Sermon delivered April 6, 1996

by Pastor Don Gettys, McDonald Road SDA Church, McDonald, TN

Jesus suffered immensely there on the old rugged cross. The Bible says that "by His wounds you have been healed"--I Peter 2:24 NIV.

Hospitals have five classifications of wounds. When Jesus was crucified on the old rugged cross He suffered Every possible type of wound known to science:

Think about this: If we are healed by His wounds, then We are also healed by His Thirst. Jesus suffered thirst there on the old rugged cross.

JOHN 19:28-29 ----THIRST----

The terrible darkness finally lifted about 3:00 PM (Luke 23:44). Jesus said: I am Thirsty. Which would you rather be?-- Thirsty or Hungry? I believe that thirst was the greatest physical pain that Jesus went through there on the cross. When they scourged him He did not cry out "O MY BACK". When they drove that crown of thorns on Him He did not cry out "O MY HEAD". But now He cried "I THIRST". Thirst is a terrible condition.

It gets warm in the spring time in Palestine. Over time, the hot sun, like a dehydrator, sucked every drop of fluid from its naked victim. Jesus lips were parched. His voice was dry and raspy. Jesus was terribly thirsty.

One thing that helped Jesus awful plight was the weather. Jesus was taken out to Calvary and actually nailed and hung on the cross about 9 in the morning. About noon when the sun really became intense, and hot, it got dark- (Matthew 27:45). The cooling clouds eased the craving thirst for water. The darkness stayed for several hours until about 3 PM.

In mid afternoon the hot sun came back out. It was right after this that Jesus cried out for water.

Hanging up there on the cross Jesus was unable to quench His thirst. His hands were tied (NAILED). So He had to ask for a drink. Yet Christ in His weakest hour performed His greatest task!

What proof that Jesus was human. He did become flesh. In His life he hungered, He slept, He wept, He fell under the weight of the cross. And so here Jesus cried out in great thirst. It must have been real agony because how many times in the Bible do you remember Jesus asking for someone to help Him with some physical need?

JOHN 19:28 -- "Knowing that all was now completed....He thirsted."

This small phrase tells me a lot about Jesus. Only when He was totally satisfied that His job was completed did He take time out for a personal need of His own. How unselfish Jesus is! He is hanging there in extreme personal pain and immense suffering, but not until He is sure that each and every detail of the great plan of salvation is complete will He allow His mind to turn to His own needs. He placed others first. What a great Saviour!

Prophecy foretold His tongue would cleave to His jaws--Psalm 22:15

Pain is a powerful weapon. The pain of thirst is terrible. We might ask If God is so good, how can He allow so much evil and sorrow to exist? Cancer. Suffering. Loss. Pain. This is a hard question. God does not really explain pain, but sent Jesus Who experienced it along with us.

If you would have walked past the crucifixion that day and you got a glimpse of Jesus dying and His mother crying. You might ask yourself: How can a God of love allow such suffering? But God was using this very event to bring salvation to some of the very ones who were there.

One small boy was talking to his friend whose father was a surgeon. "Your daddy is MEAN. He sticks needles in people, cuts them with a sharp knife, brings them days of pain, and then sends them a big bill". The son said: Well, even so I know that my dad loves people.

ISAIAH 63:9 says "In all their afflictions He was afflicted."

Doctor R.G. Lee told of a lady whose little girl fell out of a window to her death. The poor mother asked the doctor a question: "Where was God when my little girl fell?" Dr. Lee said: "He was right where He was when His Son fell out of heaven and landed on the point of a cross". When Jesus hung there on that cross he suffered thirst. He suffered with us. For our benefit. For our salvation. His death was for our gain.

On that day:

Our tired Saviour was not crucified in a cathedral between two shining brass candles, but between two thieves, there practically on the town garbage heap; at two dusty crossroads so cosmopolitan that Pilate had to write His message in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. It was a worldly place where thieves cursed, and soldiers gambled. Even the location preached a sermon, that Jesus came to seek and save those who were lost, very lost!

On that day of pain and blessing, all heaven was interested in Christ on the cross. All the forces of evil were afraid of Him. While today humans are the only beings who more or less ignore the meaning of what happened there.

Scripture also foretold they would give Him VINEGAR -- Psalm 69:21

There happened to be a vessel full of vinegar (Greek word--OXOS). This was wine that had turned sour by fermentation. Perhaps set there for abusing Jesus. When a criminal was hung he was offered a goblet of wine containing a grain of frankincense to numb his senses. Instead of the pain killing wine in a cup, Jesus was given sour vinegar. They filled a sponge and put it upon a hyssop stalk and with that they heaved it up to His mouth.

