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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - The Thirst Trap

Steven Furtick - The Thirst Trap

Steven Furtick - The Thirst Trap

We're excited, because favor flows from strange places. It really does. One time, the children of Israel were in the desert and water came out of a rock. That's weird. Have you ever had God do something for you but not through the person you expected him to do it through? Have you ever had God be good to you through somebody you weren't even good to, and then somebody you were good to wasn't good to you? It's almost like God wants to challenge your attachments, so he'll keep on moving around his supply and springing up from different places so you don't camp out where he called you to pass through. That's why sometimes you get frustrated, but favor can flow from frustration. Sometimes you have to get down to the bottom of something to find God there. My study has been like that. It was kind of weird. I did not want to do a Seven-Mile Miracle series.

I preached this sermon five or six years ago. My publisher had the rights to the material, because we had them pay for the study guide for our groups or whatever. We had them pay the church, and they wanted to put out a book, and I didn't want to write a book about Seven-Mile Miracle, because I typically like to preach something and move on. As a matter of fact, this is probably dysfunctional, but before I came out to preach to you I was writing my sermon for the end of April because it started coming to me. The way it flows to me… I've had to learn to get in the flow with God, because, for me, creativity and inspiration doesn't always flow. It's not always dependable.

One songwriter said creativity is like building your house from the sky down, especially when you're depending on God to give it to you. You feel kind of vulnerable when you're waiting on God to give you something. It flows in strange places. Sometimes I get sermons off of Gatorade commercials. I just have to do it anywhere I can. This year has been interesting. God took some things I studied years ago, like this seven-mile walk on the Emmaus Road… We taught an Easter sermon on it, and then a whole series and a book flowed out of it, but I was kind of done with it. God took something I was done with, like a seed that I thought was gone, but it really wasn't gone. It was in the ground.

Some things in your life that you sowed in the last season are going to come up out of the ground when you least expect it, because favor flows from strange places. I've been going through these seven statements of Jesus slowly, and I don't like to go slow. If it were up to me, we would study all seven of them in the introduction to the sermon and move on. I like to cover a lot of ground so you don't get bored. Sometimes you have to slow down. I started this series talking about Cleo. He's walking along with a companion. Here comes Jesus, this stranger, and out of this stranger's mouth comes a revelation that reverses their disappointment. They realize it when they get there, not while they're going. It started to challenge the way I saw faith, because I thought faith meant I would know why I was going through everything I went through while I went through it.

Now I'm thinking maybe faith means not knowing why I'm going through it, but trusting the One who makes a way where there is no way to feed me what I need for the season I'm in, because he's God and he knows what I need when I need it. When we were preaching about "He broke the bread and gave it to them…" We've kind of been breaking the bread. The bread represents the Word of God, and each week I've been giving you a little piece. I'm taking it from the last sayings Jesus spoke on the cross. There are seven. Seven is the number of completion in the Scripture. When we say seven, we're eventually getting to resurrection, but to get there we're going through crucifixion. We're eventually getting to glory, but to get there we have to go through the sufferings of this present time and believe that they are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed, but it's in the ground right now.

It's on Saturday that our faith is proven, waiting for Sunday and the aftershock of Friday. We walked through a couple of different sayings, and one was "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". That one challenged me, because it is the exact opposite of how I think when somebody disappoints me or offends me. See, you're different. You're more sanctified than me, and you've arrived, but when somebody breaks my heart, I don't say, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". I say, "God, get them back. Hurt them worse than I could ever hurt, because they knew exactly what they were doing". I'm challenged. Jesus says to a thief, "Today you will be with me in paradise". I don't think like that. I think if the guy is going to be in paradise, he needs to do some good deeds and help some old ladies across the street and take a little membership class and get baptized at our Concord Campus. Then he can be in paradise. He didn't do any of that. Jesus saved him just because he asked.

