Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. In just two words, Jesus proves his humanity as he hangs on the cross.
Two words prove his sufferings were real. We hear him say, I thirst. Today, we come to grips with the awful price Jesus paid to reconcile us with God the Father.
Please stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win, with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, we can go weeks without food, but only three days without water. Few among us have ever known real thirst.
Dave, I'm going to mention something I do so with hesitancy, because it is so frightening. Jesus told a story about a rich man who ended up in Hades. And you remember on the other side, there was Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. And the rich man said to Abraham, send Lazarus that he might dip his finger in water and put it on my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame. To this day, that man has still not received his drop of water.
Why do I mention that? Because when Jesus Christ died on the cross and said, I thirst, he thirsted for all those who would believe on him, paying their price so that you and I might never have to thirst but be led to fountains of living water. Is it any wonder that we love Jesus? I've written a book entitled, Cries from the Cross, A Journey into the Heart of Jesus, and for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do.
Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let us contemplate the cross. Imagine if you can, the creator of the oceans and rivers, thirsty. Imagine the one who brought water out of the rock, thirsty. Imagine the one who said, if any man thirsts, let him come on to me and drink, and he himself is thirsty.
Imagine if you can, omnipotence with parched lips. As you know, this is a series of messages on the cries from the cross. The first three cries had to do with others. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And to the thief, today you will be with me in paradise. And woman, behold your son, son, behold your mother. The middle cry about which we spoke last time, the dramatic cry, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
That had to do with the Father and his relationship to the Son. But the last three cries from the cross have to do with Christ himself. Today we come to the words, I am thirsty. This message is calculated, I think if we listen correctly and if our hearts are open to the Holy Spirit, to change our perspective of suffering. And if you're suffering, please listen.
But there's more to it than that. It is going to give us a spirit of refreshment as we begin to understand what Christ accomplished for us. And for those of you who are confused, it will give you hope. There is a way out of the dilemma that confronts you. Jesus in these marvelous cries from the cross is teaching us not only how to live, but he's teaching us how to die.
And today we are also going to learn how to die. The text is found in the 19th chapter of John's gospel, John chapter 19, and I'm picking it up at verse 28. Later, knowing that all was now completed and so that the scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, I am thirsty. A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it and put the sponge on a stalk of hyssop plant and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he received the drink, he said, it is finished, which is cry number six that we will speak about next time. An awesome, awesome comment.
It is finished. What is it that this cry I thirst? What does it teach us about Jesus? I'd like to suggest it teaches us three characteristics that he was experiencing here on the cross and in his life.
The first, of course, is it explains to us and helps us to grasp his suffering, the suffering of Jesus. Now, I have to tell you that most people struggle with the deity of Christ. They say, I can't believe that Christ is God. We as evangelicals have an opposite problem. It's hard for us to accept fully the humanity of Jesus Christ.
There's something scandalous about the idea that he would be weary, that he would sleep, and that he would eat and he would drink and he would say, I thirst. But remember the prophecies of the Old Testament. They predicted that there would be a savior who would come, who would be fully man and fully God. Isaiah said, unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.
There's the humanity. But then what does he say? His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the mighty God. Read the Old Testament and Jesus has spoken of as the seed of the woman, but he's also spoken of as the one whose goings forth have been from of old and from everlasting, deity and humanity in one person, two natures united in that one person. And so Jesus Christ, when he said on the cross, I am thirsty, what thirst he must have endured. Oh, I want us to try to grasp it a little bit.
The words are so inadequate. You remember that Jesus Christ was arrested and when he was there in the garden, the Bible says he sweat as it were drops of blood, his body was constantly losing fluid. He spends his night in a dungeon. He's taken to various trials. His back is lacerated. He loses blood. He is asked to carry his cross when he gets to Calvary. He hangs there as we have learned for three hours in the sunlight from nine in the morning till noon.
Then there are three hours of darkness. Crucifixion was known as a slow process of dehydration. His body has been losing all of these fluids and there has been no refreshment.
There has been no drink that he has received. And now he says, I thirst. Can we even grasp it? Not only was it the thirst physically, but there was a thirst spiritually because there is an ambiance. There is a sympathy between the body and the soul. And Jesus Christ in his great distress, as we noticed last time, as he said, my God, my God, why has thou forsaken me in the midst of all that? His distress and his thirst increased for the scripture says a broken spirit drieth the bones. David says, when I was in spiritual conviction, he says it was as if my body dried up. And Jesus Christ's body is drying up. Listen to this description of Psalm 22 that what he was going through.
He says, and this is, of course, a prophecy. I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax. It has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a pot shirt and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. I don't know whether it's true or not.
