Good Friday marks the day in which we remember what Christ died for us; He sacrificed Himself so that we could be washed of our sins through our faith in Him. I wanted to celebrate Passion Week, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday this year by sharing in the seven last words of Jesus Christ. I hope that you have enjoyed the two recent days of our study, and I hope that you have shared them as well. We will finish up the seven last words (sayings) of Jesus by taking a look at His final three sayings.
In the first two sayings, we saw Jesus as the forgiving God; He lived out what He taught in forgiveness. His third saying, we saw Jesus as the loving God; He cared for His mother and John. His fourth saying, we saw the human side of Jesus come out as He suffered physically and spiritually on the cross. You will see that the same suffering continues in Jesus’ fourth saying from the cross.
Thirsting for God
In John’s gospel, He does not write about the fourth saying from the cross as we can read in both Mark and Matthew’s gospels. John writes about Jesus’ love for His mother and then writes what we read in verse 28. To fully understand what is meant in this scripture, we need to know that fourth saying. Trying to understand this saying without that saying does not give us a truly complete understanding.
Jesus says, “I thirst”, and so that is something that we can have a basic understanding of without knowing the fourth saying. Our basic understanding comes from having to live every day and understanding how the human body works. We can consider the fact that Jesus got not sleep the previous night, was beat, whooped, hit in the face, and had to travel back and forth as they tried Him of His “crime”. A crown of thorns was placed on Jesus’ head (Matt. 27:49; Mark 15:17; John 19:2), and then He had to bear His cross through the city and up Golgotha (Matt. 27:32-33; Mark 15:20-21; Luke 23:26; John 19:17). Jesus was then crucified by having His body nailed to a cross, which we know was the case because Thomas touched the holes in palms of Jesus’ hand after His resurrection (John 20:27).
From a physical standpoint, we can understand the basics that Jesus had a lot going on physically. Jesus had already lost blood from His head, but now He was likely losing it from His hands and around His ankles as well. It was highly likely that Jesus’ body was going through shock at this point. I can’t imagine the stress all of this was putting on His heart and also the physical strain that was being put on His body. Let’s not forget that Jesus had not eaten since the Passover feast – I like to always remind people of this fact because it’s another detail we often miss.
However, when we add in the fourth saying which was translated to mean, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”, we can get the fuller understanding of “I thirst”. Jesus suffered physically but also spiritually; Spiritually speaking, Jesus’ suffering was even greater than His physical suffering. Spiritually, His connection to the Father was gone as He began to take the place of our sins. God’s wrath, His anger towards sin, will be to cast it away from His presence – Jesus was spiritually cast from the presence of the Father (forsaken) because of our sins.
Jesus certainly could have been thirsty, physically speaking, but spiritually speaking, He was certainly thirsting for His Father’s presence. Jesus thirst for His connection with the Father while suffering on the cross and I feel that this is often missed by believers. Yes, the cross was physically grueling for Christ, but it was also spiritually grueling. His loss was so great on the cross that Christ could only utter “I thirst” in this saying.
Many of us have thirst in the same manner for the Lord. Our thirst was quenched by the blood of Jesus. Jesus said (John 6:54-56), “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” I believe all spirits thirst for God in the same manner, but not all spirits have their thirst quenched because they drink from the wrong fountain.
In His next saying, we see Jesus say:
“It is finished!” Are there any more powerful words uttered in scripture? They put the sour wine to Jesus’ mouth after hearing Him say, “I thirst”, but by that point, Jesus had completed His task. When Jesus says “It is finished”, He means His job in the role as the Lamb is done. From the day that Adam sinned in the garden, the Lord always had a plan of bringing man back into His graces.
The Lord saw mankind’s sin and sent a great flood leaving behind one righteous man and his family. Mankind began to sin all over again and one man, Abraham (then called Abram) heard, listened, and obeyed. Through this man came a nation that the Lord favored and hoped would spread His name throughout the world but they fell into sin and turned from God. The Lord saw that no man would intercede on behalf of another’s sin so He sent His only begotten Son into the world to intercede on behalf of mankind’s sins.
“It is finished” represents the atoning of mankind’s sins being completed. Now, I want to say that this does not represent mankind’s victory over sin. Jesus had to be risen from the grave for mankind to then proclaim victory over sin because the grave is one of the penalties for sin. To be able to rise out of the grave is a sign of victory over sin. However, we first must have faith in that “It is finished” because that is what atones for our sin.
Jesus washed the disciple’s feet and while washing their feet, Jesus told Peter (John 13:8), “I must wash your feet if you are to have part with Me”. For us to have part with Jesus, we have to be washed of our sins. The only thing capable of washing us of our sins is the atoning blood of Jesus. Therefore, we must have faith in both the resurrection and the cross. We must have faith in “It is finished”.
A final prayer
Jesus’ final saying:
What is remarkable to me is that Jesus, even though the Father had turned away from Him (because He became sin), we see that Jesus still holds on to His Father. People give up on God so quickly when something goes “bad/wrong”. We think to ourselves, “God doesn’t care about me,” when things don’t go the way we have planned in our head. I want you to notice that after all of His physical and spiritual suffering, Jesus still loved His Father and was still OBEDIENT to His Father.
Jesus said (Matthew 6:9), “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father”. In His final breaths, Jesus says a prayer starting off with the word “Father” – Jesus prays to His Father in His final breaths! This is how our faith should be! When things are going good, pray in His name! When things are going bad, pray in His name! Our faith must be real, our faith must be genuine!
Some believe that they can wait until their final moments to have genuine faith. Our faith, our obedience to God, must be like how Christ’s was on the cross. We learn everything we need to know about Jesus, at the cross. Jesus was/is forgiving. He was/is caring. Jesus was/is faithful and obedient. I hope you enjoyed my study on the seven last words (sayings) of Jesus Christ over the past few days. I also hope that you will share these studies with others!
As always, may the Lord keep and bless you! I hope that you have a wonderful Resurrection Sunday/weekend.