The Fifth Word

The Fifth Word

I Thirst

John 19:29

Rev. Joyce has offered this reflection on the 5th word. I hope you can join us Wednesday April 1st at 7pm by zoom meeting to discuss this scripture.

Crucifixion was one of the most painful forms of capital punishment.Thomas Davis, a medical doctor, has studied what effect crucifixion has on the body. Here is what he says:”As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralysed, and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs, and the bloodstream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He was able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen…Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then, another agony begins. A deep crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over—the loss of tissue fluid has reached a critical level—the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues—the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. (“The Crucifixion of Jesus: The Passion of Christ from a Medical Point of View” Arizona Medicine, Vol. 22, March 1965, 183-187)

It is easy to see then why Jesus was thirsty. Psalm 22 seems to be a full description of the Crucifixion even though crucifixion had not yet been invented. Vs. 15 says “My strength is dried up like a potsherd and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.” John mentions that someone tried to help Jesus by lifting a sponge filled with wine vinegar to his lips on a branch hyssop. Beside the act of kindness we are reminded that the Lamb of God is being sacrificed in the same manner as the Passover Lamb. The blood that was painted on the lintel and door frame of Hebrew homes so that the Angel of Death would pass by their homes was done using a branch of hyssop. (Exodus 12) So Jesus becomes the final Passover Lamb as he passes over from Death to Life and accomplishes our Salvation.

The question that becomes important for me is “Do I thirst for Christ and give my life fully for his use and glory?” Perhaps as we contemplate the pain he experienced for our sins we can make a new and deeper commitment to our Lord and Saviour.

My prayers and blessings to you all

Rev. Joyce Mellor

Next Week the scripture is

It is finished.

John 19:30