Seven Words from the Cross:
The Fifth Word
The fifth word from the cross is probably the most perplexing one. Why did John bother to record it? In the agony of his crucifixion, shortly before he dies, Jesus yearns for a drink and says, “I thirst.” (John 19:28) It seems utterly insignificant. Why did Jesus say it, and why did John record it?
Now, we can come up with reasons why Jesus would be thirsty. He had not slept for about 30 hours. He had lost a great deal of blood. His life was draining from him. So he was exhausted, parched, and dehydrated. All of these are pretty reasonable guesses. But that is not the reason John provides. Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” (John 19:28) There you have it: “To fulfill the Scripture.”
There is some uncertainty about which prophecy Jesus was fulfilling. Perhaps Psalm 69: “For my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.” (Psalm 69:21) Perhaps Psalm 42: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:2) Perhaps Psalm 22: "My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws." (Psalm 22:15) Perhaps another prophecy. Perhaps all of them. Regardless, Jesus labors at the cross for us. He not only suffers because of our disobedience, but he also labors to obey and fulfill every word of Scripture on our behalf. He thirsts for our salvation and is determined to complete it—every commandment obeyed, every word fulfilled, every sin covered.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6) If you hunger and thirst for something, that means you don't have it. You crave it because you need it. And what you need, Jesus Christ supplies. He obeys the Commandments to provide the righteousness you need. He fulfills every prophecy to supply the salvation you need. He dies under the full wrath of God to make the atonement you need. He satisfies your longing for God's forgiveness and love and peace.
The drink is supplied. The Scriptures are fulfilled. Salvation is won. And the blessings are yours. Why did God revealed it? So you can be sure of it.