Those of you who are Swedish, would you come up later and either affirm or deny this? But I read last night that the Swedish word for thirst is actually at root the same word for fire, because I think that there is a thirst that is a fire. And Jesus here, when he said, I thirst, he was enduring the fire of God's wrath.
He was enduring the fire of hell and his body was being lacerated and in grief. And he says, I thirst. God the Father does not thirst. Angels do not thirst. These are the words of a dying man, the humanity of Jesus. I thirst. Are you going through pain today? Are you going through a time of difficulty physically?
Are there desires within you that are not being met? Jesus was there. He thirsted. We see the suffering of Jesus, but that's not all that we see here in this marvelous remark. We also see the submission of Jesus.
Now I have to ask you a question. Why did Jesus not come down from the cross when he was taunted? He could have. We're talking about omnipotence. Why did Jesus not to create water within his mouth? He could have created a stream of water that would have refreshed him. All of that was within his ability, but he did not do that. Why? As a matter of fact, you know, Jesus never really did anything, any miracle, to in some way promote himself. You remember, he did not turn stones into bread and he did not create water within his mouth, as he certainly could have.
Why? I read it in the text. Maybe you missed it, because we read the scripture so often that sometimes we forget the context.
You'll notice it says this. Later, verse 28, knowing that all was completed, and underline this now, so that the scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, I thirst. It's the fulfillment of scripture.
Everything that Jesus did was a fulfillment of scripture, wasn't it? You notice, for example, he came to die and he was born in Bethlehem, according to the fulfillment of scripture. How was the birth going to take place? The scripture said a virgin shall conceive.
Where is he going to be born? The scripture says Bethlehem is the town. And then after Jesus Christ is born, they go into Egypt.
Why? That the scripture might be fulfilled. Read the book of Matthew and you see over and over again, this happened and that happened, that the scripture might be fulfilled. All that Jesus Christ was concerned about was the fulfillment of the will of God and the scripture. In the volume of the book, it is written to do thy will, O God.
In eternity past, the Father and the Son agreed on the agenda that Jesus Christ would live here on earth. And therefore, the prophecies were given, all of the details were worked out, and now he is thirsty that the scripture might be fulfilled. What scripture is he talking about? He's speaking about Psalm 69. It says scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless.
I looked for sympathy, but there was none for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. That's Psalm 69, verse 20 and following. You see, it's not only true that Jesus Christ went through this, that the scripture might be fulfilled, but that the details of the scripture might be fulfilled. This was exactly what they had tried to give him, as we shall see in a moment, the gall and the vinegar and to the detail, the very content of the drink was predicted. And so Jesus was willing to suffer.
Why? That the scriptures would be fulfilled. Elsewhere, when they are coming to him in the garden and Peter wants to try to intervene with the sword, you remember, and cuts off the ear of the servant of the high priest. I can assure you that Peter was not aiming for the ear. It's just that he was not that good with the sword. You remember what Jesus said? He said, Peter, put the sword into its sheath, for thus it must be. The scriptures must be fulfilled. And that's why Jesus continued to hang on the cross and ask you a question today. Is doing the will of God for you and me as important as it was for Jesus? I'm speaking to those of you who are suffering now. You're going through a time of great difficulty. What if in eternity past God the Father and God the Son and God the Spirit agreed that that would be the course that was to be marked out for you and that that was part of the perfection of God and the perfecting of us and the work of God?
Are you content? Can you say, yes, if thus it must be, I will endure this for the glory of God? I wish that we were as devoted as Jesus was to the will of the Father.
You'll notice that this cry, I thirst, refers to the sufferings of Jesus, the submission of Jesus, but also the sympathy of Jesus, the sympathy of Jesus. We all know that God knows about our needs, don't we? We all know that God knows about our pains. We know that God knows in terrifying detail everything about us. He knows what is being done to us. He understands our bodies. He knows the details of what it is that we're going through.
That's good evangelical theology, but that's not really our problem. We know that God knows, but we have a different question in our minds. The question is, he knows, but does he feel what we're going through? Can he understand us on the level of experience, not just the level of omniscience, but can he actually understand our pain? And the answer is yes, because as we've learned in this series of messages, it is not just Jesus who suffered. It is the Father also who is going through the agony of separating himself, as far as fellowship is concerned, from the Son.
The whole Trinity was involved in this experience so that we can say with integrity, God knows, God cares, and God feels. That's why the Bible says that Jesus is a high priest that can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, for he was in all points tempted as we are. Yes, my dear friend, he not only knows, but he feels what you're going through.
So I speak to those of you today who have physical pain. You say, does Jesus know? Does he feel?
