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Sunday, March 22, 2015

03222015 Judica - Fifth Sunday in Lent - "I Thirst"!

Sermon Audio

March 22, 2015
God satisfies our thirst!

Gracious Father!  In the desert when Your people had left Egypt and wandered on their forty year journey to the Promise Land, they were thirsty for water, You not only commanded the water to flow, but You provide for us today the Water of Eternal Life.  This comes through Your Son Jesus Christ who said, “I thirst!”  May our thirst today be fulfilled by Jesus Christ and may we understand that You have satisfied our thirst, not only of our mouths, but of our hearts, souls and spirits through the gift of grace from Jesus Christ.  For this gift of grace is freely given because of Your love for each of us as shown by Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

Clearly here in Northwest Kansas, we don’t need any explanation of what it means to be without water.  Our being in a severe drought clearly qualifies us for understanding what Jesus Words from the Cross when He says, “I thirst”.  But Jesus thirst has a greater meaning, connection and implication for us today.

The first and best connection is that Jesus specifically alluded to a passage from the Book of Psalms.  The Psalms that we have today in the Old Testament and that we use in worship, even this morning, were what were considered to be the prayer guide for any Jew.  From a young age, the Psalms were taught to Jewish children since they were a gift given by David, their King to his people.  David, not only was King and ruler of Israel, but Jesus own ancestor and a prolific author, specifically the Psalms.  David wrote Psalms of praise, adoration, humility and prophecy.  And our Word from the Cross was specifically a Psalm of Prophecy that was being fulfilled with Jesus words from the Cross of “I thirst”.

In Psalm 69 that Jesus make reference to in His Words from the Cross of “I thirst”, David had previously penned a Psalm of Distress, which clearly epitomizes Jesus current predicament on the Cross of Calvary.  David’s first words in this Psalm, “Save me, O God” clearly show the need David feels to be saved from what he is experiencing.  On the other hand, Jesus Christ went to the Cross willingly praying that His Father’s Will be fulfilled.  And this is the difference, David was trying to not only tell of what was happening in his own life, but it was a prophecy and connection for David of what would happen to his ancestor, Jesus Christ.  So when David wrote, “Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick.  And I looked for sympathy, but there was none, And for comforters, but I found none.”  This was not only what David was living, but what Jesus would experience and would be fulfilled by Jesus Christ on the Cross.  But the key for us here today is Jesus simple words from the Cross of “I thirst” and how David foretold of Jesus personal experience when David wrote, “They also gave me gall for food and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”  This was one clear way that David was linked to Jesus, not just by the ancestry, but clearly by David’s foretelling Jesus thirst and what Jesus would be given, vinegar.  But the implication for Jesus was more profound, because a drink of vinegar in Jesus day was a hostile drink.

When vinegar was used in Jesus time, it was not refreshing.  In Jesus day vinegar was very different than what we use today for salad’s, cleansing and even as a ‘healthy drink’.  Vinegar was bitter, musty, cloudy and really it was the spoiled wine of the day that was no longer good to drink by even the common man.  It was an insult to whoever would use or be given vinegar as a drink.  So Jesus Who was being crucified did not deserve fresh clean water, but only what was ready to be thrown out, the vinegar.  Hence why it was sitting in a bucket at the foot of the cross for those whose death was certain and didn’t deserve anything better.

The connection we can make between the bitterness of vinegar and Jesus experience on the cross as bitter is very clear.  But Jesus experience that He was enduring had a purpose.  For those who watched from the foot of the Cross, the purpose of this bitter experience of Jesus was uncertain, but Jesus had been telling them, in essence like David’s prophecy of what He would experience in Jerusalem.  And Jesus prophecy was not only His bitter death, being given vinegar because of His words, “I thirst”, but three days later the fulfillment of the resurrection from the grave as proof of the victory Jesus Christ won for all of mankind.

In our Creeds that we not only believe in, but confess weekly we claim this victory over death by Jesus and the prophecy of Jesus resurrection from the dead.  When we say, “I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.  He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.  He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended into hell.  On the third day he rose again.”  Our confession is certain of Jesus resurrection from the dead.  For if we do not believe in Jesus life, His death and especially His resurrection, our faith is in vain.

But there is something more certain and clear, when Jesus said the words, “I thirst” He showed His true humanity.  Jesus Christ showed He not only was conceived, but He could feel the same things we can.  This window cracked open with the phrase, “I thirst” clearly connects each of us with Him today.  For Jesus not only was thirsty for His parched throat.  Jesus was thirsty for a relationship with each and every one of us gathered here.

Jesus with the words, “I thirst” wants each and every one of us to enter into a personal relationship with Him.  Jesus wants us to be connected with Him and for it to have as a connection point the Cross of Calvary.  For on the Cross of Calvary, Jesus Christ offers all of mankind, but especially each of us gathered here this morning the opportunity to have a personal relationship with Him.  And we can have this personal relationship with our resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ.  The reality is, Jesus knew there would be times where our personal relationship with Him would have some brokenness and bitterness, but what Jesus offers us today overcomes the bitterness we feel in our daily lives with the sweetness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and binds our brokenness with His healing of us.

For the Gospel of Jesus Christ can and does overcome that which separates us from Jesus Christ.  For in the words, “I thirst” we can be reminded that Jesus thirsts for this relationship with us.  And not only a relationship, but our accepting the gift of grace that He offers us by His being on the Cross of Calvary.  For when Jesus hung from the Cross of Calvary and uttered the words, “I thirst” His desire was not only to fulfill the prophecy of David, but His desire to have a personal relationship with each of us.  And that relationship is built upon the love He has for us. 

Jesus Christ love was so powerful and overwhelming that it is the greatest gift offered all of mankind.  And it is offered freely, without cost in order to take away the bitterness and brokenness that separates us from God and to bind us to Jesus Christ.  We then can be caught up in His love for us, His life, death, but especially His resurrection that we look forward to celebrating in a few weeks.  For this offer from Jesus Christ is for all of mankind, but especially all of us saints gathered here who hear Jesus words from the Cross of “I thirst” and understand it is an offer of divine grace of relationship with Him for all of mankind.  Especially including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel who are thirsty for the personal relationship with Jesus Christ who uttered in true love for us, “I thirst”.  AMEN.

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