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Presentation 95. Introduction It is hard for those of us who have grown up in the U.K. to understand the horror of thirst or the importance of water.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation 95. Introduction It is hard for those of us who have grown up in the U.K. to understand the horror of thirst or the importance of water."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation 95


3 Introduction It is hard for those of us who have grown up in the U.K. to understand the horror of thirst or the importance of water to those who live in the world's desert areas. And if this is true in normal circumstances, which it is, how are we to appreciate the condition of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary when he cried, “I thirst”? Presentation 95

4 Christ’s True Humanity If it does nothing else, this incident reminds us forcefully of the Lord's true humanity, which we are sometimes in the habit of forgetting. Jesus is neither, a deified man nor, a humanised God. He is the God-man, forever God and now forever man. In his incarnation he took our humanity to himself. He entered this world as a babe. When a child, we are told, he 'increased in wisdom and stature'. As a boy he ‘asked questions’. As a man he was 'wearied' in body. He was hungry. He needed sleep. He 'rejoiced'. He 'groaned'. And here in v30 he cried, 'I thirst.' In heaven there will be no hunger or thirst' [Rev. 7:16]. But we thirst now because we have needs that require to be met. Presentation 95

5 The Theme of Thirst But John wants to do much more than report a form of words spoken from the cross that indicate that Jesus shared in our common humanity. With good reason John’s gospel is called ‘the spiritual gospel’ because of the spiritual ideas and nuances behind his language. The theme of ‘thirst’ is one that he has developed in the gospel. In Ch. 4 the woman, Jesus met at the well of Sychar learned her greatest need was for living water. Jesus said, “whoever drinks of the water I give him will never thirst again”. Presentation 95

6 The Theme of Thirst Then in John 6 after feeding the 5000, the crowd, motivated by Jesus remarkable material provision wanted to make Jesus king. He responded by telling them that they had missed the point of the miracle. “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty”. His mission was to satisfy man’s spiritual appetite! Then in Jn. 7, during the feast of the tabernacles, which celebrated the provision of God for his people and on the very day of the water pouring ceremony in the temple precinct, Jesus stood up and said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”. Presentation 95

7 The Theme of Thirst Against this background Jesus cries out ‘I thirst’. I believe John intends us to see the link between the suffering of Jesus on the cross and the satisfaction of man’s spiritual appetite that has been made throughout the gospel. Abundant spiritual life, the spiritual satisfaction of thirsty spiritual souls, becomes a reality because of the accomplishments of the one who has suffered in their place and stead. Our satisfaction comes through Jesus’ suffering. Why would John want to underline this? Some were beginning to challenge the idea that Jesus’ suffering was real, costly and agonisingly painful. Presentation 95

8 Approach To Suffering First, there was the group known as Docetists. Greek philosophy taught that "spirit" was good and "matter" evil. The Docetists went beyond this and taught suffering and evil were an illusion. They taught that whatever else happened on the cross Jesus did not suffer! Think today of the approach to suffering taken by Christian Science and by some of the eastern religions. In contrast, the Bible acknowledges the reality of evil and the horror of suffering. And the fact that Jesus endured suffering on the cross is expressed in his own words, “I thirst.” Presentation 95

9 A second approach to suffering was advocated by the Greek Stoics. Stoicism was the philosophy of the "stiff upper lip." A view often associated with being British today! Stoicism’s view of evil was fatalistic. It believed that good and evil enter a person's life according to fixed mechanical laws. Nothing can be done about it. You simply have to learn to control your response to what happens. The Stoic would seek to repress all feelings of sadness and joy. Presentation 95 Approach To Suffering

10 But Jesus was no Stoic. Jesus enjoyed himself in joyous company and he was ready to weep when contemplating the suffering of others. The suffering he experienced was not as a result of living in some kind of fatalistic universe. The path of suffering was a path Jesus freely chose. Indeed, he said, “I lay down my life only to take it up again. No one takes it from me but I lay it down of my own accord.” Jn.10v17. When Jesus said ‘I Thirst’ he was not complaining that he was a helpless victim in a situation beyond his control. Presentation 95 Approach To Suffering

