The Seven Words from the Savior on the Cross: Humanity 3

Jesus’ spoken words from the cross emphasize the truths of forgiveness ("Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."  Luke 23:34), hope ("Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Luke 23:43), love (“Woman, behold your son; behold your mother.” John 19:26-27), atonement (Matthew 27:45-49) and humanity (John 19:28-30).

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30 ESV).

What is the meaning behind a seemingly insignificant statement such as “I thirst?”

As Dr. John Walvoord writes, “The wording in John 19:28 indicated that Jesus was fully conscious and was aware of fulfilling the details of prophecies (Psalm. 42:1-2; 63:1). The paradox of the One who is the Water of life (John 4:14; 7:38-39) dying in thirst is striking. Giving Him wine vinegar, a sour wine, fulfilled Psalm 69:21. Putting the vinegar-soaked sponge on the end of a hyssop plant stalk seems odd. Perhaps this detail points to Jesus dying as the true Lamb at Passover, for hyssop was used in the Passover ceremonies (Ex. 12:22).”

The second drink, which He accepts moments before His death, is described as a wine vinegar. Two points are important to take notice: The drink was given on the "stalk of a hyssop plant". Remember that these events involving Jesus occurred at the Feast of the Passover. During this feast, (Exodus 12:22) hyssop was used to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to the wooden doorposts of the Jews.

In addition, the wine vinegar is a product of fermentation, which is made from grape juice and yeast. The word literally means "that which is soured." This is related to the Hebrew term for "that which is leavened". Yeast or leaven, is a Biblical symbol of sin. When Jesus took this drink, (i.e. a drink which was "leavened") it is thus symbolic of His taking the sins of the world into His body.

Jesus’ is certainly displaying His humanity. I thirst refers to a strong desire for liquid to satisfy one’s thirst.

This statement, among others found in Scripture, indicate the humanity of Christ: birth (Luke 2:1-7); growth (Luke 2:40; 52); hunger (Matthew 21:18; Luke 4:1-2; 6:1-7; 14:1;) thirst (John 4:5-26); weariness (John 4:1-6); pain (Acts 2:24); sorrow (John 11:32; Isaiah 53:3; Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:44); death (Matthew 16:21; John 10:11-18; 12:33; 19:30-37).

The writer of Hebrews gives some commentary regarding Jesus’ humanity.

 Hebrews 2:10 - For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10 ESV).

Hebrews 2:14-18 - Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.