Almost twenty hours have passed since Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. And during these hours, Jesus Christ suffered many different things from the hands of His captors. He was spat on, whipped, crowned with thorns, and was forced to carry His cross. But He never spoke a word against any of these. He hung on the cross, nailed by His hands and feet, for almost six hours. And when everything had happened according to the ordinance of God, Christ uttered: “I thirst.”
What are the truths behind these two words?
Jesus felt thirst because He was in the form of man, and He would feel and experience the things that a human body naturally feels.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity…”
– Hebrews 2:14
He was born of a woman. He ate and drank. He cried. He was hurt. All these things are proof that He was in the form of man. But it remained that Jesus Christ was not just any normal human being, like some others would like to believe. The Bible states that even before the world was made, Christ was already with the Father. He is the Word. All things were created through Christ, and all live because of Him because He is life.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
– John 1:14
But when the time came, the Word left His place in Heaven and took the lowly form of a man.
In our time, many do not understand this truth about the Christ. There are sects that believe that Christ is only a man, that He is simply flesh and blood like everyone else, and that He did not have a prior existence before His birth as a man. But this is not what the Bible teaches. Christ took the form of a man and was prepared the body of a man who is Jesus.
“Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me’”
– Hebrews 10:5
Jesus the Son of Man, when He was crucified on the cross, suffered great hardship. He could have called down a host of angels to come to His aid, but He did not do so. Instead, He denied His right and birthright so that He could carry the sins of the world.
“Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered”
– Hebrews 5:8
Christ the Mediator
Jesus Christ is the one Mediator between God and man, and He is our Savior. He bore the weight and punishment of our sins on the cross of Calvary so that we may be assured of forgiveness and salvation.
When Jesus Christ carried the sins of the world, He mediated for our salvation. He suffered and endured all the hardships for each and every one of us. The thirst Christ suffered on the cross was like the thirst the condemned rich man felt while he suffered in fiery punishment (Luke 16:24-35). There in the fiery torment, the rich man cried out, begged, for a drop of water that his thirst may be quenched even a little bit. But thirst in hell can never be quenched. This is the eternal punishment, where the gnashing of teeth does not stop because of the great punishment awaiting all sinners.
“Where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched’”
– Mark 9:44
“And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those…”
– Revelations 14:11
But because of this thirst that awaits each sinner, Christ mediated once and for all between God and man. When someone offered Him wine mixed with myrrh on Golgotha He did not accept it. The soldiers gave Him vinegar. But when the Lord uttered the Fifth Saying, it was a declaration that He took the sins of the world.
“Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” – John 18:11
He is the picture of perfect obedience to the will of the Father. Yes, obedience even until death on the cross. And because of Jesus Christ’s obedience, anyone who believes and is baptized is assured the water of life.
“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’
– John 4:10
This verse is Christ’s invitation that we should come to Him, and when we do He promises that the water of life will flow. The water that is promised here is the Holy Spirit.
“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
– Acts 2:38
Quenching the Thirst
Quenching the thirst of Jesus Christ is not copying what He did and also having ourselves nailed on a cross or by flagellating ourselves, like the penitence, abstinence or whatever man-made rituals or ceremonies teach.
When the Lord Jesus Christ started His ministry He did great and marvelous things: the lame walked, the blind saw, He cast out evil spirits, and brought the dead back to life. The harlot and the tax collectors, received forgiveness and hope. These signs were witnessed by the Pharisees, Scribes, the high priests, and even the common man. These signs and miracles were proof that God was with Christ (John 3:2).
Yet, despite these wonderful things, the same people who once welcomed Jesus Christ in Jerusalem with shouts of “Hosanna!” were the same people who demanded that He be crucified on the cross. Even Peter, who once boldly said He would not leave the Master’s side, denied Christ thrice. The greatest of all betrayals was when Judas, one of the apostles, betrayed Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver. In all these things, Christ felt thirst.
And we, the believers, who received Christ as our Lord and Savior in the End-Time, are also proof of Christ’s work of Salvation. He thirsts for our love, because we are the reason that He shed His blood (Acts 20:28), we who are in the Church.
Thus we can quench Christ’s thirst when we love the Church, which was the reason that Christ gave His life. We must love the Church, not out of necessity but love the Church just as we love ourselves, because we are all part of His Church. Different parts but all members of one body.