Friday, June 24, 2005

I Thirst

"I thirst."

The only word's Christ spoke on the cross that seemingly alluded to his physical suffering.

"I thirst."

One of the most amazing things to me about the crucifixion is that Jesus continued to minister to the needs of others while nailed to the cross.
"Today you will be with me in Paradise."
"Woman behold your son."
"Father forgive them..."

Even while hanging in mortal agony the focus of His thoughts were towards the needs of his sheep. So when He said those words, "I thirst."... was he really after water? After all He created it. He had even turned the water he created into wine...surely water would have been a small thing for Him to produce. Nobody would have blamed Him.

What were you thirsting after Jesus?

Could we find the answer in the sermon you preached on the mount. "Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...shall be filled" And if your thirst wasn't really about water at all, but was actually about righteousness...even your thirst was not about yourself. You were already spotless, sinless, the lamb of God, pure, the Holy One of God. Could it be that the righteousness you were thirsting for was actually our righteousness, and that even in those words you were still focused on us?

18 comments:

Constantine said...

My take: Our Lord was thirsty for water--plain H2O. He was in a very bad way, as Mel has helped us to imagine, and being made of flesh and blood He was thirsty.

He also confessed the pain that much of His own creation experiences at times--the apparent abandonment by God. He questioned the Father bluntly and honestly.

voixdange said...

I'm saying this in the sense of good natured ribbing, Constantine...you're such a sceptic...

As far as confessing the pain of abandonment...I said "Physical" pain.

But don't take me wrong...you are entitled to your view and no offense is taken...I'm laughing while I write this.

voixdange said...

But think about it Constantine, this is the one who fed the five thousand by simply blessing a handful of food. This is the one who raised Lazarus and the widow's son from the dead.This is the one who strode across the waves of a turbulent stormy sea. This is the one who calmed the storm simply by saying, "Peace be still!" This is the one who told the disciples where to find the colt and the room already prepaired for passover. If He had really wanted water, do you think He would have had to ask? To me that is like thinking it was nails that held Him to the cross.

Constantine said...

I wasn’t always so. :)

I take comfort (yes, I meant to use this word) in a very high Christology Angevoix, as basically defined by our standard Creeds of old, one of which states explicitly, “He suffered…” From this I can extrapolate that the Atonement was indeed an “at-one-ment.” This particular theory doesn’t get much press, but it resonates with me. It’s one reason why I haven’t abandoned a hope and belief in a good God, in whom all things will eventually be made right and every tear wiped away. So, you see, in some sense, it’s the opposite of skepticism. High falutin theology in the case of the Incarnation and what follows from that dogma is more than “Ivory Tower,” for me.

I’m increasingly alarmed by elements of conservative Christianity (you see, I know what the libs are up to, as do they, but the question I find myself asking with increased frequency is do the conservatives know what they themselves are up to) that plays “footsy” with the heretical notion of Docetism (more or less a denial of the human side of the nature of Christ). I say “footsy” because they wouldn’t deny it doctrinally, but increasingly do so in practice.

Of course, I play “footsy” with heresy too—i.e. universalism. Maybe I’m throwing rocks in a glass house.

voixdange said...

Oh, I believe Christ suffered fully, and felt unimaginable pain, as any other human would have...which makes it all the more extraordinary to me that he so willingly endured it when at any moment he could have halted the whole process.If He hadn't felt fully the pain of the crucifixion, it would diminish the power of it.

Kevin Condon said...

Well, well. Resonating seems to have spread all the way to Chicago.

He actually said another thing that alluded to his physical suffering. He said, "My God, My God. Why have you forsaken me?" This is curious, of course, because this is one third of the Godhead addressing the other two thirds. The Holy Spirit, the comforter, had to be distant at this moment, too. To fully experience death, Jesus had to fully inhabit humanity, which includes a distance from God, by definition. On the cross, his ultimate sacrifice was to be fully united with us in death; a death that is foreign to God, again by definition. It began with thirst, the thirst of a human body. It continued with the distractions and pain of life in the world, which He overcomes in ministering to others. It ends with "Into your hand I commend my spirit." His greatest obedience and submission was of his human nature to God. At the same time, his God-ness had to submit to his human nature.

Deep calling to deep.

voixdange said...

He actually said another thing that alluded to his physical suffering. He said, "My God, My God. Why have you forsaken me?"

I would classify this as emotional suffering, not physical suffering --

Kevin Condon said...

