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I Thirst



Robert Hanssen spying scandal.

To his neighbors, Robert Hanssen was a devout dad. To his FBI colleagues, he could be controlling and moralistic. To the Russians, he was ‘B’ and ‘Ramon’—a long-term mole in the American government. According to the FBI’s affidavit, the Russians paid Hanssen more than $600,000 in cash and diamonds, plus the promise of $800,000 more awaiting him in Moscow for his "retirement." Still, Hanssen lived the life of a frugal family man in the Virginia suburbs, driving a ’97 Ford Taurus.

He began by turning over the names of three American plants in the KGB organization. Two were exectued, one was imprisoned.

Shrewdly, Hanssen never revealed his true identity to the KGB, using code names instead. He repeatedly refused requests to meet a Moscow agent at home or overseas. "Neither of us are children about these things," he chided his KGB handler at one point. "Over time, I can cut your losses rather than become one."

the FBI got almost all of Hanssen’s Russian file from an unnamed source. they id-ed him from fingerprints on the packages he dropped.

now the Russians worry that there is an American mole in their spy agency,

double agents. plans within plans.

different agendas. different amounts of knowledge that directly affect their ability to work their agenda.

military history. intelligence makes such a difference. Buford knew where Lee was. Lee didn’t know about Buford. Buford held the high ground at Gettysburg and turned the tide of the war

some folks are victims

just got done reading Undaunted Courage. Indians by the people of the USA. the Native Americans were not innocent. but they sure got the short end of the stick.

if I could interview you this morning, you could tell me how this works in business or in your work when there are competing interests and agenda. who knows what makes a big difference.

here, at the end of John’s Gospel, we have a similar situation. the Romans have their agenda. the Jews have their agenda, and God has His agenda.

We’ve been looking at the 7 last words of Jesus, or the seven last sayings of Jesus. and we come today to John 19.28. I thirst. let’s look at the whole verse:

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), "I am thirsty." – John 19.28

when you’ve got a situation with competing interests like this, knowledge makes a lot of difference.

Jesus knew

what was happening

He knew things the other guys didn’t know.

other instances

John 18

4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, "Whom are you looking for?"

5 They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus replied, "I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.

6 When Jesus said to them, "I am he," they stepped back and fell to the ground.

7 Again he asked them, "Whom are you looking for?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."

8 Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go."

9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, "I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me."

10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus.

11 Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?"

knew all. and it shaped His actions. it helped Him to command the situation.

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"

34 Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?"

35 Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?"

36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here."

37 Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "Yes, it is as you say. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

Pilate didn’t know what was happening. but Jesus knew.

John 19

6 When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him."

7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God."

8 Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever.

9 He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.

10 Pilate therefore said to him, "Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?"

11 Jesus answered him, "You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above;…"

Pilate didn’t know what was happening. but Jesus knew.

no one else understood what was happening. not Caiaphas when he said it’s better that one man die…, not the soldiers when they said Hail, not Pilate when he said ‘here is your king’. but Jesus knew.

He knew the brutality of crucifixion. He knew what He was getting Himself into.

terrible scourging. stripped and tied to a post. beaten by several torturers (soldiers) until they were exhausted or their commanding officer called them off. for victims like Jesus who were neither Roman citizens nor soldiers, the favored instrument was a whip whose leather thongs were fitted with pieces of bone or lead or other metal. the beatings were so savage that the victims sometimes died. eyewitness accounts report that the scourgings were so brutal that they could leave victims with their bones and entrails exposed.

criminals would then take up their cross bar on their back to the place of execution where the upright beam was already implanted in the ground. there the victim was laid on his back and his arms were stretched out and tied or nailed to the cross-piece. if they were nailed, it was through the two bones in the wrist, because the if the nails were in the hands the weight of the body would rip through them. the cross member was then hoisted up, along with the victim, and fastened to the vertical beam. (crucifixion slide) the victim’s feet were tied or nailed to the upright, to which was also sometimes attached a piece of wood that could partially support the body. this support was designed to increase the agony, not relieve it.


Jesus knew what was going to happen. and He still went on

Jesus knew that all was now finished.

Jesus was in control and very intentional about what He did. He refused the sedative earlier. He faced His death with a clear mind. He bore the pain with a clear mind. now he fulfilled the Scripture. no one else knew what was going on. but Jesus did.

Jesus knew what was happening. He knew when His work was accomplished.

I thirst. I’m thirsty.

to fulfill what Scripture?

psalm 69.21 – for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink

the soldiers probably weren’t trying to be nice.

in psalm 69 it stands parallel to poison food

here it’s the soldier’s cheap wine. it’s probably given to revive Him and lengthen His torment, like the ‘support’ they were given to stand on.

it’s hard for us to believe someone could be so cruel. but the soldiers were. and there’s a lot of human experience to back it up, including slavery and the Holocaust.

Jesus knew what was happening

but He also knew what would happen

ps 69 ends in confidence and praise. listen to these words:

29 I am lowly and in pain; let your salvation, O God, protect me.

30 I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving…

32 Let the oppressed see it and be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.

33 For the LORD hears the needy, and does not despise his own that are in bonds.

34 Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them.

35 For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah; and his servants shall live there and possess it;

36 the children of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall live in it.

saving Zion and rebuilding Judah was a picture of something beautiful to the psalmist.

but the salvation that God has actually worked through Jesus is something even better than that. it’s something better than they could imagine. and we know it was better than they could imagine because no one got it when Jesus came. no one got it until after the HS came and explained it to them.


they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good (Gen 50)

Rom 8.28

that’s what God is like. God takes the worst thing that has ever happened and turns it into the best thing that ever happende.

the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of the universe is the torture and murder of the innocent Son of God by those He loved and came to save.

but God turns it into the best thing that has even happened: salvation that means that no one has to live a dead life anymore. we can have fullife forever by believing in Him

Heb 12.2 – Jesus endured the cross for the sake of the joy that was set before him…

Jesus knew what was happening. and He knew what was going to happen. knowing guided Him and strengthened Him and helped Him to command the situation.

Jesus has told us what’s going to happen. we know too. and we should take Him at His word. We should let this knowledge guide us and strengthen us.

but most of all, in this season, as we prepare to observe Easter, we should remember what Jesus did for us, because He knew how it was all going to end. and He knew how it will all end someday soon.


May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.