Cruce Tectum

Cruce tectum, hidden under the cross, a blog for Epiphany Lutheran Church, Dorr, Michigan

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday Tre Ore

Good Friday Tre Ore

Our Savior Lutheran Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan
March 25, 2016

Text: John 19:28 (ESV): “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’

            Our Lord suffers our most profound human need.  He thirsts.  When do you suppose He had last been given anything to drink?  The wine of the Passover the night before?  And so much has happened since then.  Like the wringing out of a sponge, He sweat great drops of blood in the garden.  Betrayed.  Arrested.  Bound.  Led from here to there to stand for trial.  Beaten.  Scourged.  Crowned with thorns.  Made to carry His own cross to the place of a skull.  Nailed to the wood.  Hands and feet.  Blood gushing forth.  Lifted up for three hours in the hot sun.  Three more hours in the darkness to complete His sin-atoning work.  Gracious Words nonetheless proceeding from His parched and cracked lips.  No Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool His tongue.  He who gives living water pants for just a sip.  Our Lord knows what it means to thirst. 
            He thirsts to do His Father’s will.  He thirsts for us and for our salvation.  And the only thing that will slake His thirst is to pour Himself out as a drink offering on the altar of our redemption.  “(M)y soul thirsts for you like a parched land” (Ps. 143:6), He prays to His Father.  “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Ps. 42:1-2).   “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’” (John 19:28; emphasis added).  “I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched,” Jesus prays in Psalm 69 (v. 3).  “My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.”  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” Jesus says, “for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6).  Our Lord Jesus will not be satisfied until our sins are atoned and His righteousness is bestowed upon us as a gift.
            We are thirsty people, you and I, and there is only one drink that satisfies.  It is that which pours forth out of the wounds of our Savior.  With joy, He would have us draw water from these wells of salvation (Is. 12:3), His hands, His feet, His side.  But what do we do?  We look anywhere and everywhere else for a cool draught to satisfy our souls.  We think that money will fill us.  Just a little more.  It’s not quite enough yet.  It’s never quite enough.  But it will be with just a little more.  We think the pleasures of the flesh will slake us.  Not satisfied with our own cistern given by God, our eyes wander, our hearts lust, our members are used for unrighteousness, and still we are empty.  Food, alcohol, narcotics, the stuff of addiction only leaves one emptier and emptier, thirstier and thirstier.  And at some point it must dawn on us.  Why do we run after all these things?  Because we thirst.  And we fear, love, and trust in these things to satisfy our thirst above our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In other words, these things have become our idols, that to which we look for our good.  We know that an idol is nothing, Paul says, and yet he reminds us there is demonic power behind the empty idol, and “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons” (1 Cor. 10:21).  These idols will not slake your thirst.  They will only drive you from the cup of blessing which we bless, our participation in the Lord’s blood.  Beloved in the Lord, repent.
            In His thirst for you, Jesus drinks the cup of God’s wrath over your sin to its very dregs, that the cup of blessing might be yours.  This is the God, this Man on the cross, who bids you “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters” (Is. 55:1).  This water is without price.  It is freely given, with wine and milk and the choicest of fair.  The Lord has purchased it with His blood and thirst and pain.  Why, then, do you spend your money on that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy (v. 2)?  Do you not believe Him?  Do you not believe He can fill you?  This is the God who gave wells to our fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  This is the God who gave water in the desert: “all drank the same spiritual drink.  For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4).  This is the God who met the Samaritan woman at the well and promised her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water… whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:10, 14).  The living water that Jesus pours out on us and in us is His Holy Spirit, who wells up in the saving faith that receives eternal life and overflows in love for the neighbor. 

            Oh, how we need this water.  We thirst.  And we pray with the Samaritan woman, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty” (v. 15).  Jesus answers, “Yes.”  And for this reason He thirsts.  And for this reason He dies.  He bows His head and gives up His Spirit, the Holy One whom He breathes into His people.  His side is pierced by the soldier’s lance and out flow the blood and water, that from chalice and font we might drink His righteousness, and it will be enough.  We will be satisfied.  “For there are three that testify,” writes St. John: “the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree… Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:7-8, 12).  Whoever has the Son no longer thirsts.  Whoever does not have the Son of God will drink only the swill of this world and suffer eternal thirst where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  But that will not be you.  Because you have heard the voice of Jesus.  You drink deeply of His gifts.  “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink,” says Jesus.  “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38).  Jesus thirsts and pours Himself out for you on the cross, that you never be thirsty again.  Drink deeply this Holy Week, beloved, and rejoice.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.     

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