John 19:28 – After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.”
Toward the end of the crucifixion Jesus cried out, “I thirst”. He had remained silent through the beating, the mocking, and the crucifixion; why cry out now?
There are two things we can see from those simple words spoken from the lips of the dying Savior. First, He really became a human. He was not an angel or a spirit floating about. He was flesh and blood. He became a real man to redeem fallen man. He suffered beyond imagination as He took our place on the cross. Here is how Bishop Ellicott describes this.
“If he was ever to redeem man, he must become man. He had to become what we are in order to make us what he is. That is why John stresses the fact that Jesus felt thirst; he wished to show that he was really human and really underwent the agony of the Cross. John goes out of his way to stress the real humanity and the real suffering of Jesus.”
Secondly, maybe Jesus was expressing a different kind of thirst, maybe He was crying out for the kingdom of God and the redemption of fallen man. I believe He was and we can see a clue to this in the scripture. When they offered Him the vinegar to drink He turned His head. He didn’t try to quench His thirst or relieve the suffering, He was drinking the Father’s cup, He was crying out for fallen man. Here is how Matthew Henry describes this.
“But the reason of his complaining of it is somewhat surprising; it is the only word he spoke that looked like complaint of his outward sufferings. When they scourged him, and crowned him with thorns, he did not cry, O my head! or, My back! But now he cried, I thirst. He would thus express the travail of his soul. He thirsted after the glorifying of God, and the accomplishment of the work of our redemption, and the happy issue of his undertaking.”
God displayed His love for us through His Son’s death on the cross. He bore the full cup of God’s wrath against our sins, He literally suffered from the ramifications of my sin when He suffered and died on the cross. What incredible love! What an incredible Savior.