Famous Last Words: Diligent

Spring is at the door and here in Atlanta, it has come with wonderfully moderate temperatures. A most welcome change after what seemed to be a particularly cold and dreary winter. But as anyone this far south knows, it won’t be long until oppressive heat envelopes the region in a thick steamy blanket as spring morphs all too quickly into summer. Here in my native region, the heat and humidity can be so oppressive that if you spend much time outdoors, you must be very mindful to stay well-hydrated.

While most of us have experienced relatively mild thirst on hot summer days, true clinical dehydration carries dangers that are far more serious than many realize and requires more than a tall glass of water to alleviate. The Mayo Clinic’s list of symptoms for the most severe cases of dehydration includes extreme headache, shriveled skin, dizziness and confusion.

So, when we read about the crucifixion of Jesus in John 19, it’s easy to read verse 28 and imagine that when He said “I am thirsty,” His words were solely motivated out of the physical need of his flesh.  (And perhaps His desire was simply to wet his mouth enough to utter with His dying breath what were likely the most important words of His Earthly ministry! <more on that next week>) While we can clearly see the reality of Christ’s humanity in His parched request, there is also a significant lesson to learn from the often overlooked introductory portion of the verse that precedes His statement.

“Later, knowing that all was now completed and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)

That scene-setting verse unequivocally lets us know that Jesus was in complete control of what was coming to pass. While certainly his human body was wracked in every possible way by the physical agony He was enduring, it’s worth noting that He wasn’t confused, or disoriented by His suffering. I believe that the statement He made was motivated out of more than physical need since He wasn’t just hanging passively until His life drained away. Even in this final moment when His death was imminent, He remained at work, ‘at His post’ if you will, fulfilling prophecy so that nothing that needed to be accomplished would be left undone. And in so doing, He insured that throughout the centuries to come, Scripture itself would testify indisputably that He is the “Holy One of God.” (John 6:69)

These are much more than trivial details. They stand as clear reminders to each of us that Our Savior is always in control of every circumstance. Even in what seemed to be the weakest and most vulnerable moment of His time on earth, Jesus was carefully, purposefully, and deliberately carrying out the work He’d been sent to earth to do.

So, when you look at your life and feel like you’ll never be what you want to be or that there’s too much work yet to be done for you to be of any use to God, remember that you are a masterpiece in God’s eyes… one that is yet to be completed! Let today’s verse be your assurance that  your Lord is always at work and never gets distracted from His task of conforming you into His image.  (Romans 8:29)

Rest in the confidence of knowing that, in the Apostle’s words,  “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6)

 

 

8 thoughts on “Famous Last Words: Diligent

  1. That’s a powerful thought. Right up to the last our Lord and Saviour had His mission in the front of His mind. I believe we ought to do the same!

    Just the simple fact of you focusing on that statement, “I thirst,” brought to my mind the thought that there is a good chance that that was even more than physical.

    There is a very good chance there was a spiritual dimension to His statement. So often Jesus referred to the Heavenly blessing He gave as “living water.” Yet here on the cross, the iniquity of us all had been laid on Him. He experienced that untold agony and weight of sin. And He thirsted. You think?

    1. I think that’s a definite dimension of His words, Sheila. At His impending death, Christ could have been indeed thirsting for communion and closeness with the Father. The weight of sin, and the physical torment was so horrendous that it obscured his ability to sense His Father’s presence and he longed for it. Psalm 63 comes to mind and if He had been able, He may have quoted vs 1. You, God, are my God,
      earnestly I seek you;
      I thirst for you,
      my whole being longs for you,
      in a dry and parched land
      where there is no water.
      Thanks for bringing this up and for taking time to read!

  2. I loved your encouraging words here: “So, when you look at your life and feel like you’ll never be what you want to be or that there’s too much work yet to be done for you to be of any use to God, remember that you are a masterpiece in God’s eyes… one that is yet to be completed!” This is something we all need to be reminded of, from time to time.

  3. Karen I am sure I can speak for all of us to say we are so very grateful for such thoughtful insights into the crucifixion scene, the most pivotal scene in history. To come away reminded of his love, that he never quits, he never forgets and he is eternally faithful beyond our ability to comprehend, bends our knees in his direction. Bless you!

    …”Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands. Isaiah 49: 15-16A.

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Rachel! I think that often we just read the crucifixion as just an account of the events that were taking place, but when I started this study, I realized that EVERYTHING that Jesus said has significance, and if God wanted it preserved for us to read in the Scriptures, then there is something to learn. With that in mind, I have found this to have been a wonderfully challenging and enriching personal study that I’m thrilled to share! I only hope that, in reading (and passing it along,) someone will see our loving Savior in new light and will be drawn closer to Him! Thanks again!

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