11 The third approach to life advocated by the Epicurean was, “Eat drink and be merry...” This Hedonistic philosophy considered both good and evil to be real, but its solution to suffering was to fill up life with so much ‘pleasure’ that suffering is overshadowed and desensitised. This is nothing other than a kind of escapism. How many in our own society enter a world of denial and choose to stay there rather than face the reality of suffering. Presentation 95 Approach To Suffering

12 This escapist approach so prevalent in the West has, if the reports are accurate, also caused more than 3 million disillusioned Iranians to enter the drug culture. People try to cope with suffering and pain by swallowing the Epicurean pill. Notice the response of the soldiers to Jesus’ expression of suffering. Wine vinegar would alleviate Jesus’ thirst without dulling his pain. Jesus did not try to escape his suffering but embraced it with a clear consciousness. This is not an argument for refusing to treat a suffering patient with pain relieving morphine but it brings into focus the unique substitutionary suffering that Jesus underwent on our behalf. It was neither dulled nor diluted. Presentation 95 Approach To Suffering

13 There is one final approach to suffering in the modern world, that of existentialism. At the heart of this philosophy lies the view that life has no meaning and suffering has no purpose. It encourages us to face suffering with "dialectical courage." In simple terms we are to go through life with a fixed smile on our faces and live our lives as though they are filled with joy and meaning, even if we believe this is not the case! Presentation 95 Approach To Suffering

14 If you have seen the Jimmy Cagney film 'The White Cliffs of Dover,' you will remember he played the part of an airman who engaged in daring feats that no one else would attempt. In the final scene Cagney guides his single- engine plane, in flames, right into the side of the cliffs of Dover. He grits his teeth and faces the problem without letting it defeat him, knowing all the while that even his teeth- gritting smile is all an act. That is our existential hero! Presentation 95 Approach To Suffering

15 Redemptive Suffering Jesus death and suffering contradicts this hollow heroism. Throughout his ministry, he made it clear that ‘the Son of Man must suffer.’ Jesus had not a shadow of a doubt that his suffering was redemptive and would serve as the source of his people’s salvation. So much so that the very last words he offered up translated, ‘it is finished’ are in the original expression one word that was often written across a receipt to show that a debt had been paid in full! Was his a meaningless death? Quite the reverse, it was full of meaning and would be of eternal value to his people. Presentation 95

16 Jesus’ suffering expressed in the phrase, ‘I thirst’ made available the fullness of God’s blessing of forgiveness, pardon, reconciliation, restoration and adoption in a way that can be helpfully illustrated. Think of your spiritual appetite as a great glass bottle. The bottle is empty and sealed. And the cork that seals it is made up of our sin and disobedience. And so nothing of God’s thirst quenching spiritual satisfaction can make its way into your life. Presentation 95 Redemptive Suffering

17 The seal remains unbroken despite all human attempts to remove it. But then God enters the scene and he fashions a corkscrew at great personal cost - the death of his Son on the cross. And as this corkscrew is applied at our invitation it digs into the seal removing all the sin that plugged up the route for God’s blessing. And so at long last the rivers of living water are poured into our lives, blessing us beyond measure and desert. Presentation 95 Redemptive Suffering

18 Horatius Bonar wrote very movingly of the means by which the suffering and death of Jesus alleviates our spiritual thirst : “I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Behold, I freely give The living water; thirsty one, Stoop down and drink, and live." I came to Jesus, and I drank Of that life-giving stream; My thirst was quenched, My soul revived, And now I live in Him”. Presentation 95 Redemptive Suffering

19 The great exchange that Jesus’ death has secured has been expressed in many ways. ‘He became poor that we might become rich’, ‘he became sin that we might be clothed in Christ’s righteousness’ etc. Now here is another, Jesus experienced excruciating thirst that we might have our thirst quenched. Amazing! Through his death, Jesus, God’s corkscrew has opened up for us a life- giving stream. Presentation 95 Redemptive Suffering

20 Conclusion Have you drunk at that stream? Have you come to God to express your spiritual bankruptcy and sorrow for your sin? Have you asked God to forgive and remove every impediment to your enjoyment of his blessing? Have you opened up your heart to God and to the blessing that he brings? Jesus came in order that our lives might be awash with his blessing. What a Saviour! Presentation 95

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