2006-03-17 - The Last Seven Words of Christ
I thirst. John 19:28
Just two simple words, but they speak volumes. While hanging on the cross, Christ expressed his thirst. What does this mean to us, in our everyday lives?
It means that our Lord was human, and understands our physical sesnations. Whether it's hunger, thirst, cold, heat or pain, He understands what we are going through. Christ weeps over the swollen belly of the small starving child in Africa or in our own poverty-stricken areas (as He moves us to help). He empathizes with our pain. Most of us will never experience anything remotely as painful as the excruciating agony of crucifixion. If you have a strong stomach, I recommend that you read up on this practice, for it may give you a deeper appreciation of what how much He loves us.
It means that it's okay for us to express our emotions. Nowhere did Christ tell us to avoid this, to "keep a stiff upper lip" etc., and in fact He was a role model, evincing at different times anger, grief, exasperation and compassion etc. Yet you'd think otherwise, from the sadly misguided advice of some Christian "leaders." And He wasn't alone. Just to give two illustrations, Paul honestly expressed feelings (sadness, frustration, joy), as did the Psalmists - to fellow believers and God, respectively. The last time I checked, there was no 11th Commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Show Thy Emotions." Emotions, in themselves, are neither evil nor good; they simply "are," and what is important is how we deal with them. To some of us, this is elemental truth, but to those who have sat under faulty teaching, this is hard to grasp.
Sometimes I think we tend to think Christ doesn't understand if we are tempted by greed, lust, pride or something else. We think "He's God. He's perfect. He couldn't understand." But that's false theology. In fact, His humanness means that Christ, the only High Priest we need, understands our temptations, - for He himself was tempted in every way that we can ever be, as Paul reminds us in Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV).
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we areyet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
In short, this little sentence, "I thirst," means that even if we feel no one understands us, our Lord understands us fully.
Comments or Questions?