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Good Friday – Community Service at Sharon Lutheran, Selinsgrove 1:40pm-2pm

Scripture – John 19:28

The public ministry of Jesus in the Gospel according to St. John begins in Cana of Galilee, at a wedding feast.  The thirsty guests run out of wine.            

Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him,
they have no wine.  And Jesus said to her, Woman, what concern
is that to you and to me?  My time has not yet come.  His mother
said to the servants, Do whatever he tells you.  Now standing
there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification,
each holding twenty or thirty gallons.  Jesus said to them, Fill the
jars with water.  And they filled them up to the brim.  He said to them,
Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.  So, they took
it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and
did not know where it came from (though the servants who had
drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said
to him, Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior
wine after the guests have become drunk.  But you have kept the
good wine until now.  (John 2: 2-10)

The public ministry of Jesus in the Gospel according to St. John concludes on a cross outside the city walls of Jerusalem on the site of a garbage dump.

… when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order
to fulfill scripture), I am thirsty.  A jar full of sour wine was
standing there.  So, they put a sponge full of the wine on a
branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.  (John 19: 28-29)

Between the day in Cana when he provided superb wine until the final day when he tastes the sour wine, Jesus pours out all his heart, his soul, his mind and his strength in loving God and loving neighbor. 

Let us unpack a bit more his concluding words on the cross, I thirst.  In these words, he is fulfilling the text of Psalm 69: 20-21.

Reproach has broken my heart, and it cannot be healed;
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
for comforters, but I could find no one.
They gave me gall to eat,
And when I was thirsty, they gave me vinegar to drink. 

Jesus is reconnecting with his words to Simon Peter in the garden of Gethsemane.  Remember the scene when Simon Peter pulls out his sword to defend Jesus and swipes the servant of the chief priest, cutting off his ear.  Jesus responds with

Put your sword back into its sheath.  Am I not to drink
the cup that the Father has given me?  (John 18: 10-11)

The ministry of Jesus is to give superb wine to all who thirsted.  The cup Jesus received in return is sour wine, is vinegar “put on a sponge on a branch of hyssop”.

So, the question must be asked, for what is Jesus thirsting? 

For what is Jesus thirsting in his final moments on the cross?

I would say he is thirsting for the blessing, for the love, for the grace of God, for the superb wine of life.  In the midst of his unimaginable pain, with his dying breath, Jesus is one with us, Jesus is one of us.  For we, too, thirst for the blessing, thirst for the love, thirst for the grace of God. 

In the midst of a bridge collapse, in the midst of train derailments, in the midst of starvation in Africa and Gaza, in the midst of terrorism in Russia and Israel, in the midst of violence circling the planet, we thirst for God’s blessing, for God’s love, for God’s grace, for the superb wine of Cana. 

This is life in the raw, no sugar coating here, with searing pain in the hands and the feet, with scalp piercing thorns, and with fluid filling lungs. 

On the cross Jesus thirsts

 for God’s quenching blessing,
for God’s quenching love,
for God’s quenching grace,
for the wine of Cana.

And so do we!  And so do we! 

Amen

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