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April 17 – Jesus’ fifth word on the cross

I thirst.” – John 19:28

Scripture reading: John 19:28-30

Jesus’ fifth word on the cross is only one word in Greek which, when translated is, “I thirst.” And while His mouth was most certainly parched, Jesus is telling us something deeper.

First, this word expresses that Jesus was fully human so that He could justly bear the sins of humans. He didn’t simply appear to be human, He became flesh. While on earth He slept, wept, grew weary, ate, walked and got thirsty. This means that today Jesus knows your aches and weaknesses. He is a High Priest who sympathizes with your infirmities.

Second, John tells us that Jesus spoke this word “to fulfill the Scriptures.” Psalm 69:21 says, “They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.” Jesus is identifying Himself with the godly sufferer of Psalm 69. He is the Suffering Servant of the Lord.

And third, Jesus spoke this word to declare that His death was for you. In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, the rich man was in hell and called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.” Jesus’ thirst is a declaration that He was experiencing and enduring the unquenchable anguish of hell, of divine wrath. He thirsted because the wages of our sins were poured out on Him. Here is our joy: Jesus thirsted so that you and I will never thirst that unquenchable anguish in hell.

Suggestions for prayer

Give thanks that you have a Saviour Who understands and sympathizes with your weaknesses and infirmities. Pray for the salvation of your unbelieving loved ones.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen is the minister of Coram Deo Reformation Church(URC) in Littleton, Colorado.

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