Now I'm thinking this must be a gift you can't earn. It must not have to do with my works at all. It must be something God gives, not something I get. All I have to do is receive it. Then I'm a little convicted how he's on the cross and is thinking about his mom, because I don't think about others while I'm going through good times, let alone hard times. I don't even like to let people merge in traffic on 485, because I'm in a hurry. Here's Jesus dying and thinking about somebody else. All of this has been challenging me. Wade gets up and says that God was forsaken by God, the Son by the Father, so that we would never have to be abandoned. Then I come to this little phrase, and I don't know what to do with it. Jesus now says one of his last sayings on the cross.

This is mile five, commonly known as the word of distress. It's called the word of distress, but after today you're going to see that it's actually the word of destiny. I'm going to show you. He says something strange. Let's look at it together. He has been mocked. He has been flogged. He has been sentenced, handed over to die. He's bleeding, he's suffocating, and he's hanging there. John 19:28: "After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished…" Finality. Achievement would be the original language. All was achieved that he was sent to do. His assignment was achieved. Now that he knew that, he said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst," which is ironic because this is the same voice that spoke the seas into existence, and now he needs water. Do you ever think about this? How the same voice that told the Red Sea to part now needs a drink. How can the voice that could command the sea, "Peace, be still" and it had to shut up so he could get some sleep…

Colossians tells us he is the one by whom, for whom, and through whom all things were created that were created. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God". That's Jesus. Now he's wrapped in flesh, dying at the hands of sinful men a criminal's death, and he says, "I thirst". He's the one who said he was living water. How can living water be thirsty? He is the one who was Jacob's well. How can Jacob's well be dry? Do you see what I'm saying? It's just strange to me. On top of the fact that it's kind of crazy that the one who called the seas to be gathered together so the dry land could appear, the one whose voice is above the waters, the one who separated the water above the firmament and the water below the firmament, the one who has a throne in heaven, by the way, in the book of Revelation, that he sits on, where the streams of water flow and make glad the city of God, pure and brilliant as jasper and diamond… Those waters flow from the throne, but here we see him thirsting.

How can God be thirsty? How can water need a drink? Y'all are looking at me confused, and you should be, because it's confusing. I understand me being thirsty. After all, I'm a thirsty man. That's what Holly said one time. She told a server that in a restaurant. By the way, if you're a server in a restaurant, first of all, God bless you. You are an unsung hero, especially on Sundays with hungry, cranky, non-tipping Christians who put a Bible verse on the receipt instead of a tip. Father, forgive them. It's tough for me to admit this, but I am a server's worst nightmare, and it's not because I'm rude, and I'm not rude because I'm Southern. Since I'm Southern, if I'm going to be rude to you, I'm going to do it behind your back.

I watch people from other parts of the country who are so direct, and it's weird to me, because I can feel my mom putting soap in my mouth. We just weren't that direct. I watch somebody in a restaurant. They're done and they just go, "Check"! I can't do it like that. I wish I could. I think it would be cool to just holler, "Check"! I see it in movies. I'm going to try it sometime. I'm not rude like that. I'm not even really that picky in a restaurant. I'm really not. I'm simple. I'm basic. I like what I like, but it's not that hard to fix it like I like it. Here's what I'm trying to say. I'm not Chunks Corbett. Chunks Corbett is the most embarrassing person to be in a restaurant with because of the specificity with which he demands his food be prepared. His wife is nodding while I'm preaching this. He'll walk in a restaurant… "I want a Bloomin' Onion, but no onion, and can you make it in the shape of an 8? That's my favorite number, and when I was 8, I played baseball".

He has the craziest stuff. I'm not really like that, but my thing is if you can keep up with me on the drinks… I drink Diet Coke. Like I just said I shoot up heroin, you judgmental demon. People will do it every time I say that. They'll send me a link about aspartame, but it's all right. I already read about it, and I want to go to heaven, and I'm kind of in a hurry to get there. I'm at peace with my mortal nature, and I want a sip of Diet Coke on the journey. My thing is… I tip great, especially if you bring me an Elevation Church stolen pen to sign the tip with. That'll be our thing. I'll bump it up at least 3 percent. Spread the word. But my thing is keeping my drink full is kind of hard, because I'll drink five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven… I've been to twelve glasses before in a long meal. I know it's horrible.

