John 19:28                                                   I Thirst                                                           6/29/2003

 

#1.       After This  (John 19:28-30)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       My Strength is Dried Up  (Psalm 22:15-22, Luke 16:24)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 John 19:28                                                        I Thirst                                                           6/29/2003

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, chapter 19:28. In this passage the Lord Jesus has been on the cross for about six hours.  The time there is about three O’clock in the afternoon of Friday, April 3, in the year AD 33, and the Lord Jesus uttered the words:  I Thirst”.  This is the title of our sermon today:  I Thirst”.  I promise that I would cover one of the “Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross” each time we are celebrating the Lord’s Supper.  This Sermon is the fourth one in the series.  Perhaps you remember the titles of the preceding three sermons.  The first was, “Father, Forgive Them”.  The second was, “Behold, Thy Mother”.  The third was, “My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?  Today, I want us to meditate on the fourth saying of the Lord Jesus, “I Thirst”.  What a beautiful text for a sermon; and how tragic.  Here was the Maker of heaven and earth with parched lips.  Here was the Lord of Glory and the Beloved of the Father in need of a drink.  Does it really matter for us to know that Jesus was thirsty, or is it just one of the historical incidents that God sprinkled throughout the Bible? 

Keep in mind that this is not just another book.  This is the Word of God.  There are no mere historical incidents in the Bible.  Everything is important; because, everything comes from the mouth of God.  This event is only recorded in John’s Gospel.  The Apostle John wrote this Gospel narrative rather late in his life, and he saw that the other three Gospel writers had left out this saying of Jesus.  John thought it was very important, because God thought it was very important!  That is why God inspired the Apostle John to write this Gospel.  Let us pick up this reading in John 19:28, where Jesus said:

#1.        After This  (John 19:28-30)

John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

What was after this?  The Lord Jesus was on the cross for about six hours.  The first three hours the sun was beating down on Him mercilessly.  The next three hours was a period of darkness over all the earth, according to the Gospel of Luke.  There was no burning sun and so the earth was cooling off.  The first three hours, from nine O’clock until twelve O’clock was really the hottest part of the day.  The coolest part of the afternoon was when Jesus cried out: “I Thirst”.  He did not ask for a drink during the first three hours.  Why not?  It was because He did not want any physical support that man could offer Him.  He had to endure the wrath of God alone, without the help of any man.  Why then did He ask for a drink at this time?  The key to this problem is found in the words, “After this”.  After Jesus in His soul had gone through the deepest and darkest portals of Hell, and after Jesus suffered in His soul the most severe agony possible, then Jesus in desperation cried out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”  A moment later He saw light at the end of the tunnel, and He knew that the end of His suffering had come.  It was then that Jesus knew “that all things were now accomplished”.

O yes, He was still hanging on the cross, and He was still bleeding from His head, and from His hands, and from His feet, and from His back, but the suffering for our sins was now over; because all things were now accomplished.  Now He was ready for a little drink to relieve His thirst.  He was not longer enduring Hell for our sins.  Can you see that this proves that the physical sufferings of the Lord Jesus were not His only sufferings?  He suffered in His Soul a great deal more than He suffered in His body.  That is the only way we can make sense out of this verse.  That is why we read, “all things were now accomplished”, and with the words “all things” we understand that God refers to the payment for our sins that were transferred to Jesus.  And then we also read, “that the scripture might be fulfilled, (He) saith, I thirst”.  It means that this event was foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures.

It does not mean that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of heaven and earth, was piteously begging from the depths of Hell for a few drops of water to cool His tongue.  Far from it!  Christ was not just a man; He was God Himself.  It means that He had respect for the Old Testament Scriptures and He wanted the Scriptures fulfilled.  It means that Jesus knew all the Old Testament Scriptures better than any human being, because He was there when the Old Testament Scriptures were conceived in the mind of God, and He was there when His servants, the Prophets, penned down all the Old Testament Scriptures.  Before we turn there, however, please turn about 170 pages to your right to the First Epistle to Timothy, chapter 3:16, where we read that Christ was fully God and fully man.

