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Reading Classics Together - The Seven Sayings (Chapter 5)
June 05, 2008
This morning those of us who are reading some Christian classics together are going to be looking at the fifth chapter of A.W. Pink’s The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross. You can read more about this effort here: Reading the Classics Together. Before we begin, do allow me to apologize for not posting about the chapter last week. When I go to conferences my intentions are always good, but somehow I can rarely do all the things I think I can. Such was the case last week.
Jesus’ fifth saying on the cross is the word of suffering. According to John 19:28, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’” This is the simplest of Jesus’ sayings from the cross and could easily be seen as His least significant. Yet in this chapter Pink shows that even such a simple statement is loaded with meaning.
The chapter follows this outline:
- Here we have an evidence of Christ’s humanity.
- Here we see the intensity of Christ’s sufferings.
- Here we see our Lord’s deep reverence for the Scriptures.
- Here we see the Saviour’s submission to the Father’s will.
- Here we see how Christ can sympathize with His suffering people.
- Here we see the expression of a universal need.
- Here we see the enunciation of an abiding principle.
By way of preamble, I should say that I was challenged by this chapter, perhaps more than even the others, to be willing to look deeply into even Scripture’s smallest parts. This little phrase we are studying today could so easily be overlooked or could be seen merely as the thirsty cry of a tortured individual. And while it was that, Pink shows well that it was also much more. It is too easy for me, I think, to look only at the most obvious, most surface meanings without digging deeper into the text. Pink is a master of digging deep.
As is usually the case, there were a couple of Pink’s points in this chapter that stood out to me more than the others. The first was his discussion of these words pointing to Jesus’ humanity. While the Trinity is an impossible concept to grasp fully, I am well aware that Jesus was both fully God and fully human. The Bible teaches this with clarity and there is no reason to disbelieve it, even if we cannot get our minds around it. Somehow seeing Jesus’ cry for a drink as an aspect of His humanity touched me. Somehow it shows Him to be so human, so fully human. This comes even more into focus as we later ponder the fact that Jesus could so easily have called forth water to assuage his thirst. He was, after all, the one who created the world! But as Pink points out, none of His miracles were done for His sake, and this would be true as well on the cross. He suffered humbly as one who was fully human, even while being fully God. What a wonder!
The second area that stood out was the discussion of this saying being a sign of Christ’s submission to the Father’s will. He hung on the cross and He hung on the cross with parched lips, in order to be obedient to the Father’s will. He was willing to suffer in order to please and to obey the Father. In this case His Father required that the words of Scripture be fulfilled and Jesus was willing and eager to do so. “In death, as in life, Scripture was for the Lord Jesus the authoritative Word of the living God. In the temptation He had refused to minister to His need apart from that Word by which He lived, and so now He makes known His need, not that it might be ministered unto but that Scripture might be fulfilled.” What an amazing thing that Christ, fully man, was so focused on obeying and glorifying God even while in such a state of agony. Never did Christ forget His mission.
We will continue next Thursday with the sixth chapter of the book and look at Jesus’ word of victory.
I am eager to know what you gained from this chapter. Feel free to post comments below or to write about this on your own blog (and then post a comment linking us to your thoughts). Do not feel that you can only say anything if you are going to say something that will wow us all. Just add a comment with some of the things you gained from the this week’s reading.