Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. John 19:28-29
In our most recent Wednesday night Bible study, we’re been examining the last statements of Jesus prior to his death. While agonizing on the cross, there were only a handful of recorded statements, one of which is Jesus asking for something to drink.
It’s part of the story. Probably part we take for granted. Jesus simply wants momentary relief from his torment, and while this isn’t the most preferable beverage, when you’re thirsty, you’re thirsty. What strikes me isn’t so much the scene as we know, but the part that goes overlooked.
Who was it that provided something for Jesus to drink?
Of course, the answer is “they.” The universal “they,” those without name or specification, because “they” aren’t the focus, Jesus is.
What if there’s more going on here?
Now, you have to attend the study to find out why the hyssop part is so important, because reading this just lets you know I’m not above a shameless plug. What if, though, “they” are a more important part of the story than we might initially realize? What if “they” are meant to remain anonymous on purpose?
You see, this is also Jesus who demonstrated profound acts of love and grace with his ministry, and then challenged his followers to do the same. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.” That’s how Jesus said it. This extraordinary love exhibited by Jesus is discovered again and again whenever it’s done for someone else.
Maybe “they” are meant to be anonymous so the focus remains where it should. After all, “they” helped Jesus. That’s all that really matters.
Imagine that scene, though. Amid all this blood and sadness and pain, Jesus simply said, “I’m thirsty.” Someone had to break away from the crowd to prepare that drink for him. Someone had to risk scorn and ridicule, being seen helping this man condemned to death.
What compelled them to do it?
This love of Jesus, on full display, prompted someone to go and retrieve a refreshment for a dying man, the same Jesus who says to us that if we want to show how much we love him, we do it by serving the least.
We are they.
Anytime we respond to needs around us. Whenever we show kindness, grace, forgiveness, compassion, sympathy, concern, and love, whenever we do it for the least of these brothers and sisters, we break away from the crowd and provide something refreshing to our Savior.
— Trent Sessoms