What do I mean when I say, “Christ was there when the Old Testament Scriptures were conceived in the mind of God, before the foundation of the world?”  Christ was not there in His body, because He received His body form Mary, the mother of Jesus.  But Christ was there in His Spirit essence, or in His Soul essence.  Before the foundation of the world, before time began, God already consisted of three Persons, God the Father, God the Son also known as Christ the Saviour, and God the Holy Sprit.  All three Persons were Spirit beings, and all three Persons were One God.  Many Scriptures support this statement, but especially 1 Tim 3:16, which speaks about:

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:  God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Sprit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

What is God saying here?  What is a “mystery”?  A mystery is a divine truth that was once hidden, but now it has been revealed in the Gospel.  Christian mysteries are revealed doctrines.  What are the doctrines contained in this verse of 1 Tim 3:16? 

First of all, “God was manifest in the flesh”.  It means, when we speak of the Lord Jesus Christ, we recognize that He was the carpenter of Nazareth, but we also must acknowledge Him as fully God, “for in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9).  God the Son is fully God, just like God the Father is fully God, and God the Holy Spirit is fully God.  The Lord Jesus was not a Divine man, and He was not a humanized God; but He was the perfect union of God and man in one Person.  He was the God-man; forever God and from now on, forever man.  When the Beloved of the Father took on a human body, He did not cease to be God and He did not lay aside any of His Divine attributes.  But He did strip Himself of the glory, which He had with the Father, before the world was.

Secondly, the Lord Jesus Christ, or God the Son, was “justified in the Spirit”.  What does that mean?  To be justified means to be made righteous.  When was God the Son ever unrighteous?  Well, He became unrighteous when the guilt of all the sins of all the elect was imputed to Him.  Theirs were the only sins He bore in His body and in His Soul.  The angel said to Joseph, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, (=Saviour), for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21).  “His people” are all the Elect, whom the Father chose to be the Bride of Christ before the foundation of the world.  Since He bore the guilt of our sins in His body as well as in His Soul, He had to pay the penalty for our sins both in His Body and in His Soul.  Just like when we would have to pay for our sins, we also would have to pay for them both in body and in soul in Hell.  Now, it is a severe error to think that Christ only had to suffer in His body, because He had to be justified, or be made righteous, or be washed from our sins in His Soul, or in His Spirit.  There is no indication that Christ had to pay a reduced sentence, by suffering only in His body.  That is why we read in 1 Tim 3:16 that He was “justified in the Spirit”. 

Thirdly, we read in 1 Tim 3:16, He was “seen of angels”.  Now, that is nothing new.  God the Son was seen of angels before Adam and Eve.  But the Hebrew word translation “angels” is better translated “messengers”.  Who were the messengers of God when the Lord Jesus walked on this earth?  Well, they were the Apostles and the disciples who made up the first Congregation in the upper room, where there were 120 gathered.  After Jesus’ ascension, before that first memorial Pentecost Sunday, they gathered in the upper room.  The reprobate could no see Him as their Saviour.  The Lord Jesus said, “Except a man be Born Again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  Only those who were chosen by the Father could see Jesus as their Messiah, and were drawn by the Father to Jesus.  Only these “messengers” saw him as the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.  Fourthly, these were the messengers who preached Christ unto the Gentiles beginning from Pentecost, seven weeks after His resurrection.  Initially, all these messengers did not preach Christ unto the Gentiles.  The Gentiles were considered heathen dogs, which do not deserve to be saved.  They deserved to go to Hell.  But God sent Peter to the household of Cornelius, and God sent Philip to the Ethiopian Eunuch, and God sent Philip, Peter and John to the Samaritans, and God sent preachers to the Greeks of Antioch in Syria and they became believers, and God sent out of their midst the Apostle Paul, and Barnabas, and Silas to the Gentiles, and they in turn sent many others out because God sent them out to evangelize the Gentiles. 

Fifthly, what was the result?  We read here in 1Tim 3:16, the result was that Christ was “believed on in the world”.  He was not just believed in the Roman Empire.  Within a few hundred years He was known throughout the continents of Europe, Africa, and Asia.  And 1,500 years after the Cross, Christ was known and believed in every continent of the world.  In his dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw “the stone that was cut out without hands”, which smote the image of Satan, and it became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Dan 2:35). 

