SERMON TITLE: The Seven Last Words of Christ: “I am thirsty.”
SERMON TEXT: John 19: 25b-30
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: March 26, 2017, at First UMC
Over 30 years of ministry and visiting many, many people in the hospital, one of the things I have often seen is folks who desperately want a drink of water. Due to surgeries that are scheduled or might suddenly be scheduled, and the risk of stomach upsets from anesthesia, patients are sometimes forbidden to take any liquids by mouth. They are limited to intravenous fluids. When they’re lucky, those patients get to suck on some ice chips or dampen their mouths with one of those pink spongy swabs. But, when they’re not so lucky, those patients are very uncomfortable with their dried-out mouths and cracked and peeling lips.
I’m wondering if that’s how Jesus felt when he was hanging on the cross and uttered the fifth of his seven last statements. In previous weeks, we’ve heard Jesus pray, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” We’ve heard him promise the thief, “Today you’ll be with me in paradise.” We’ve witnessed Jesus connect two people he loved with the words, “Here is your son . . . Here is your mother.” Then last Sunday, we heard Jesus express his sense of abandonment, when he questioned, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And now, as the beatings, humiliation, and crucifixion are taking their toll even further, we hear Jesus utter a basic concern of the human body. If we listen carefully, we can just barely hear him pry his tongue loose from the roof of his parched mouth to speak the words, “I am thirsty.”