One time, this server came over, and she was kind of giggling about how many drinks I was drinking. This was years ago. She looked like she was too young to be legally working at a restaurant. She comes over to the table, and she's kind of giggling, and I'm apologizing. I'm like, "I'm sorry I'm drinking so many drinks. I just like to drink a lot of Diet Coke. I'm sorry about that. I promise I'll tip you good. Thank you for trying to keep up with me". She giggles. Feeling the need to apologize, Holly goes, "He's just a thirsty man". She started laughing when Holly said that, but she was laughing a little too hard. You know how people can laugh a little too hard for what you said and you know they took something different out of what you said? She's laughing and laughing, and I said, "What? What was funny about that"? She said, "Your wife just said you're thirsty". I said, "Yeah, I am. You've seen it tonight here in the restaurant. I like to drink". She said, "No, no. You don't know what thirsty means, do you"? I said, "No, but tell me what thirsty means to you. I need to know". She said, "You don't want to know this. You're a preacher".

I said, "No, tell me". She said, "Well, it's kind of something younger people would say. Say, maybe if a guy is a little too desperate, we would look at him and maybe roll our eyes and say, 'Thirsty.'" So now I knew why she was laughing. She said, "When people post something on social media where they want to get attention and they try a little too hard, we call that a thirst trap". I want to preach to you today about The Thirst Trap. I want to go all the way back from Bonefish Grill to John 19 and see if I can work it together. I have to admit sometimes I'm thirsty, like the guy who sends 12 text messages and none of them get responded to. Those long text messages.

Sometimes I need too much from the wrong place. Sometimes I'm thirsty. I love God, and I know he's my shepherd and I'm not supposed to be in need, and I have his Spirit, but sometimes I have to admit to you I'm kind of thirsty. Look at your neighbor and ask them, "Are you thirsty"? Not you. You're filled with the Spirit of God. We get thirsty, and it's no surprise we get thirsty. We're weak. He knows our frame. We're made of dust. We came from the dust. We get thirsty in the dust. Dirty, thirsty people. That makes sense, but for Jesus to say, "I thirst…" When he said it, the Bible says the soldiers around the cross came to him. He said, "I thirst," and there was a jar full of sour wine, cheap stuff, what the executioners drank while they were waiting on the person to die.

This was the second drink Jesus was offered on the cross, but the first one he refused when he was on his way to the cross. When he got to the spot where they would drop the vertical beam and attach it to the horizontal beam… Because the cross works both ways. I taught you that two weeks ago. When he got to that spot, they offered him a drink. This drink was, the Bible says, mixed with myrrh, which was meant to drug the person going to the cross. The women would prepare it often as an act of compassion or kindness. When they offered him this drink, perhaps in mockery, for he called himself a king… Mark tells us in Mark 15:23, "They offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it". Maybe he saw it as a trap, because he was focused on finishing what God gave him to do. When he got to the cross, he refused to drink and said, "I don't need that".

I want you to do something for me. Everybody do this. I want you to get something in your mind that's trying to keep you from being on the path of your purpose. When I say "three," push it out of the way like Jesus pushed the cup of myrrh and say, "I don't need it". One, two, three. "I don't need it". He said, "I'm not drinking that. I'm going somewhere". With his gaze set on the glory of God, he went toward the cross. Now it has been six hours since he first got to Golgotha, and he says, "I thirst".

Remember, this is the same voice of God that created the clouds and filled them with condensation. This is the voice that has the power to flood the earth, and only Noah and every animal on the boat gets out of it alive, and he thirsts. We're surprised by it, or at least we should be. We're surprised when they come to him and there's a jar of sour wine and they offer to the Lamb of God who was slain before the foundation of the earth… You need to understand that what happened on the cross didn't start on the cross, and it didn't end on the cross. The cross was pointing at the prophetic fulfillment of the purpose of God that existed before time began. They take a hyssop branch, which was what they used on Passover back when they would take the blood of a lamb and put it on a doorpost. They took that branch that they would put the blood on, and now the Lamb of God is bleeding. It's not the shadow anymore; it's the actuality, the revelation of God.

