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©Michael Player

Chapter 19:28-30 (ESV)

Posted on September 26, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 19:28-30 (ESV) - After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 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. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Question to consider: What other time in John’s gospel did Jesus address this idea of “thirst”?

During the Last Supper, Jesus had said the following when He offered the cup, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” (Matthew 26:27-29 - emphasis mine) I emphasized the word “this” in His statement because Jesus was not swearing off wine until after the end of the world. That particular cup was the cup of salvation during the Passover meal which referred to God’s outstretched arm that saved Israel from Egypt and was now applied to the New Testament in Christ which would save the world from sin by His outstretched arms on the cross.

Now that Jesus is ruling His Father’s kingdom from the heavenly Jerusalem (see my study of Hebrews 12:18-24), we drink from this cup with Jesus every time we gather for communion. Jesus rejected the wine mixed with gall when He arrived at Golgotha because gall was used as a deadening agent to dull the senses. Jesus had come willingly to the cross to drink the full cup of God’s wrath. The sour wine offered here was simply to fill His thirst so that He was able to declare, “It is finished!”, and “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46)

I believe it is significant that John mentioned His thirst given the conversation Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well back in chapter 4 of this gospel account. In it Jesus said, “...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.” (John 4:14) Yet here was Jesus on the cross professing to be thirsty. It could merely be that to the woman Jesus was being figurative and on the cross Jesus was being literal. However, I believe that John was doing much more than providing an observation. I believe that John was emphasizing another portion of Psalm 22 that was being fulfilled in their hearing, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.” (Psalm 22:14-15)

The blood of Christ, the living water that was poured out from the rock to Israel in the wilderness, had now been poured out for the forgiveness of sins. “It is finished!” was the single Greek word, tetelestai. Jesus gave up His spirit because He had paid every bit that was owed concerning the sins of the world. 

Those who have a bent for physiology may be tempted to give a “cause of death” in order to prove that Jesus did not merely “swoon” on the cross before reviving in the sealed tomb. However, Jesus said of Himself, “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” (John 10:17-18) Jesus did not give up His spirit one moment before the debt had been paid nor one moment after.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for accepting Christ’s sacrifice made for the sin that we have committed. Thank You for bringing these memories to Your disciples so that we can begin to grasp the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ for us. Amen.