Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. (NLT)
One of the basic beliefs of Christianity is also one of the hardest to grasp. Jesus was both completely divine and completely human. Makes no sense but the paradox is at the heart of our faith. A reminder that while our faith is reasonable it is not always fully comprehensible.
Early in the church’s history, false teaching arose which sought to clarify the mystery. It led to either an emphasis on Jesus’ divinity, or an emphasis on his humanity. We need to be balanced. As he hung on the cross, Jesus was the divine son of God bearing the guilt of the world’s sins, overcoming all that the forces of evil could throw at him.
He was also entirely human, hence he got thirsty. The existence of his thirst might seem insignificant. Yet it reminds us this was a tortured human being on the cross. His divinity didn’t provide some armour plated protection against pain. In his earthly life he got tired, got angry, and now got thirsty.
Jesus was not some stainless steel deity assuming a human appearance. He entered our human condition fully and yet without forfeiting his divinity. Which is why, in our times of pain or distress or uncertainty, we can turn to him for help and understanding. The one who thirsted on the cross is the one who knows our each and every hunger.