“I am thirsty!” John 19:28 (NIV)
Mark’s account tells us that Jesus had turned down the offer of a drink earlier as they led Him to the cross.
“And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘Place of the Skull’). They offered Him wine drugged with myrrh, but He refused it. Then the soldiers nailed Him to the cross.” Mark 15:22-24a (NLT)
The intent of this mixture was to help dull the senses in anticipation of the excruciating pain for one being crucified. But, Jesus wouldn’t have it. He refused to escape from any of the pain or accept temporary comfort but chose, instead, to remain in command of all His senses. After almost six hours on the cross, had He changed His mind? Certainly the enormous drain of energy, perspiration and loss of blood would create enough dehydration to be thirsty. Yet, when you read the account in John, I think you will agree that He wasn’t asking for a drink to satisfy His thirst alone. There was another reason.
This fifth statement from Jesus while on the cross is closely related to the final two. I believe the reason Jesus asked for something to drink had more to do with what He was about to say. With the cross as His pulpit, Jesus was about to preach His final sermon, and He needed a clear voice to do it. What He was about to say would be too profound, too triumphant to be muttered or choked out. In His humanity, He needed help to prepare for what He was about to say as well as to fulfill two prophecies in the Old Testament found in Psalm 22:15 and 69:21.
Here’s another dimension of grace we find from the cross. Grace means humbly admitting my need. One author put it like this,
“Jesus’ plea for a drink is a reminder that no one is so in control, so spiritual, so self-sufficient, that he can make it through a bad day without people to help him. … If the Son of God requested help during Calvary’s struggle, I am wise to remember that I will have times I need to ask for help, for human assistance, as an avenue of divine grace.”
This isn’t an escape from accepting my own responsibilities but recognition that, in times of overload, I have a community of faith to call on for help to clarify my own confession of faith.
Are you carrying a burden too heavy to bear? Do you feel crushed under its weight and immobilized? Be humble enough to admit your need. As you do, you’ll find greater clarity that will strengthen your faith and embolden you to stand strong. This is one of the great benefits to being actively involved in a community of faith.
“Two are better than one, … If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” Eccl. 4:9 (NIV)