Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty” JOHN 19:28

We should not pass over those words in the middle, “and so that Scripture would be fulfilled,” too quickly. They are not an incidental aside: they are at the heart of Jesus’ life and ministry, and they reveal the heart of our Messiah to us.

Psalm 69 is a great messianic psalm, quoted more often in the New Testament than any other psalm except Psalm 22, another great messianic psalm. As John is inspired to write his gospel, he sees Psalm 69:21 being fulfilled here: “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” So do we.

These are the last moments of Christ’s life, just before his cry of victory, just before he gave up his spirit. He announces his thirst and accepts the drink that he had refused earlier. After six hours of suffering on the cross-with dehydration from loss of blood, exposure to the elements, and gasping for breath-he wets his parched throat enough so that his last words could ring across the hilltop.

Three times in this chapter, John reports that something happened to fulfill a prophecy. The four gospels make that explicit connection between prophecy in the Old Testament and fulfillment by Christ about 30 times. All told, Bible scholars estimate that Jesus fulfilled at least 300 prophecies, while some put the number of Old Testament passages that somehow point to or describe the coming Messiah in the 400s or even the 500s.

Regardless of the exact number, the biblical record clearly demonstrates that the crucifixion of Christ fulfilled numerous promises repeatedly made by God over thousands of years. God’s plan was reaching its completion: it was “on that cross as Jesus died” that “the wrath of God was satisfied.” The physical torment our Savior experienced was staggering; the crushing spiritual aloneness, as the Father forsook the Son, is incomprehensible. The wrath of the Father had been poured out in full measure on his Son so that by our Spirit-worked faith in his life, death, and resurrection our sins are forgiven and our relationship with God restored. The divine work of atonement mapped out in Scripture was fulfilled.


Lord Jesus, in faith we stand at the foot of your cross and contemplate the work that you finished for us. All of the promises God has made are “Yes” in you, so through you we speak our “Amen” to the glory of God. Amen.