“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.”—John 19:28
After this, that is, I conceive, (though I do not presume to mark the very order in which the Lord Jesus uttered his loud cries upon the cross,) after his complaint of desertion: for whether this was the fourth or fifth of the seven last words of the Redeemer, I dare not determine: yet the words themselves were highly important, and significant of great things, in reference to Jesus and his people. Jesus thus cried, that the scriptures might be fulfilled, it is said; for it had been prophesied of him, that gall was given him to eat—and, when thirsty, vinegar to drink, Ps. 69:21. And the soldiers, unconscious of what they did in fulfilling this very prophecy, gave him sponge dipped in vinegar. But, my soul, was it the thirst of the body thy Jesus complained of? I think not. He had before declared, at his last supper, that he would drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until the day he drank it new in the kingdom of his Father. What could be then the thirst of Jesus, but the thirst of his soul, for the accomplishment of redemption for his people, and the accomplishment of redemption in his people. He thirsted with an holy vehement thirst for the everlasting salvation of his ransomed, and seemed to anticipate the hour by this expression, when he should see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. But did not Jesus also, in this hour, as bearing the curse and wrath of God for sin, thirst in soul with that kind of thirst which, in hell, those who bear the everlasting torments of condemnation feel, when they are under an everlasting thirst which admits of no relief! That representation the Lord Jesus gives of this state, in the parable of the rich man’s thirst, serves to afford a lively but alarming view of such superlative misery. Oh that those who now add drunkenness to thirst, would seriously lay this to heart. Did God Suffer his dear Son, to whom sin was but transferred, and not committed by him—did he suffer him to cry out under this thirst? and what may we suppose will be the everlasting cry of such as not only merit his wrath for sin, but merit yet more his everlasting wrath for refusing redemption by Jesus, who thirsted on the cross to redeem sinners: from endless thirsting in despair and misery? My soul, did Jesus thirst for thee? Were his dying lips parched, and his soul deeply athirst, for thy salvation? And shall not this thirst of thy Redeemer kindle an holy thirst in thee for him, and his love and his great salvation? Wilt thou not now this morning anew, look up by faith to the cross and to the throne, and catch the flame of love from his holy, loving, longing, and languishing eyes, until all thy powers go forth in vehement desires, like him of old, crying out—”As the hart thirsteth for the water brooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for thy love is better than wine.”
Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was an Anglican (High-Calvinist) preacher who served as Vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth. John Hazelton wrote of him:
“The prominent features…in Robert Hawker's testimony…was the Person of Christ….Dr. Hawker delighted to speak of his Lord as "My most glorious Christ.” What anxious heart but finds at times in the perusal of the doctor's writings a measure of relief, a softening, and a mellowing? an almost imperceptible yet secret and constraining power in leading out of self and off from the misery and bondage of the flesh into a contemplation of the Person and preciousness of Christ as "the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely." Christ and Him crucified was emphatically the burden of his song and the keynote of his ministry. He preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: "To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ." He paused and asked, "Who first trusted in Christ?" And then made this answer: "It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ."