Even though He’d been tortured for hours and just finished bearing the wrath of God for three hours, the Lord was still able to run down a mental checklist of prophecies that had to be fulfilled before He could die (19:28). Imagine how well He had to know the Word to do that! He wrote the Word, but had to relearn it after His birth. We should strive to learn it well enough to where obeying it is second nature, even under dire circumstances, or everyday life problems.
In saying He thirsted, He was thinking of Psalm 22:15. He didn’t say “I thirst” because He was thirsty, but “that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (Jo.19:28). He was thirsty, but if He was going to say so, it would have been when experiencing the fire of God’s wrath (cf. Lu.16:24) or when slaying thousands of principalities (Col.2:15 cf. Judges 15:17,18). Both Samson and the Lord defeated thousands with a weapon men despised, a jawbone and a cross.
He also said “I thirst” to fulfill Psalm 69:21, the rest of which was fulfilled in John 19:29. Vinegar is sour wine (Num.6:3), a vessel of which they kept nearby (Jo.19:29) because many were crucified there. Critics point out that Mark says He didn’t receive the drink (Mark 15: 23) and John says He did (19:30). But it was offered twice (Mt.27:34, 48). The first time it was “mingled with gall,” a drug that would have deadened his pain, but also His mind, preventing Him from fulfilling His prophetic checklist.
“It is finished” meant all the work that the Father gave Him to do was done. The Greek word for this phrase is translated “made an end of” (Mt.11:1), for He made an end of our sins, and it’s translated “pay tribute” (Mt.17:24), for He paid our debt. Some say He wasn’t talking about the work done to pay for our sins, because He said that He came to finish the Father’s work (Jo.4:34), and said that He did before He died (17:4). But this was because in His mind it was as good as done (cf.Ro.4:17). He finished transgressions when He was cut off (Dn.9:24-26).
How’d He finish the work to pay for our sins? Priests stood
because their work was never done (Heb.10:11). Knowing it wouldn’t be, God included no chair in the tabernacle. But Christ offered one sacrifice for sin forever (v.12)
In Scripture, bowing the head (John 19:30) was always an act of worship (Ex.4:31; IChron.29:20; Neh.8:6,etc.). So the Lord’s sacrifice of His life was an act of worship, as it is when you sacrifice your life (Rom.12:1).
Bowing His head means He kept it erect till then, some-thing hard for crucifixion victims to do. We know the Lord was stronger than most, for He was able to cry with a loud voice (Lu.23:46), and most didn’t have the breath to do this, since crucifixion victims suffocate from not being to exhale. We know He didn’t bow His head because He ran out of strength, for John says He “bowed” it, it didn’t “drop.” He died like Moses, full of strength (Deut.34:7), and Moses was a type of Christ. He bowed it because He knew it was time to “give up the ghost” (Jo.19:30).
If they murdered Him, how could He say no man took His life (John 10:11,17,18)? They killed and slew Him (Acts 3:12-15; 5:30), and murder is the taking of human life! He laid it down as Prisca and Aquilla did (Rom.16:4), i.e., He made Himself vulnerable to those who could take it. Throughout His life, He resisted those who would take His life, for His hour was not yet come. He had not yet fulfilled all the prophecies. When His hour came, He knocked them over just by saying His name, proving He was allowing Himself to be arrested and killed, laying down His life.
Some say if He hadn’t “dismissed His spirit” that He’d still be hanging there today, but there was nothing miraculous about His death. He died as Jacob did, “commanding” his sons for 32 verses, then laying down and dying (Gen.49:33). He died using the power we all have of relinquishing the will to live. More people die after a birthday than before, for they will themselves to live to see it. Hospice workers tell loved ones to tell the dying that it is okay to “let go.” They know men tend to hold on. It would make no sense to say this if the dying had no power to let go. When the Lord’s time came, he just let go of life.