The Word of Distress: “I Thirst”

John 19:28-29
28After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.”29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.

Of all the words spoken on the cross that day, these words were the only ones where Jesus seemed to focus on his person alone. All others last words of Christ on the cross were focused on others – either those present or to God his Father.
It was as if at the lowest point in his life, abased to the lowest levels, his soul takes center stage and while Jesus’ humanity seems to take center stage, it is at this very moment that the divinity of the Messiah is made known. The divinity of Jesus was never more real and present than when Jesus was most fully human. The divinity of Jesus was never more real and present than when Jesus was most fully human.

We have been walking through these last words of Christ on the cross the past few weeks.

First he forgives directly the soldiers who mock, beat, and nailed his battered body to the cross, but we learned that forgiveness extends to all of us for whom this cruel at was necessitated, Jews and Gentiles alike. And it also means we are to forgive.

Next he promises a dying penitent rest and peace and paradise. He had not broken faith with his Father despite the suffering, for this thief had heard him call God Father and the thief heard him forgive those who ill treated him. The dying thief saw Christ and responded humbly.

Jesus fulfils his familial duties by entrusting his mother to the disciple whom he loved. He gives his mother a son in place of the one that is being lost that day, for even on that cross he was still her child. This is only the second time Jesus calls his mother woman- at his first miracle and at this his final miracle. The word of relationship calls puts us in God’s care and calls us to care for one another.
He cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” echoing Psalm 22 when he feels the weight of sin on himself and the heaviness calls him to lament. He is the obedient servant of the Lord, sensing the loss and suffering of the world on his shoulders. His cry was your cry.

And then he returns to focus on his body and his suffering and cries out; “I Thirst”. The Living Water says this, the one who announces that all who thirst may come and drink freely of himself.

Maybe we can join him in his thirst, at least in thirsting after righteousness, justice and peace this Easter season, but in our bodies, the place of our conscious acts, in our bodies, the place we share with others intimately or otherwise and in a way that translates into fullness of life for other bodies.

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