The fullness of God is hanging on a cross in the form of a man, and they give him vinegar to drink for his thirst. They put it to his mouth, the same mouth that spoke them into existence, and they gave him vinegar to drink. How could he be thirsty? How could God struggle with a human sensation like thirst? If you want to write something down, write down struggle. To really understand why he said, "I thirst" on the cross, you have to start in the garden of Gethsemane. The garden of Gethsemane is where he went out to pray before he drank the cup of suffering. It's one thing to come to church and talk about a calling. Sometimes a calling is like a beautiful cup, but what's in it when it comes time to really fulfill your calling… Let me break this down, because y'all are looking at me cross-eyed and stuff. It's one thing to pick out a name for your baby; it's another thing to have to raise them in middle school. It still didn't work.

I'm trying really hard to bring this right where you are. It is one thing to write down his last name with your first name and think about how awesome it would be to be "Mrs. So-and-So," but it's another thing to deal with his bad breath and his bad spending habits and realize that his mom didn't teach him how to put the seat down on the toilet after he used it and work out the mechanics of marriage in the context of the calling, not just the excitement of the concept of something. Sometimes, while we are very excited about the concept of being used by God… Stay with me, because this sermon is about to do something deep down in your soul. I feel the Spirit of God saying to somebody today, "What will you do with the cup"? Jesus had a cup he didn't want to drink, and he prayed in the garden. He prayed, "Father, if there's any other way to get this done, let this cup pass from me".

The cup that was full of the wrath of God, the just punishment our sin deserved. He drank it, but he struggled to drink it. Do you know how I know he struggled? Because he prayed, "If there's any other way, let this cup pass, but if there's not, if I have to drink it down, if I have to suffer, if I have to go to the cross, I'm going to the cross. If I have to be mocked, I'll be mocked. If I have to be alone, I'll be alone. If I have to cry, I'll cry. If I have to struggle, I'll struggle. Not my will but yours be done". The Son of God is thirsty, and he's thirsty because he's trapped. He's trapped in a place we're all familiar with. He's trapped between what he wants and what God wills. Have you ever been trapped? Three honest people. Three thirsty people. All of the thirsty people make some noise. Just be honest about it.

Remember, it's only those who hunger and thirst who can be filled. It's only those who know what it's like. He got down in that garden, and he prayed so hard about it, and he hurt so much about it, while Peter, James, and John slept on the side, but Jesus prayed. The Bible says he prayed to the point that his sweat was like drops of blood. He struggled to surrender. He was trapped in the garden between what God had spoken and what his flesh wanted. "I'm thirsty". Of course he's thirsty. When you sweat like that, you're going to be thirsty. I mean, if the Son of God sweated like that, what makes you think you're going to go through life and never break one yourself? We think we're just supposed to fulfill our calling and never drink the cup. We think we're supposed to have a vision but no vinegar. The Son of God is sweating drops of blood, and we're supposed to be able to sleep through life? It's a struggle. He said, "I thirst" because he struggled.

I know he was thirsty. He's fully God, yes, but he's also fully man. In other words, he's trapped, because he's God, but he's wrapped in flesh; because he's glory, but he's wrapped in frailty; because he's eternity, but he's trapped in time; because he's spirit, but he's trapped in a body. Sometimes I feel trapped, because what I want to do I can't do, and what I do I hate, and what I want to do I don't have the will to do. I'm trapped. I'm thirsty. I'm tired. I'm weary. He struggled. See, I'm not very comfortable with this. I don't like it. I don't really want to see a God who struggled like I struggle. I like that stuff where he opens his mouth and says, "Shut up!" to the wind and the waves. I like that, because that makes me think he's just going to walk into my situation… "Ssh"! Smooth sailing. But when he says, "I thirst," now I see him identifying with my shame, and it causes me to look at myself not as I wish to be but as I really am.

Now I have to picture him carrying my shame. Shame will make you thirsty. Shame will make you try to fill something with the words of people that can really only be fulfilled by the Word of God. Shame will make you forget who you really are. Of course he was thirsty. He was carrying your shame. To an untrained eye it looked like he was carrying a beam that weighed 80 pounds, and he carried it up a hill. This is from Pilate's palace where Jesus was sentenced by the Roman prelate. He had already been handed over by Caiaphas, the high priest. He has been going back and forth all night. He sweats in the garden. He heads to the cross. He gets there. They offer him something to numb the pain. He says, "No. I'm focused. No, not yet". He pushes the drink aside, thirsty as he is, carrying my shame.

