Famous Last Words: I Thirst

When I began this series I considered titling it “7 Last Words.” However, winters in Illinois are unpredictable and I knew there was a chance we’d have at least one week where we were snowed out. Sure enough, the first weekend in March was bad enough that our attendance was less than half of our usual crowd. I preached a short devotional message that week rather than continuing with the series. That left me one week shy of being able to do all seven.

Then I began to notice the connection between Maundy Thursday and this saying on the cross, “I thirst.” While I would never get dogmatic about it, from the Biblical record it appears that Jesus didn’t have anything to drink from the Last Supper until he requested a drink on the cross. Whether that’s actually the case or not, the deep thirst he felt on the cross made for an interesting connection to our remembrance of the upper room on Maundy Thursday.

I’ve always loved the way our community approaches Holy Week. I think you can tell that from the first minute or two of my message. I love the opportunity we have to meet with the other churches in town and share the services. Maundy Thursday has always meant a lot to me. While Easter Sunrise has its pageantry and excitement, I love the mood of Maundy Thursday.

The service went well. We did our best to leave in silence. That’s difficult for our community. We certainly do enjoy our time together.


Famous Last Words: Woman, Behold Your Son

Jesus said, “There is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” That’s a promise that no one should ever feel they’re alone. God has connected us through the cross as one big family. When we care for each other we’re proving the truth of what Jesus said.

There’s probably no place that call was ever displayed with more beauty and pain than on the cross in Jesus’ words to the Apostle John and his mother, Mary. Through the cross, Jesus redefined their relationship, just as he redefines ours.

As with the other sermons in this series, I had originally preached this one in 2009. It was amazing to see how little I needed to add and change with this one. I added the illustration about the news that Jesus had a brother (that’s some news) and the story about my text from Andy. Other than that, I updated my scripture references and tweaked the conclusion a bit.

The amazing part was just how timely the sermon was. There have been some issues about caring for one another and recognizing our need for each other lately. The sermon addressed them perfectly. I’ve been told there have been several “are you ok?” messages sent out over the past day or so.

The text message illustration provided something simple and concrete for them to do with the message. It was almost like giving them permission to care for each other.

I’m looking ahead to next week’s message: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” With it the shift will go from practical relationships with one another to their relationship with the Heavenly Father. It will be an interesting transition.