of the Spirit had always been given in the conversion and sanctification of the Old Testament saints and prophets, but the gift of the Spirit who would indwell believers had not yet been received (Acts 10:44-45). So, though many people say that Jesus is the living water, Jesus Himself intended the phrase to mean the Holy Spirit who dwells in believers and seals them for salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). It is the ministry of the Spirit, flowing out of a heart redeemed by God, that blesses believers and, through them, brings life and light to the world. Amen.
Spiritual Food: The Word of Life
Scripture: (Matthew 4:4; John 6:63; Acts 5:20; Philippians 2:16; James 1:18)
Jesus gave Peter a three-fold command to "feed my sheep" in John 21:15-17). Each time Jesus said, "Feed my sheep," it was in response to Peter's three-fold declaration of love for Jesus. The setting was one of the last of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances to His disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus prepared a breakfast of fish and bread for them, and then commissioned Peter with the task of feeding His sheep and tending His lambs.
The three commands, although often translated the same way, are subtly different. The first time Jesus says it, the Greek means literally "pasture (tend) the lambs" (v. 15). The Greek word for "pasture" is in the present tense, denoting a continual action of tending, feeding and caring for animals. Believers are referred to as sheep throughout Scripture. "For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care" (Psalm 95:7). Jesus is both our Good Shepherd (John 10:11) and the Door of the sheepfold (John 10:9). By describing His people as lambs, He is emphasizing their nature as immature and vulnerable and in need of tending and care.
The second time, the literal meaning is "tend My sheep" (v. 16). In this exchange, Jesus was emphasizing tending the sheep in a supervisory capacity, not only feeding but ruling over them. This expresses the full scope of pastoral oversight, both in Peter's future and in all those who would follow him in pastoral ministry. Peter follows Jesus' example and repeats this same Greek word poimaino in his first pastoral letter to the elders of the churches of Asia Minor: "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers" (1 Peter 5:2).
The third time, the literal translation is "pasture (tend) the sheep" (v. 17). Here Jesus combines the different Greek words to make clear the job of the shepherd of the flock of God. They are to tend, care for, and provide spiritual food for God's people, from the youngest lambs to the full-grown sheep, in continual action to nourish and care for their souls, bringing them into the fullness of spiritual maturity. The totality of the task set before Peter, and all shepherds, is made clear by Jesus' three-fold command and the words He chooses.
What is this food with which shepherds are to feed the flock of God? It can be no other than the Word of God. Peter declares that Christians are to desire the pure spiritual milk of the Word so that by it, we can mature in our salvation (1 Peter 2:2). As early as the book of Deuteronomy, we see the Lord describing His Word as food for His people who live not by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from His mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3). Jesus reiterates this thought in His temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:4). The importance of the Word of God as food for our souls cannot be over-emphasized.
Clearly, the job of the shepherds of God's people is to provide them with the pure milk of the Word of God so they can move on to the meat and solid food of the spiritually mature (Hebrews 5:12-14). Pastoral ministry should be primarily one of pastors feeding their people the Word of God. Only then can pastors declare, as Peter did, their love for the Lord Jesus.
Spiritual Thirst Satisfied: (Psalm 42-43)
1 As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?
Instinct is a powerful mechanism in the animal kingdom. Instinct enables species to survive and thrive by guiding them in certain mysterious ways even from birth. I'm always amazed to watch documentaries, for instance, that show sea turtles traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles to return to the particular beach from which they hatched in order to lay their eggs—and then witness those hatchlings instinctively heading to the sea to start the cycle all over again. Years ago I was able to watch part of that process one dark night on a beach in northwest Costa Rica.
Salmon defy all odds against a raging river current to return to their spawning grounds. Spiders practice the intricate art of web making in order to get the food they need to survive. Countless species follow precise innate behaviors to protect themselves from predators on the one hand and to lure their next meal on the other. The examples are endless and fascinating. But if for some reason an animal ignores instinctual behavior, it is not long for this world.
When it comes to seeking God's presence, I feel an instinctual yearning. It's a holy lust. A spiritually magnetic pull. A longing so deep in my soul that it feels as powerful as the tides of the earth. Whether I am giddy at a sudden positive turn of life, fretful about the future, or despondent about a loss, whatever the circumstance I want to be in God's presence to share it, reflect with God on it, praise God, or seek God's comfort. And if anything hinders that longing—whether my circumstances, my choices, my laziness, my distractions—then truly I will not survive, and cannot thrive. The psalmist felt it, comparing himself to the thirsty deer, yearning for refreshment in the presence of the Creator. That thirst demands to be quenched. And it can be quenched in healthy ways or unhealthy ways. The world offers innumerable ways to deal with our innate thirst for God's presence. And you know how easy it is to pursue them. We deaden ourselves to this inborn drive or try to fill it with spiritual junk food. We fill our days with the all the distractions of the media or sex or empty success. And unless we surrender to the pull of God's presence, we will not survive. If we're not sensing the refreshing presence of God, the fault is likely not God's. The psalmist recognized this at a time when he felt abandoned by God, alone in his thirst.
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, "Where is your God?"
4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. . . .
The psalmist remembered what it was like when his longing was satisfied and his thirst quenched. The joyful company of his fellow worshipers surrounded him then. He wanted to get back to that place. He wanted to be with God once again, and always.