Eighty pounds. It weighs a lot more than that when it's in your soul, a whole lot more than 80 pounds. It'll weigh so much you can't even look people in the eye when it's in your soul. He carried it the length of six and a half football fields from Pilate's palace to Golgotha. Of course he was thirsty. Come on, I can't even do a set of kettlebell swings and not take a sip. Of course he was thirsty. Of course he said, "I thirst". You know what? This isn't the first time Jesus said he was thirsty in John's gospel.

Can I tell you a story? It's a Bible story from John, chapter 4. It's interesting, because Jesus is going somewhere, but he goes around to get there, and the place where he goes is called Samaria. This is not a normal place for a Jew to go, so the fact that he went there was kind of surprising, but nobody asked him why he was doing what he was doing, because by this time his disciples knew that everything he did he did on purpose. That's going to come back, and that's going to be very important when I finish this little sermonette today. Everything he did he did on purpose. The Bible says he had to go to Samaria. He had to go. Why? Why did he have to go to Samaria? Why did he have to go to the cross? Why would he go out of his way to Samaria where a Jewish person would not normally go? Why would God go where he was least expected? Do you ever wonder why God would bother with someone like you? Have you ever asked that question, "Why me, God"? Any parents who have ever asked God, "Why me? Why would you call me to raise a kid when I feel like a little boy myself sometimes"?

The interesting thing to me about this little excursion Jesus takes is that he's going to Samaria, he sits down when he gets there, and he waits by a well for a woman. Let me tell you something about this woman. She's coming out in the middle of the day. The only reason you would go to the well in the middle of the day in a hot climate is so nobody else would be there, because you're ashamed to be seen by people. So she's going out in the middle of the day to get some water at a time when she doesn't think anybody else will see her because she's thirsty. She's not just thirsty for water. She's thirsty. She's thirsty in the Urban Dictionary kind of way. Jesus sits by a well, waiting for a woman, and sets a trap for a thirsty woman. She comes up and says, "Oh crap! I thought nobody would be here. I don't even know this guy".

Have you noticed how everything we've been studying in the Scriptures is Jesus showing up to people who didn't even recognize him when he did? Just showing up. Then he does something unthinkable. Talk about a thirst trap. Jesus, the living water, sees this woman coming, knows what kind of life she has lived, and yet he doesn't say anything about that. He says, "Hey, girl". A little modernization. He said, "Give me a drink". She didn't like that very much, so she got really deep. Here's what you do when God speaks to a place in your life. When God starts speaking to you, you get theoretical and abstract, because to be specific, to really have to deal with the issue, is actually sometimes painful. So she's like, "Hey, how is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman from Samaria"? In other words, "I know you're not talking to me". That's what the woman is saying. "I know you're not talking to me". You can feel that way sometimes.

Some of you sit here and listen to me preach, and you think it's for your wife. I'm talking to you, buddy, thirsty self. Everybody in here is thirsty. Some of y'all get it through sex. Some of y'all get it through success. Some of y'all get it through religion, but I have to tell you something. The person you're sitting next to is thirsty. It's not a sin to be thirsty. It's just where you go to get your fix that determines whether or not your soul will be satisfied. I found out there's only one well that has the water I need. We talk about the satisfaction. Jesus says, "Hey, I need a drink," and the woman thinks he's talking about water, but he's not talking about water.

The woman is perhaps ashamed and offended, so she goes to push him away, because that's what she has learned how to do. She's thirsty, so she has learned how to get what she needs from who she thinks can give it, but none of it lasts. She has learned how to get what she needs, so she wakes up in the morning thirsty. "Did they 'like' my picture? Did they comment on my post? Did they friend me back? Did they follow me back"? Thirsty. Acting like that's going to fill you. It might for a minute, but there's one problem with this well. Jesus said, "If you drink of this water, woman, you're going to stay thirsty". I want you to know that if you put your validation in other people's hands, you will have to go back to them for it. Jesus just lays it out there. Jesus is like, "Hey, everyone who drinks of this water…" "That's why I don't go on Facebook". Yeah, but why do you go to the mall? Everybody drinks somewhere.