Sixthly, we read in 1Tim 3:16, “Christ was received up into glory”.  Why would God add this bit of information about the ascension of the Lord Jesus, forty days after His resurrection?  We know that God is not redundant with the information He places in the Bible.  What does it mean that “Christ was received up into glory”?  It means that He was crowned King of kings and Lord of lords.  It means that Christ is now already crowned and reigning as King in the Kingdom He purchased at the cross.  God says in Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ”.  Christ was received up into glory and is now seated on the right hand of His heavenly Father.  From thence, He shall come to judge the living and the dead. 

Why would God add this information after mentioning the success story that Christ was believed on in the world; this information about the ascension?  It is because God knew that in the nineteenth century there would be a system of thought developed in the church that the Lord Jesus would come a total of three times to this earth.  The first time He came was about 2,000 years ago.  The second time He would come before the Great Tribulation and set up an earthy kingdom with Jerusalem as the capital, and this kingdom will last for 1,000 years where there would be peace throughout all the earth and all ethnic Jews would be evangelizing the world.  This would be the time when Christ will be crowned King of kings.  In other words, they claim that presently, Christ is not reigning yet, because the ethnic Jews “rejected Him”. 

Where did this pack of lies come from?  Well, I want you to know that about 1830 years after Christ’s birth a 15 year-old girl in Scotland named Margaret McDonald claimed that she had received a new revelation from God.  This supposed “new revelation” was picked up by a pastor named Edward Irving, and later by another pastor named John Nelson Darby.  These two pastors then began looking through their Bibles and developed this idea into and entire system, which is known today as “Dispensationalism”.  This doctrine spread to the United States in the mid-1800’s.  A man named C. I. Scofield then picked up this doctrine, and he worked diligently to spread this doctrine through the notes of the Scofield Reference Bible.  This doctrine gained such a wide acceptance today, that at least 90% of the churches have adopted this pack of lies.  In fact, there are people who do not even know there is a different view of eschatology. 

How do I dare to call this a pack of lies?  I dare to do this based on what God commanded us in the “Sharp Edge of the Sword”.  Remember where this doctrine came from?  It came from a girl who claimed that she had an additional revelation from God.  Rev. 22:18 says, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book”.  In other words, from the time that God dictated this last page in the Bible, at about AD 100, God declared that He will not give any more Divine Revelation.  The Bible is finished.  Anyone who believes that God is still bringing Divine Revelation today is under the wrath of God.  I did not dare to say that, but God said it.  Time and time again I plead with you all, that you apply this sharp edge of the Sword of the Word of God, Rev 22:18-19.   This will teach you discernment of what is true and what is false.  And most importantly, we must have discernment of what brings glory to Christ and what does not. 

The claim that Christ has not yet been crowned King of kings and Lord of lords is debasing the Gospel of Christ crucified.  Therefore, this entire system of “Dispensationalism” should be rejected as a “pack of lies”.  Now, let us return to the words of Christ on the cross.  Why did He say:  “I Thirst,” and why did He say it at this time, in the cool of the day?  It was because He just suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.  God wants us to know that, and that is why God inspired the Apostle John to write this.  It may not be left out.  This is an important piece of the puzzle to know what the Atonement really means.  Please turn in your Bibles to Psalm 22:15.  You find the Psalms in the middle of your Bibles.   This is a Psalm supposedly written by David.  But God dictated these words to David, because David really did not describe his own experiences here.  God revealed to David the sufferings of Christ on the cross.  This is a Messianic Psalm.  These are the words of Christ, which He declared on the cross, and words which He prayed silently when He was suffering on the cross.  The Lord Jesus said:

 #2.      My Strength is Dried Up   (Psalm 22:15-22, Luke 16:24)        

Psalm 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

If God, the Son says, “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws”, then we know that this in no run of the mill suffering of a man who has been crucified.  In fact, it has been recorded that some men have endured the agony of crucifixion ten days before they finally died.  But when God the Son says “I Thirst”, it is a thirst that is exceedingly more severe than any human thirst experienced on this earth.  Only the parable of the rich man and Lazarus can shed some light on this utterance of Jesus.  We read in Luke 16:24 that “the rich man cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame”.  When we read then how much the Lord Jesus had to suffer for our sins, we stand amazed that the people of the world take such an unbelieving attitude.  Some of them say, “I will take my chances”, or “I have lived a pretty good life, God will not cast me into Hell”, or “a loving God will not cast people in Hell”, or “Hell is a lake of fire, and we would be incinerated in an instant”, and many more such sayings inspired by the mind of Satan.  But if God caused His only begotten Son to suffer this much, how dare anyone think that they can escape with anything less than an eternity in Hell? 

