Saturday, 7 April 2012

Fifth word on the cross

The fifth phrase uttered on the cross is the shortest of the seven things that Jesus said as he was dying... In English, it is three sometimes two words (in some translations it is simply I thirst) but in fact in the original language, it is only one word – dipso – spoken by Jesus to declare:

“I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)

There is no doubt that Jesus experienced extreme thirst on the cross. He’d been hanging on it for over three hours and by that point, he would have lost a lot of bodily fluid (blood from all the wounds and sweat from all the heat). Thus at one level, Jesus’ statement that he is thirsty was an obvious thing to say. But, notice how John introduces Jesus’ words:

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

The Apostle John (who wrote the Gospel) wants his readers to know that Jesus’ thirst wasn’t simply about the mere obvious. Yes, Jesus is thirsty given all that’s happened but, there is more to it than that: his thirst comes about in order to fulfil the Scriptures.

And here we are reminded that Jesus’ death was no mere accident. Sometimes people ask: why did such a young man with such a promising and exciting life come to so tragic an end? Why if Jesus is the Son of God did his life end the way it did? Why this horrible death?

Well here in John’s Gospel, we’re given part of the answer. Jesus death was no mere accident – it was planned by God for our good and for His glory. Jesus’ death wasn’t some tragic mistake; it was a purposeful mission to accomplish the greatest rescue plan, the greatest sacrifice, the greatest victory this world will ever know – this death is the best news ever.

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