crucifiedThe mission pastor at the Home For Needy Children in Oaxaca, Mexico, recently asked me to share a few words on Easter Sunday about the significance of Jesus statement from the cross, “I’m thirsty.”

My first thought was to spiritualize Jesus words.  Thirst indicates desire.  What the gospel writer, John, wanted to  communicate to his readers was Jesus desire that humanity would believe that God loved them; that Jesus desire was for all mankind to be saved; that Jesus wanted everyone to enjoy God, and that the way was open to all because of the sacrifice He was making, hanging on the cross.  That was my initial thought of what I would share with the gathered faithful on Easter morn.

But, the more I thought about it, and the more I studied the book of John, the more I looked into the historical/cultural millieu in which John wrote, the more I realized that I was way off base.  What John wanted to communicate to the readers of his gospel by recording Jesus statement, “I’m thirsty”, is that, (get ready now), Jesus was thirsty!  He wanted a drink.  John wanted his audience to remember that not only was Jesus God, but that Jesus was also human.

In the book of John, you see a lot of Jesus/God.  Jesus/God overcomes the temptations of Satan.  Jesus/God turns water into wine.  Jesus/God walks on water, reads peoples minds, and brings dead people back to life.  When was the last time you did  any of those things?  Never?  Me too.

Those miracles, or signs, as John calls them, point to Christ’s divinity.  They are all wonderful things that a lving Jesus/God did to show His power and compassion.  But I find it difficult to relate to those things because I have never done them or seen them done.

But, I have been thirsty.  And Jesus was thirsty.  I can relate to that.  John also tells us in the 11th chapter of his gospel that Jesus cried.  I cry sometimes too.  I can relate.  In chapter 13, John lets us know that Jesus was troubled in spirit.  I have been troubled in spirit.  I can relate.

So, while the general focus of John is on Jesus/God, he also gives us snapshots of Jesus/human.  I thank God, that Jesus is also portrayed as a man with human emotions and human needs.  He was one of us.  When we have physical, spiritual, or emotional needs, we can be sure that Jesus identifies with those needs and walks beside us in difficult times to encourage us, strengthen us, hold our hand, and sometimes carry us.

I don’t know  about you, but I’m feelin’ kind of thirsty.

*          *          *          *

Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature  of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.  Philippians 2:6-8

*          *          *          *

Next blog – “I’m sorry.  I’m bad.  I know it.  Daddy, I need help.”