Psalm 22:16 For dogs have compassed me:  the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me:  they pierced my hands and my feet.  

Did you notice?  David was never pierced in his hands and his feet.  Who are the dogs and who are the wicked?  The Lord Jesus is referring to the Reprobate who were appointed by God to crucify Him.  For example, Judas Iscariot was appointed by God to betray Him.  Before the foundation of the world God divided the human race into two groups:  the Elect and the Reprobate.  The Elect were chosen to become saved.  The Reprobate would be left in their sins and they will certainly be plunged into Hell on Judgment Day on account of their own sins.  You might ask:  Why does God have to take such drastic measures?  The answer is simple:  God must forcibly draw His Elect, because left on our own inclinations we would never come to Christ.  We were conceived and born in sin, and we were enemies of God from the day we were born.  Therefore, only if God would draw us could we become saved.  God also ordained that His Elect must suffer persecution, and suffer all kinds of other things, because it is good for them to be afflicted.  God in His wisdom could see that, whereas most of us cannot see that. 

So, who is going to bring that affliction?  Satan and his messengers have been appointed to do that work.  All the Reprobate are gladly going to comply, because this is what they do naturally.  Let me give you an example, the 2nd world war was an event that did not catch God by surprise.  God was going to use that war in His plan to save some.  But who will do this dastardly deed of creating a world war where more than forty million people died?  The Reprobate were appointed to do this.  That is why the Reprobate are in the world.  They gladly comply and do those things that they do naturally.  So God’s plan is carried out as He designed it.  We read in Psalm 22:17-22:

Psalm 22:17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

Psalm 22:18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

Psalm 22:19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

Psalm 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.

Psalm 22:21 Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

Psalm 22:22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

What will Christ declare to His brethren, and who are His brethren?  Christ will bring the gospel to all those who are the Elect of God.  They are His brethren.  Christ will make them to know His heavenly Father and Christ will send them the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth, in order:

Let me read to you once more from John 19:28.  Just listen as I read:

John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

The Lord Jesus is God, and therefore He had the greatest respect for the Scriptures.  It was because of the Scriptures that He had to endure the full wrath of God for our sins.  Our God is a righteous Judge.  His Law is totally dependable.  If God would set aside His Law for His only beloved Son, or if God would make an exception and reduce the penalty just once for His own Son, how then can we be assured that He would not set aside His promise when we mess up?  How can we be sure that we are on the way to heaven?  But our God abides firmly on the Scriptures.  God has assured us in John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent”.  God has performed His work in us, because He was drawing us irresistibly to the Lord Jesus, and God will continue His work in us, because God does not do anything imperfectly.  For example, God will not abandon us because we fail to depart out of His church, as some claim, and God will not abandon us when we fail to partake of the Lord’s Supper, and God will not abandon us when we put all our trust in the Word of God, from cover to cover. 

So, let me try to summarize what I have been saying in the past 35 minutes or so.  What does it mean that Jesus said “I Thirst”?  It meant “That the Scripture might be fulfilled.”  The Spirit of God moved David to say of the coming Messiah, “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psalm 69:21).  How marvelously complete was this prophetic fore- view!  No essential item was missing from it.  Every important detail of the Atonement had been written down beforehand.  Let me just list a few: 

There are just too many to be listed here in one sermon.  But these are all prophesied in the Old Testament.  If we just stay with Psalm 22 we have more material here than we have time for.  Look at verse 22 where Jesus says: “I will declare thy name unto my brethren:  in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee”.  How do I know that Jesus said this?  It is because God quoted these as Jesus’ words in Heb 2:12.  If Jesus states that He will declare the Father’s name to His brethren, the Elect of God, how can we pretend that we can rest, and take our ease?  Of course, we shall not do that.  Instead, we will sing with the Saints of the past 100 years in a transliteration of Psalm 22 these words:

 

All kindreds of the earth shall own and worship Him as God alone.

All earth to Him her homage brings, the Lord of lords, the King of kings.

And children’s children shall proclaim the glorious honor of His Name.

From age to age shall men be taught what wondrous works the Lord has wrought.

 

And the refrain goes as follows:

 

These are the words of Hymn #36 that we are going to sing about 20 minutes from now.

Amen.  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.