Let’s read John 19:28, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’” In a word, He said these words “that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” The scripture that needed to be fulfilled was Psalm 69:21, “They also gave me gall for my food, and for MY THIRST they gave me vinegar to drink.” Jesus came to fulfill every scripture that was prophesied about Him in the Old Testament and thus in order to fulfill that one last prophecy dealing with His sufferings on the cross He said, “I thirst.” The next verse (verse 29) goes on to say, “Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So, His words “I thirst” were responded to immediately by the soldiers giving Him vinegar to drink. The next verse is most precious, “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said ‘It is finished.’” Every scripture had been fulfilled that foretold His sufferings on Calvary. He had accomplished the work of redemption for sinners and could cry out in victory “It is finished” (verse 30).

Let’s muse for a moment on what we saw in Psalm 69:21 where it in said, “For MY THIRST they gave me vinegar to drink.” It is a solemn fact that when one was crucified it created an intense thirst. In Psalm 22, which also spoke prophetically of the Lord’s crucifixion on the cross of Calvary, we read “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and MY TONGUE CLINGS TO MY JAWS” (verse 15). Crucifixion not only drained its victim of all strength, but it resulted in an insatiable thirst that caused one’s tongue to stick to their jaws. We learn from Matthew 27:34 that the soldiers had offered Jesus sour wine at the very beginning of His crucifixion, but He refused it. “They gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.” This begs the question, “Why did Jesus refuse the wine initially but then ask for it later?” Ah, because He knew that this wine would act as a sedative to lessen His pain and He wanted to be fully conscious as He suffered the wrath of God for our sins. But after He had exhausted God’s holy judgment (during the last 3 hours on the cross…see Matthew 27:45-46), He could then fulfill Psalm 69:21 by saying “I thirst” and immediately proclaim that the work of atonement had been accomplished.

The closing words of John 19:30 are most solemn, “And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” He not only exhausted God’s judgment upon the cross, but He willingly laid down His life in payment for our sins. He had said in John 10:17-18, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I LAY DOWN MY LIFE that I may take it again. No one takes 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 command I have received from My Father.” The Lord Jesus did not die from exhaustion as some have said, He willingly, of His own volition, dismissed His Spirit. The Father had commanded Him to do this and every believer praises Him for laying His life down. We were all under the penalty of sin, as we read in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.” Yet in love and grace the Savior became our Divine Substitute and received our wages of sin! He, the Prince of life, succumbed to death, so we could have eternal life! Have you received the Lord Jesus as your Savior, dear friend? John 1:12 declares, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (312.2) (DO)