The answer is yes. You remember he said to Saul, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? You touch the church, you touch my body, and you're touching me. Yes, Jesus understands that pain and he feels that pain. Do you feel violated? Do you feel as if people have taken advantage of you? Do you feel humiliated because of what you've experienced? Look at Jesus Christ on the cross, so far as we know, crucified, naked, did not have an opportunity to die with dignity.
Do you sometimes feel as if people have forsaken you, friends have let you down? Remember that Jesus Christ's disciples forsook him and fled, though John later returned to the cross. Jesus understands and Jesus feels. I thirst the suffering of Jesus.
Yes, I thirst we can see here the submission of Jesus and we can see the sympathy of Jesus. How do we wrap all this together so that our lives are changed by its central message? Those of you who come regularly know that I always have a bottom line. And usually I have three bottom lines and one bottom line follows another as we get to the end of the message. And today also you're going to get three life changing facts.
Here they are. Number one, all of us have thirst. All of us have thirst. Little baby is born into the world thirsty.
That's the physical side. But we are also born with a spiritual thirst. Henry Sugol, I believe it is in the 16th century, said that man is born with an inextinctable, catch this now, raging thirst. It's a thirst for God.
It's inbuilt in us. Our problem is that we are tempted to to fill that thirst with all the wrong things because we're fallen creatures. We go our own way. We don't want to come to God. We do not want God to fill us. And so we turn to drink and to sex and to money and to prestige and to self will and and our own choices. And we're determined that we're going to find somewhere to drink. And as a result of that determination, we finally discover at the end, as some don't discover it until the end of their lives, that all the wells of the world are dry. There is no refreshment out there.
All these promises, but there's no refreshment. You see, it was God's intention that we be filled with God himself. That's why Pascal said there is within us that infinite void that can only be filled by an infinite object. That is to say, with God himself and Augustine on the first page of his confessions. Oh, Lord, thou has made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they find they're all in thee. Do you know why you and I turn to sin? We turn to sin because down deep we feel that God is not meeting all of our needs and sin seems more promising.
It seems to be more fulfilling. It seems to be the thing that will really satisfy us and to give us what we need to make it through life. It is sin that is going to give us those pleasures that are so stimulating and so wonderful. And in a sense, we're slapping God's face because we are saying your will, your purpose, you have not filled me. Therefore, I must fill myself.
No matter how much we say about the need to turn away from sin, at the end of the day, it comes down to this, that you and I must develop a passion for Christ and God that is greater than our passion to sin. God does fill us. Jesus said, if any man thirst, let him come on to me and drink. And I want you to know that at the foot of the cross, where you see Jesus saying, I thirst, he's the one who gives us the refreshment. My friend today, let me ask you a question.
Are you hurting? Are you going through a special trial, perhaps physically, emotionally, relationally? I want to invite you to once again contemplate the cross of Jesus Christ and to know that Jesus endured all that and more. I've written a book entitled Christ from the Cross, a journey into the heart of Jesus. It was written with the intention of helping us to understand the cross much better, to know that it is there that Jesus remembered us, to give us a life of hope, a life of forgiveness, and to know that we too in our suffering can still experience God.
And at the end, Jesus taught us how to die. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com, or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. I'm going to be giving you that contact info again. But in advance, I want to thank you for helping us. The message is that you have been listening to go to thousands upon thousands of people, indeed millions, and it's because of people just like you who stand with us.
Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. The book is titled, Cries from the Cross. It's time once again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. If you've had a loving marriage, many of us imagine that relationship lasting into eternity. However, if there's been the death of a partner and then a remarriage, things get complicated. One curious listener has asked this question. If you've been part of more than one marriage, how will your love be expressed to each of these spouses in heaven?
Well, thankfully, we don't have to guess. Jesus talked about this. He talked about a man who had many different wives, and all of them died, and he died. But Jesus said that in heaven, no one marries or is given in marriage. So it's not a matter of asking the question, whose wife will belong to this man in eternity? The relationship is going to be different. Will you love your wife? Yes, of course you'll love your wife. Will you love your wives if you have two of them, if one of them has died? The answer is yes. But the relationship is going to be so different that you'll be able to have the same kind of interaction with each. No sexuality as we know it today, no jealousy.
In fact, that particular kind of relationship will extend to all the people that are in heaven, so that when we think of our family gatherings in heaven, we will have many, many people present, loving all of them, interacting with all of them, even as we do with intimate friends today. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or call us at 1-888-218-9337.
That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Running to Win comes to you from the Moody Church in Chicago. Next time, more on how Jesus is the only one who can satisfy our thirst eternally. Thanks for listening. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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