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Wednesday, March 27, 2013
A beautiful mountain lake in northern New York.
The Adirondack region has scores of lake scenes like this.
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"After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!'" (John 19:29). "For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners" (Hebrews 12:2b,3a).
This week those of us who follow Christ especially recall His death on the Cross. There is so much Biblical material to consider which relates directly to this very concentrated historical period.
The Scriptures record seven last sayings of Christ on the Cross. Over 20 years ago I participated in an interdenominational service on Good Friday in which I joined with ministers from various churches in the community that I served (St. Marys, PA). As we planned the service we decided that each minister would give a very brief meditation on one of these specific sayings. You sure don't want to have one of the later speaking slots in a service like this!
Now I believe it can be earnestly considered among serious Bible students whether these are the only seven statements Christ made from the Cross or, if in the providence of God, these are the only ones the Spirit led the Gospel writers to include in the record.
Whichever; we do well to meditate on these sayings and today let us consider the only one which reveals His physical pain. (I will list all seven of them below the encouragement.) We don't have a record such as "Oh, this pain is anguishing", although His physical pain was surely unbearable.
The singular reference to His physical pain was "I thirst", (the shortest of the seven sayings). This is a physical sensation we can all identify with in one way or another. For most of us it probably never gets to a full pain stage, just various degrees of discomfort. Can you specifically recall occasions when you have really been thirsty?
In my case it's always been relatively minor, but I can recall one experience quite distinctly. While I was in Bible College in the summer of 1975 I stayed on campus to work during the summer break. I lived in a mobile home and for some reason the water system broke down and I didn't have any stored up. I had some milk but still to this day I recall how miserable I was that night not having the ability to get a drink of water.
The thirst that our Lord experienced on the Cross surely goes well beyond what we have ever endured. His body hung on the cross unprotected from the baking sun. He had lost a lot of blood through sweat, being scourged & beaten, the crown of thorns crushed down upon His head. The cruel mistreatment He endured would have dehydrated His physical body causing Him to be extremely thirsty.
Jesus was willing to endure such horrible conditions when He, who made the ocean waters, rivers and streams, could have commissioned ten thousand angels to rescue Him or just one to provide Him drink. Surprisingly, the most hardened soldiers, who had just been gambling over His clothing, responded in an act of kindness by giving Him some relief. *
Today as we recall this particular expression, "I thirst" let us remember Jesus' suffering on our behalf as He endured all the sufferings of the cross. Let us lift to Him our cup and ask Him to fill it up as we thirst for more of Him!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father we thank You for Jesus who endured suffering, humiliation, and the reproach of sinners that He came to save. He could do this because He never lost sight of the future joy that would be His when He accomplished His earthly mission and would return to sit at Your right hand. Though He endured the opposition of sinners, Jesus became obedient to death, even death on the cross in fulfillment of Scripture so that we might inherit eternal life through the forgiveness of our sins. How eternally grateful we are. We thank You in Jesus' name. Amen.
Note from Brooksyne: I can clearly remember a time when I was dreadfully thirsty. Stephen and I were in Guatemala in 1990 and we ran out of bottled water. We were staying at the orphanage on the Rio Dulce where Ester was born and it was very, very hot. A volunteer told us about a little house where a family sold Coca Cola out of their refrigerator. We walked a very long dirt trail to find their very little house and gladly paid the children for the bottled cokes we quickly drank. They weren't very cold and the initial quench from the sugared drink left us quickly leaving us wanting more, but it was a temporary fix.
That experience makes me think of the woman at the well in John 4:13 when Jesus said to her as she drew water, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Jesus was willing to surrender His life on the cross, allow His body to become dehydrated and endure the physical anguish that comes with such a tormentuous death. His redemptive sacrifice and physical death made it possible for us to inherit eternal life where we drink from the springs of living water forever and the satisfaction it brings will never diminish.
The Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross
This vinegar was a cheap wine that the Roman soldiers drank while waiting for those crucified to die. (Life Application Bible)
The Greek word translated "wine vinegar" is oxos, a sour wine or vinegar. The English word, "vinegar" is from the French vin (wine) and aigre (sour), thus, sour wine. Vinegar, or sour wine, is made when alcohol changes into vinegar by the formation of acetic acid. Christ's tasting of the vinegar was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Psalm 69:21, "they…gave me vinegar for my thirst." (The Full Life Study Bible)
Wine vinegar; equivalent to cheap wine, the drink of ordinary people. A sponge; a useful way of giving drink to one on a cross, and may indicate forethought and compassion on someone's part. Hyssop: the name given to a number of plants. (NIV Study Bible)
Today we will share another selection of photos from our trip to northern New York this last weekend. These photos were all taken in or near Adirondack Park.
Adirondack Park is huge, covering 6.1 million acres, roughly the size of Vermont and greater than the National Parks of Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Great Smoky Mountains combined.
A beautiful snow-covered trail through the Adirondack woods.
We passed many deer but didn't see any moose.
An icy mountain stream.
This cabin was especially appealing due to the wood smoke from the chimney.
We passed quite a number of sugar shanties, although due to the cold weather they weren't boiling sap.
This old steam engine of the Lowville and Beaver River Railroad was on display beside the road in Croghan, New York. Better photo here.
The Indian River General Store is located in an old church building.
We wonder what happened to the congregation?
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Three different songs with the same title:
"I Thirst" Video Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
"I Thirst" Video Mark Lowry and his Mom Beverly.
"I Thirst" Video Brian S. Reed A John Wesley translation of a German Moravian hymn in 1740
Indian River General Store
Google map of region in New York we visited this last weekend.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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