Imagine! The Maker of Heaven and Earth in need of a drink! He made all the water in the World. Jesus created the fountains, the mighty rivers, the vast oceans. He caused water to flow from the smitten rock. He turned water into wine.

At that moment He could have spoken and transformed the entire planet into one gigantic drop of orbiting water 8000 miles in diameter. Think of it!------He made BILLIONS of gallons of water and He is Thirsty! Here He is--- the Water of Life, and He is thirsty.

WHY A HYSSOP STOCK? The Hyssop plant is nothing more than a tall grass like reed. An unlikely thing since it was not much over 2 feet long and like strong grass. A mop handle or a spear point maybe, but a Hyssop reed? What spiritual lesson could be gained from this lowly plant?

It might not mean much in 1996, but it was extremely meaningful to anyone standing there on that spring Friday, the 14th day of Nisan 31AD.

Here is the lesson of the Hyssop: Remember the last night the children of Israel spent in Egypt? The angel of Death was to come that night and slay every first born son. Remember how the people of God were saved from death? Each family sacrificed the Passover Lamb and smeared the doorpost and lintel of their house with its blood so the angel of death would PASS OVER their home.

EXODUS 12:22 -- "Take a bunch of Hyssop, dip it into the blood and apply it to the top and both sides of the door frame."

They were SAVED by the blood of the LAMB! That blood was applied with HYSSOP. The very mention of Hyssop would take the thoughts of any Jew back to the saving blood of the passover lamb. Here John is telling us that Jesus is the true passover LAMB. That we are saved by His blood.

Do you know what His thirst proves? The very fact that He hung there thirsty is evidence of Jesus PERFECT SUBMISSION to His Father. In His first temptation, back at the beginning of His ministry, Jesus had refused to use His divinity to alleviate His personal needs when He had not eaten for 40 days.

On both ends of His ministry the very first and last events center around critical physical needs. Neither time did our Saviour tap into His divine powers to benefit himself.

Jesus was a perfect Example for us today. His example is not for us to do everything that He did, but for us to perfectly SUBMIT to the will of the Heavenly Father just as He did.

Jesus thirsted on the cross that we might drink the water of life and never thirst again! He was thirsty that our thirst may be forever quenched. His death opened up a fountain of grace.

Because He thirsted, we have the opportunity to walk beside the river of life. To drink from the fountain of life. Because He died that afternoon we can live! What a wonderful Saviour we have!

IT IS FINISHED! JOHN 19:30 "When he had received the drink Jesus said: IT IS FINISHED. With that He bowed His head and gave up His spirit."

You would think the vinegar was deadly poison! As soon as He tasted it He died. It certainly did not refresh Him.

When we look at each of the four gospels here we learn something very vital. John says that Jesus said: IT IS FINISHED. Actually just one word in the Greek, (TETELESTAI) . What did He mean? Did he say it with a sigh of relief? Like His suffering was finally over? Matthew, Mark, Luke all state that at this moment Jesus died with a great loud shout but none of them say what it was that Jesus shouted. Only in John do we find out what Jesus shouted out.

Jesus died with a SHOUT OF TRIUMPH on His lips. A shout of Joy. A shout of VICTORY. Jesus was utterly successful. He did it! It took 33 long hard years and much agony and suffering and trial, but Jesus did it! IT IS FINISHED!

I wonder if when we have lived 70 or 80 or more years and we have loved and served Jesus the best we knew how and our last day comes around, can we have this same thought? It is finished! I lived for Jesus. I belong to Him. My life of suffering and trial is now over. Through Christ Jesus I have eternal life. The battle is done. It is finished. I am ready to meet Jesus face to face. I have confidence through Jesus that Victory is mine! Heaven is waiting.

Just what did Jesus mean by those words? IT IS FINISHED!

  1. His suffering was over.
  2. Over 100 prophecies about Him were accomplished
  3. Sin and death were doomed
  4. His earthly life was over
  5. The work of redemption and salvation were over
  6. The deadly wound was inflicted upon satan.
  7. Full satisfaction was made for God's justice.
But it is not finished till you and I are saved. The tomb is forever empty. We serve a risen Saviour. We can only do two things about Jesus: Flee from Him or Flee to Him.


Come to Jesus just now. Surrender everything to Him. Trust Jesus as your Saviour. Be baptized. Live a life that can honor His great sacrifice. Soon we will be in heaven. Jesus our Risen Saviour will come back and receive us unto Himself forever.

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