Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Jesus was dying.
It is easy to spiritualize, to theologize, to talk about the events of this history-defining afternoon only in language of redemption and prophecy and divinity. Somewhere in the pious-looking artistic renderings, theological wonderment and resurrection already known-ness, we lost sight of the necessity and physicality of His death.
It is easy to forget the man. It is easy to forget the human flesh that was suffering beyond our imagining and could no less feel the pain as we could.
I do not think these simple, aching words were merely the calculated production of an omniscient God fulfilling a prophecy, though of course they did. I think Christ, the man, was thirsty.
He was broken, aching, bleeding, dying,
Body screaming for relief,
Lacking the most basic of all human desire,
In desperate need, and they mocked Him.
Unable, by His willingness to endure the cup to its dregs, to meet such a simple need for Himself,
Willing to risk further humility in proclaiming it,
Unafraid for us to see that dying was not easy,
Longing for us to know that need is not an indication of God’s absence.
But instead, being broken has consequences,
Sacrifice means there are things we cannot do for ourselves,
Humility means we have to ask,
Sin means our need may be mocked.
If this is the example of our Savior
Do you see the utter insanity
Of expecting to complete our own sacrifice by the power of our will?
Of expecting to breeze through life utterly fulfilled?
Of thinking perhaps we may not have to die at all?
We cling desperately to the belief that perfection is possible,
If only we work hard enough to be enough,
We can go without need and without pain and without mocking,
And perpetuate the lie that weakness is to be avoided at all costs.
But weakness is the way of the cross
To need is to be dependent
And so to proclaim the glory of the One who is sufficient.
To need is to declare the reason for the cross in the first place,
To declare our common humanity,
To lean into its gifts:
When neither you nor I can live nor die in our own strength,
I am free to speak of my need, my brokenness, my weakness,
And you will pour me a tall, clear glass of the sweet water of the truth of the cross.
I think Christ, in that moment, was desperately, unrelentingly in need.
I think He was thirsty.