After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.
After Jesus took care of His mother, Mary, He knew there was only one thing left for Him to do. Only one act to fulfill all scripture.
The process of execution, including the blood He lost during the scourging, and the sweat of His suffering, drained a lot of fluid from His body. That He could speak, at this point, was in itself an amazing thing. With intense dehydration, the mouth, tongue, and lips are parched and often sealed together. In order to make His last great statement from the cross, He needed some moisture.
In Luke 12:50, Jesus said, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” He was at the beginning of the work He had come to do.
II Cor. 5:21. describes the time when the work was being done: “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
Now, the work was done. Mark 15:23 says, “And they gave Him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but He received it not.” The wine was a cheap, diluted liquid more like vinegar. No luxuries for a condemned man. The myrrh was a kind of anesthetic, offered to the victim before he was nailed to the cross to dull the pain just a little bit. Jesus did not partake of the mixture. He needed to feel the full weight of the sin of all mankind. Once that horror had been accomplished, Jesus stated, “I thirst.”
One of the soldiers soaked a sponge in the sour wine. It contained no myrrh, but is thought to have been there for the soldiers to use as they kept their long vigil. This wine was just plain, cheap, sour wine.
When the sponge was soaked, the soldier put the sponge on hyssop and raised it to Jesus’ mouth.
Hyssop is a small, bushy plant of the mint family. Obviously it had branches long enough to serve the purpose of raising the sponge to Jesus’ mouth, but it is also significant that it was a plant used for cooking, for some medical applications, and for purification. It was used to apply the blood of the passover lamb to the top of the door, and the posts of the door. It was symbolic of the cleansing of the soul.
When Jesus had moistened His lips, tongue and throat, He lifted His head and spoke: “It is finished.” And He bowed His head, and gave up His life.