Why do you eat Doritos? Everybody drinks somewhere. Why do you put so much pressure on your kids to do what you never did? Everybody drinks somewhere. Why are you texting her back? He sits by a well, and he's like… I have to be honest. On the surface it sounds like a pick-up line, but we know it's not, because Jesus. He's not thirsty like that. He's trying to give her something. He's not trying to receive something from her; he's trying to release something to her, because he knows she's thirsty. He's like, "Hey, whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again". That troubled me, because I was contrasting what he said 15 chapters earlier with what he said in John 19 on the cross where he said, "I thirst". I felt like I caught Jesus contradicting himself, because he said he had water and we would never thirst if we drank it, but he said he thirsted on the cross. But I noticed how he didn't say, "You'll never feel thirsty again". He's saying you'll never be… He didn't say you will never thirst again. You're going to thirst. You're going to have days that you feel discouraged.

If you weren't, God wouldn't tell you not to be terrified or discouraged. If you were naturally going to always be encouraged, if you were never going to be discouraged and dehydrated… That's what the water is for. What he's saying is, "You'll always have somewhere to drink from. Not that you'll never have a need, but that I will meet all of your needs according to my glorious riches". That's the promise. He tells the woman, "I have something for you, and it's not like what you've been drinking".

Watch this. He traps this woman. He totally traps this woman. All through his ministry people were trying to trap Jesus. The Sadducees and the Pharisees, and Judas trapped him in the garden, and the Roman officials thought they had him trapped on the cross, but Jesus was always the one… Even when they thought they had him, they never really had him, because he was always in control, even on the cross. There were over 300 messianic prophecies Jesus fulfilled in his life and death, so Jesus was never really trapped. Here he is with this woman, and he says, "I want a drink," but he's not really thirsty like that. He's trying to give her something. God doesn't really need anything from you. He can have another you in a minute. I don't mean to go back to 2002, but sometimes… God really isn't needing something from you. When we talk about giving in the church, how dare you with your thirsty self get an attitude? "They just want my money".

God doesn't need your money. God wants to be in your heart. He wants to set you free. You're the one thirsty. You're the one. He says, "Give me a drink". She says, "Well, we don't have a bucket". He's trying to get her to see that she is the bucket and he is the water. The woman said, "Sir, if there's some kind of water, if there's some bottomless well, if there are free refills, give me this water so I won't have to be trapped, so I won't have to keep coming back here. So I won't have to keep texting Travis, so I won't have to keep performing, so I won't have to keep being so thirsty". Now Jesus has her. He came to Samaria and sat by the well, and now she's trapped. He goes, "All right, go get your husband". She says, "What had happened was… I don't have a husband".

Which is true, but it's not the total truth. You know how you do. "I have no husband". Jesus said, "You're right in saying, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you've said is true". "You're thirsty, and you're trapped. When I asked you for water, I was trying to release you from having to go all around to people and things and stuff that doesn't satisfy. I want to give you something that comes from within. I want to give you something that doesn't depend on bank accounts, that doesn't diminish, no matter how the biopsy comes back. I want to give you something you can live off of, something that only gets stronger in your struggle. I want to give you unlimited supply". She said, "Sir, I think you're on to something".

She goes back to Samaria, carrying living water that she didn't even expect to get. She comes back to Jesus, and the Bible says that many in Samaria believed because of her testimony. It was a trap. Jesus used a thirsty woman to transform an entire region. I wonder how he could use your life if you would receive his grace today. I want to talk about the setup, because that's what it was. It was a setup. That's why he went through Samaria. He was setting this woman up. That's why he asked for a drink: because she was thirsty. That's why he went to the cross uphill 650 yards. That's why he said, "I thirst".

