Sunday, April 10, 2011

7 Sayings Of The Cross – Part 5 - "I Thirst"

Temple Baptist Church - 4-10-2011

John 19:28-30


A. Calvary is an inexhaustible subject as it involves the infinite love, mercy, grace, and sacrifice of God for sinful man. Sinful man, loved by a holy God in spite of fault and failure. The reconciliation of the irreconcilable! Oh, what a Saviour Jesus Christ is!

B. Thus far, we have seen:

1. Calvary’s Pardon as Jesus Christ cried out for the forgiveness of Herod the king of Galilee, Pilate was the Roman governor in Judea, the Roman soldiers who drove the nails into His hands and feet carried out the brutal torture, to the Jews who planned it and for all the human race who are responsible for His crucifixion. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do!”

2. Calvary’s Promise as Jesus Christ responded to the penitent cry of a dying thief. To the thief He promised, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise,” thus giving hope to all who put their faith in Him.

3. Calvary’s Provision as Jesus Christ placed His loving mother into the hands of John the beloved. “Woman, behold thy son…Behold thy mother.” Dying, our Lord entrusted His earthly family to His earthly church.

4. Calvary’s Price as our Lord became sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him! “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Because Jesus Christ literally became sin for us that we might one day live forever with Him.

5. Now we come to Calvary’s Pain as, in the darkness of the noon day, Jesus Christ’s voice was heard once more. “I thirst.”

C. All things are now accomplished! Jesus Christ has done all that He came to do. He has left nothing undone including the care of His earthly mother. I continue to emphasis “His earthly mother” because Jesus Christ—as Jehovah God—had no mother! He has now become sin for us and is “forsaken” of the Father. As we were separated from the Father by our sin, Jesus Christ is now separated from the Father by our sin!

Romans 14:8-9 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. (9) For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

D. At Calvary, we find the climax of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry; the culmination of God’s Salvation Plan which was pre-determined from the foundation of the world. During these hours of darkness, we find the payment of sin manifested in a twofold suffering.

1. One: the suffering of separation from God the Father! In hell, the rich man of Luke 16 was separated from Abraham’s Bosom by a gulf that was “fixed” by God. It was a gulf that could not be breached. Sin separates and this division must be reconciled in order for men to eternally live with the Lord.

2. Two: the suffering of physical pain! In hell, the rich man was tormented in the flames! He thirsted! Hell is a literal place with an eternal, painful separation from God.

E. “I thirst!” For the first time, Jesus Christ requested something for Himself! In Matthew 27, before His crucifixion, the Roman soldiers offered Him vinegar mingled with gall—which would have dulled the pain and lessened the suffering. Jesus Christ refused the sedation offered!

Matthew 27:33-35a And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, (34) They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. (35) And they crucified him…

F. That the scripture might be fulfilled - Psalms 69:21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (Our Lord fulfilled every Old Testament prophesy during His earthly life. This was proof positive that Jesus Christ was Jehovah God in the flesh! One could possibly find one or two prophecies fulfilled in other men, but not all 61 major prophecies! In fact the chance of one man fulfilling even eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power [1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 or 100 quadrillion] This has been illustrated by imagining placing 100 quadrillion silver dollars on the State of Texas which would result in two feet "sea" of silver wherever you tread! Now is where the odds get interesting. Mark one of the silver dollars distinctively and throw it into the state. Stir it all up and blindfold a man who has one pick to select the marked coin. That's the odds against anyone fulfilling only 8 prophecies, much less what most authorities feel is something like 330 plus Old Testament prophecies in some way fulfilled in the Messiah. To phrase it another way, these incredible odds just illustrated are the same chance that the OT prophets would have had of writing eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man providing they wrote them in their own wisdom. One can conclude that the fulfilment of even just eight prophecies proves that God inspired the writing of these prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 10 to the 17th power! The odds against all 330 plus OT prophecies being fulfilled in one man cannot even be reasonably illustrated, as they are so high!)

G. An ordinary man would not have made it to this point! Isaiah 52:14, 53:5 “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men… But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (No man has ever been beaten as Christ was beaten! He was unrecognizable as a man before He went to the cross.)

H. The pain and suffering was beyond our human imagination! I have read much concerning the suffering from a medical viewpoint and the agony must have been beyond anything that we have ever experienced. I do not want to major on these physical sufferings but do want us to realize that no man has ever or ever will suffer as He suffered.

I. The Roman soldiers could not kill Him! The crucifixion could not kill Him!

John 10:17-18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (We will find in a later message that Jesus Christ had to dismiss (lay down) His life for us. His death was entirely voluntary!)

J. The Sufferings of Christ were manifold:

1. The Sufferings of Gethsemane

a. Suffering at the hands of Sorrow - Matthew 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

b. Suffering at the hands of Sleeping Saints - Matthew 26:40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

c. Suffering at the hands of Sinners - Matthew 26:45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

d. Suffering at the hands of a Supposed Saint - Matthew 26:47-49 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. (48) Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. (49) And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

2. The Sufferings Of Gabbatha

a. He was lied about - Mark 14:55-56 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. (56) For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.

b. They spit upon Him - Matthew 27:30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

c. They smote Him - Matthew 26:67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,

d. They mocked Him - Luke 23:11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.

e. They scourged Him - John 19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.

f. They crowned Him with thorns - Mark 15:17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,

g. They smote Him on the crown of thorns - Mark 15:19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.

h. They rejected Him for a thief - Luke 23:18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:

i. They caused Him to bear His cross - John 19:17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

3. The Suffering of Golgotha

a. They nailed Him - Psalms 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

b. They railed on Him - Matthew 27:39-44 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, (40) And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. (41) Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, (42) He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. (43) He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. (44) The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

c. They crucified Him – Three little words! Psalms 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. (He suffered physically in almost every way – I know that the death and suffering of Christ was not like that of others but here is a description of what crucifixion would feel like to the human body and Christ had one.)

Jesus is offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild sedative. He refuses to drink. He is placed on the cross on His back. His flesh in ribbons, the pain is excruciating. The Roman soldier drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through a hand and deep into the wood. He moves to the other side and repeats the action being careful not to pull the arms to tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The left foot is now pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The cross is then lifted into place and then drops into place. His weight falls helplessly upon the nailed hands and feet. The Victim is now crucified. As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the hands excruciating pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain -- the nails in the hands and feet are putting pressure on the nerves. As He pushes Himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet. At this point, as the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by his arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, he is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen. It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences recorded. Now follows hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain where tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins...A terrible crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. One remembers again the 22nd Psalm, the 14th verse: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels." It is now almost over. The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level; the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissue; the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps His fifth cry, "I thirst." One remembers another verse from the prophetic 22nd Psalm: "My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death." A sponge soaked in vinegar is lifted to His lips. He apparently doesn't take any of the liquid. The body of Jesus is now in extremes and death now nears. He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. His mission of atonement has completed as He cries, "It is finished." With one last surge of strength, he once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, "Father! Into thy hands I commit my spirit." Now He wills His body to die.

Conclusion: So few words to describe such suffering. “They crucified him…I thirst!"
1. The Magnitude Of That Thirst can never be fully realized.

2. The Meaning Of That Thirst takes to the depths of hell and a rich man who cried for water out of his torments.

3. The Message Of That Thirst is once again that Christ died for the sins of the world!

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