It's amazing how present and lively God can be for us when we let God have all of us—when we let all of who we are be known and loved. Sure, I've experienced countless times of feeling alone and abandoned, when the tears of loss and fear would run off my chin. But those are times that come and go. Paradoxically, the deep sense of alienation is dissipated only when we let our longing for God grow. Because that's when God fulfills it. If your soul is resonating with this sense of alienation and abandonment, you are no doubt asking yourself what the psalmist asked so many years ago, and what I have asked of myself from time to time in this life:
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
Why indeed? Hope in God. Let yourself long for God's embracing presence. It's not that hard. We really don't have to work at it. We simply need to follow our spiritual instinct as God's created and beloved child. And let the restoring waters of the Spirit flow.
Scripture: (Psalm 36:8) (Isaiah 12:3) (Isaiah 44:3) (Isaiah 55:1) (Matthew 5:6) (John4:14) (John 7:37) (Revelations 7:16) (Revelations 22:17)
Reading Scripture in another version: John 19:28 American Standard Vision (ASV)
"After this Jesus, knowing that all things are now finished, that the scripture might be accomplished, saith, I thirst."
In John 10:10, Jesus said, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." Unlike a thief, the Lord Jesus does not come for selfish reasons. He comes to give, not to get. He comes that people may have life in Him that is meaningful, purposeful, joyful, and eternal. We receive this abundant life the moment we accept Him as our Savior.
This word "abundant" in the Greek is perisson, meaning "exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, superfluous, a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than what one would expect or anticipate." In short, Jesus promises us a life far better than we could ever imagine, a concept reminiscent of 1 Corinthians 2:9: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." The apostle Paul tells us that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, and He does it by His power, a power that is at work within us if we belong to Him (Ephesians 3:20).
Before we begin to have visions of lavish homes, expensive cars, worldwide cruises, and more money than we know what to do with, we need to pause and think about what Jesus teaches regarding this abundant life. The Bible tells us that wealth, prestige, position, and power in this world are not God's priorities for us (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). In terms of economic, academic, and social status, most Christians do not come from the privileged classes. Clearly, then, abundant life does not consist of an abundance of material things. If that were the case, Jesus would have been the wealthiest of men. But just the opposite is true (Matthew 8:20).
Abundant life is eternal life, a life that begins the moment we come to Christ and receive Him as Savior, and goes on throughout all eternity. The biblical definition of life — specifically eternal life — is provided by Jesus Himself: "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3). This definition makes no mention of length of days, health, prosperity, family, or occupation. As a matter of fact, the only thing it does mention is knowledge of God, which is the key to a truly abundant life.
What is the abundant life? First, abundance is spiritual abundance, not material. In fact, God is not overly concerned with the physical circumstances of our lives. He assures us that we need not worry about what we will eat or wear (Matthew 6:25; Philippians 4:19). Physical blessings may or may not be part of a God-centered life; neither our wealth nor our poverty is a sure indication of our standing with God. Solomon had all the material blessings available to a man yet found it all to be meaningless (Ecclesiastes 5:10-15). Paul, on the other hand, was content in whatever physical circumstances he found himself (Philippians 4:11-12).
Second, eternal life, the life a Christian is truly concerned with, is not determined by duration but by a relationship with God. This is why, once we are converted and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are said to have eternal life already (1 John 5:11-13), though not, of course, in its fullness. Length of life on earth is not synonymous with abundant life.
Finally, a Christian's life revolves around "grow[ing] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). This teaches us that the abundant life is a continual process of learning, practicing, and maturing, as well as failing, recovering, adjusting, enduring, and overcoming, because, in our present state, "we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror" ( (1 Corinthians 13:12). One day we will see God face to face, and we will know Him completely as we will be known completely (1 Corinthians 13:12). We will no longer struggle with sin and doubt. This will be the ultimately fulfilled abundant life.
Although we are naturally desirous of material things, as Christians our perspective on life must be revolutionized (Romans 12:2). Just as we become new creations when we come to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), so must our understanding of "abundance" be transformed. True abundant life consists of an abundance of love, joy, peace, and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), not an abundance of "stuff." It consists of life that is eternal, and, therefore, our interest is in the eternal, not the temporal. Paul admonishes us, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:2-3).
How do you respond to Jesus' statement "I am thirsty"?
What does this statement "I am thirsty" suggest to you about Jesus?
What does this statement "I am thirsty" suggest about you?
When did the Holy Spirit come?
After reading the cross reference scripture, explain one of them.
What do spiritual food means?
What is spiritual thirst?
Explain John 10:10, and do you know who Jesus was talking about?
Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life, what did He mean?
O Lord, once again I thank you for what you suffered on the cross. Besides extraordinary pain, you also experienced extreme thirst. All of this was part and parcel of your taking on our humanity so that you might take away our sin. Dear Lord, in your words "I am thirsty" I hear the cry of my own heart. I too am thirsty, Lord, not for physical drink. I don't need sour wine. Rather, I need the new wine of your kingdom to flood my soul. I need to be refreshed by your living water. I yearn for your Spirit to fill me once again. I am thirsty, Lord, for you. Amen.
Reading: Week # 5 (John 13-15)