I'm going to tell you how I found out. I thought about that thing so long. I thought, "Okay, how can living water be thirsty? How can a well need water? How can the one who spoke the oceans into existence now need water from the very same source he created? How could God, who reigns above the waters, need water? How could it be possible that God could come down, condescend to the form of human man? How could Christ be made flesh? How could he die and suffer like that? How could it be that there are seasons in my life when I call on him and nothing happens? How could it be that I have divinity but I'm trapped sometimes in my desperation? How could it be that I am full of the Spirit but sometimes I feel so dry"?

So I had to read again. I read John 19:28 like 20 times. I don't read Greek, although I took Greek. I don't read Hebrew, although I took Hebrew. I was not very effective in my language studies. I don't even read Aramaic, which is what Jesus was probably speaking at the moment when he said, "I thirst". But what I do read really well is English, and I know my punctuation marks, so when I read John 19:28… It said, "After this…" After all you've been through, after all they've accused you of, after all of the people who walked away who should have been there. After this. After they counted you out and said you were nothing and mocked you. After this. After a crown of thorns was placed on his head, after the blood ran from his brow. After this. After they beat his back, after they released Barabbas. After this. After the cock crowed and Peter denied him thrice. After this, knowing that now all things were finished, Jesus had one more thing to say, one thing to do, because there were 300 prophecies and he was on 299.

Everybody standing around that day thought that death had trapped Jesus. The cross was a setup. But it wasn't set up by Judas, and it wasn't set up by the Sadducees, and it wasn't set up by the Pharisees, and it wasn't set up by Herod. It was set up by heaven. Listen to me preach this sermon. Listen to me preach on the parentheses in John 19:28. I've preached on a lot of things in my little tenure preaching, but I've never preached on a punctuation mark until today. After this, knowing that all things had been fulfilled, knowing that he had drank down the full cup of the wrath of God so you would never have to, after knowing that he suffered like a criminal so he could reign like a king, after humbling himself, being obedient even to the point of death on a cross… "Jesus said (to fulfill the Scripture)…"

I wonder why John put it in parentheses. Probably because he didn't know that's why it was happening at the time. When Jesus said, "I thirst," they thought he wanted water, so they gave him vinegar to mock him. The thing they used to mock him was actually the thing he used to finish the work God gave him to do. The thing they put on a sponge to shame him… I have to tell y'all something. I have to show you one more thing. When Jesus said, "I thirst" to fulfill the Scripture, parentheses… Have you ever had to live in the parentheses? I mean, not understanding why you were going through what you were going through. Please be real with me. I cannot preach this sermon to closed hearts. I'm trying to give you water today for your thirsty soul. Sometimes you're in a wilderness and you don't know why. Sometimes you're looking at a Red Sea and you feel trapped. Jesus looked trapped up there on that cross, but John said, "No, he wasn't trapped". Death didn't trap Jesus; Jesus trapped death. Now I know why he said, "I thirst".

Now I know why the lips that spoke the waters into their place on the earth said, "I thirst". To fulfill the Scripture. God has a purpose for every thirst in your life. Death didn't trap Jesus; Jesus trapped death. One time David felt trapped, and in Psalm 69 he describes it in vivid detail. He goes, "The deep waters have engulfed me. I'm surrounded by enemies. They hurl their insults at me". Does this sound familiar, by the way? It's a messianic psalm. It's describing, centuries before the cross, what the cross would be like for Jesus. Jesus is called the son of David. It is David pointing to the one who now says, "I thirst". David says that although he is surrounded by what he calls "deep waters of trial," he says the reproach has broken his heart. The shame has brought him so low to this place that he feels like he's drowning. You can get to a place where you feel trapped in doubt, and you can have dysfunctions in your life that have been there so long you feel trapped inside of yourself.