I agree, Angevoix. His suffering was emotional. He was also about to die...alone and in terrible agony.

voixdange said...

Not to claim any unfair advantage, but having been through one incredibly painful childbirth, in which the pain was so intense I at times thought I would go insane...the fact that Jesus was thinking of anyone besides Himself on the cross, much less forgiving and ministering to their needs is way beyond my comprehension...all of it was extraordinarily amazing...

Constantine said...

Resonating resonates! :)

kc, the content of your comments here surprised me a bit.

Btw Angevoix, though I spoke in a contrarian manner to your original post, I nevertheless basically agree with the spirit of your comments.

A final thought. You offered a brief litany of the miraculous actions of our Lord, and I concur with you that they happened, but what do you think was the purpose of those miraculous interventions--i.e. the feeding of the 5000 and the calming of the storm?

Kevin Condon said...

Surprised how, C? The crucifixion has to be the most amazing mystery in creation. How can we understand it, if we keep the integrity of the Trinity. God sends himself to die a death of atonement to overcome sin and death by death???? The Trinity is hard enough to understand. Add the crucifixion and what it means, and I'm done. It is too high a knowledge for me. I know the crucifixion and resurrection happened by the reactions of the apostles and the fact of the church. But...understand it? Nope. Not I.

Constantine said...

My surprise kc was a pleasant one. You got down and dirty. Very "earthy."

I'm with you as to the mystery of the Cross. Padre Neo is fond of the Lewis notion regarding the same subject: "DEEP MAGIC". I think I do too.

Constantine said...

Opps. I meant to say, "I think I like that too."

voixdange said...

I think each miracle had its own specific lesson...feeding of the five thousand --- God as provider --. Lazarus-- there is a miriad of lessons there ranging from why did he wait when he knew Lazarus was sick, why He wept and the actual miracle itself. We know that the names of God are many -- Jehovah Jireh,The Lion of Judah, etc...and it almost seems to me as if each miracle is a demonstration of a different aspect of His character. Although I would never claim to fully understand the mystery of the crucifixion, I think it helps to take it in light of my other post...Time Transfixed ... to understand that time is in God...or does that make it more confusing???
Oh well -- don't fret about your comments C. I enjoy them O Cynical One. LOL.

Kevin Condon said...

Incidently, angevoix. You are a gifted student of Christianity and a wonderfully expressive writer. I'm not sure what the appeal of education might be for you. Have you ever considered something more sublime? My brother is a professor of education at the University of Louisville, a religion-free zone. I'd hate you to have to suffer the same fate. Working for the government certainly needs Christains. I'm not trying to discourage. I just see you in Ed Methods courses and Ed Theory and developing a thoroughbred to serve on a merry-go-round comes to mind.

voixdange said...

Actually you are right on target as far as my educational goals. I am in a special program for Adults at Depaul in which we design our own focus area. Mine combines education with Theology. It is just step one in my little scheme. heh heh heh. Thanks for the compliments.

Constantine said...

Angevoix,
In your “but think about it Constantine” response you spoke of some of the miracles of our Lord, specifically the feeding of the 5000 and the stilling of the storm. From this I later asked you what you thought the purpose of these interventions (and that’s exactly what they were) were and your response to this question spoke to how they pointed to the multifaceted character of God and were lessons, so to speak, for us. Indeed, I agree. Those miracles revealed the heart of God and “authenticated” the ministry and person of Jesus, but I despair at times because I suspect (almost know) that the extent of those miracles were for then and for a definite purpose, but not to be expected now. Our Lord has left the tending of the world’s pains etc. to His followers. This is a dirty business. When you mentioned the feeding of the 5000 and the stilling of the storm my heart sank a tad because I immediately thought of the recent Tsunami and the never ending starvation that Africa endures (for a lot of reasons, many of which are their own doing, but nevertheless…) and it reminded me of our duty and obligation and reward to “be Christ” to the world. Sincerely, Your Cynical/Skeptical compadre – C.

Note: as to your “Time Transfixed” and the Mystery of our Lord’s Crucifixion comment, I’m preparing a response (one of agreement basically – how do you like that?!) that requires some careful thought and explanation.

voixdange said...

We are most certainly called to be Christ's hands and feet on this Earth and to proactively work towards bringing about the kingdom of God on this earth even as it is in heaven. But I don't feel that a belief in modern day miracles negates our responsibility to act in the natural. I beleive rather that as we act in the natural God adds his "super" to our natural, and wonderful things ensue. Mother Theresa had many such testimonies.