That's the worst place to feel trapped. Not in a bad relationship. You can always block that number. But what do you do when you're trapped inside of your own broken heart? David said, "It's so bad it has broken my heart, and I am in despair. I am in distress". He said, "I looked for pity, but there was none; for comforters, but I found none. Nobody could help me. I was trapped". He said, "I got to the point where I asked my friends for food, and they gave me poison for food. The people who were supposed to help me hurt me. They gave me poison for food. I was thirsty, but for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink". Now I understand why Jesus said, "I thirst". It was to fulfill the Scripture. It wasn't about water. Jesus was setting the trap for death. This was the last thing he had to do before the Spirit could be released. It's a setup. If he didn't suffer, salvation could not spring up like a well. If he did not suffer, it could not flow forth. If he did not die, he could not rise. Somebody shout, "It's a setup"! It's not the end. It's in the parentheses.

Sometimes you have to trust God in the parentheses, in the tight places, when it looks like you're trapped, to know that the very Red Sea that feels like it's going to kill you is going to drown your enemies behind you. He said, "I thirsted, and they gave me vinegar". But watch David praying. This is what I'm praying over your life today. Every evil thing the Enemy has done to you and every trial that feels like it's sweeping over you and for everybody who feels trapped, listen to what he prayed. "Let their own table before them…" The thing they brought to destroy me. "Let their own table become a snare, and when they are at peace…" Just when the Devil thought he had Jesus trapped, just when he thought it was over, just when he thought, "We got rid of that one," just when he thought it was the end, just when they rolled the stone… "Let it become a trap". God said, "I've got you". He set the trap.

God brought you here into this garden so you could sweat out your insecurities. God brought you here into this tight place so your doubts could die and your faith could live. And you will never thirst again. He said, "I thirst," and they brought him vinegar. He said, "Good. I need that. I needed that vinegar. I needed that trial". Sometimes victory doesn't look like victory. Sometimes victory doesn't taste sweet. When he said, "I thirst" and they gave him the vinegar for water… After he had received the sour wine, after he had set the trap on death, hell, and the grave… I promise you we're going to have the best Easter ever this year. I feel like Easter came early today. I really do. I really feel like resurrection came at an unexpected time for somebody who thought they were trapped. Hear the Word of the Lord! It's not a trap; it's a triumph! Shout unto God! Friday's trap was Sunday's triumph. He said, "I thirst". He set the trap. After he had received the sour wine, he said, "It's finished".

The trap became the triumph. God is going to take the thing that looks… Ask the children of Israel. They thought the Red Sea was going to be the end of them. It was the end of their enemies. You're not trapped; the Devil is. You're not trapped. I'm not trapped and I'm not thirsty. Who the Son sets free… How many believe that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed? How many believe Christ is in you, the hope of glory? Shout like you believe that! I'm going to tell you one more thing. I love to preach the Word to you, not because I like to hear myself talk. I love to preach the Word of God to you because I know what this seed is going to do if you get it down in your heart. Watch this. Favor flows from unexpected places.

Do you remember when we were writing the song "Resurrecting"? It took about nine months to write the song. Everybody on the team contributes in different ways. My thing is I always like to write… Chris can tell you this, because we've been knowing each other forever. I'm kind of weird, because when the song seems like it should be over, I always like to put another verse. So we wrote the song, and it was kind of done. Not really done, but we thought it was done. We finished the songwriting thing, and I started thinking I wanted to write this fourth verse for the song. You know, Chris is kind of lazy, because he's a worship leader. (No, I'm just kidding. He's the hardest-working man in the praise biz.) It took six months to get the verse right, but we ended up writing a declaration for our church. Lift your hands. Whatever has you trapped today… We ended up writing this verse to let you know that what looks like it has you locked in is going to be the place…

See, that's what the grave was. The grave of Jesus Christ was a garden in disguise. That's what your trials are. That's what your weakness is. So I want you to sing this fourth verse, because just when it seems like the song should be over, just when it seems like your hope is gone, just when it seems like the Devil has dehydrated your dream… They thought they had him. They posted the guard right there. If he robbed the grave of its power, if the guards couldn't keep his body in… Come on, church! I'm talking about rivers of living water. You never thirst again when you get this Spirit, and the same Spirit that raised him from the dead…
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  1. Jacob Abelagi
    5 November 2017 22:31
    + 0 -
    I loved all your messages but I don't have your Email. I want to request for today message. Faith in day. Something Close to that I watch it today 5_11_2017.pls send your messages on Faith for me. Thanks. **