Psalm 7-8; John 7:28-53
“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” John 7:37
Today’s reading highlights a conversation that occurred during a high and holy event in Jerusalem. From all over the nation a pilgrimage had been made to celebrate the Feast of Booths.
Along with the ten commandments given by God on Mount Sinai was a requirement to celebrate seven feasts throughout the year. He included the names, why they were to be celebrated, and when. Israel’s history was rehearsed each year through the various feasts: In the spring they celebrate the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of First fruits to celebrate their trek from slavery to the promised land.
During the summer they celebrate the Feast of Pentecost.
In the fall the final three are celebrated: The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and finally the Feast of Booths.
In contrast to the other Feasts, the Feast of Booths was to be a week long celebration. They were asked to remember the comparatively flimsy accommodations that the wilderness provided. Celebrants erected crude tents or huts for their families to dwell in for a period of seven days.
The Jews were looking for him to show up at this feast and began asking “Where is that man?” Each had their own perspective on just who he was. Comments like;
“He is a good man.”
“No, he deceives people. “
“He is the Christ.”
“How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family…?”
As I read the John 7 account of this celebration, I was surprised how how little was given to “reminiscence.” Rather, there is an overwhelming environment of hostility. I would imagine that a hostile audience is a difficult audience to face. Have you noticed that politics seems always to find a way of trying to trump what God really wants to accomplish. The religious dignitaries at this feast had one goal.
Jesus remained out of sight until the middle of this feast. When he began to teach, immediately people are amazed.
“How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
Jesus replied that his teaching came from his father. And then he confronted them by asking, “Why are you trying to kill me?”
The arguments and fights escalated and some thought was even given to arresting him.
Finally on the last day of the feast, Jesus boldly proclaimed “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
You and I are so privileged to be alive in the age of the Holy Spirit. We have had the pleasure of living our lives in the light of Jesus’ promise in John 7. So much of the value of our faith rests in remembering what God has given us.
The role of Jesus, the Incarnate God, was not an easy role. However, no amount of resistance kept Him from announcing a better day for His people and for all of us. Just as the Jews got sidetracked at the feast we sometimes do the same and the church turns inward rather than outward.
After many years of knowing Christ and serving the people of God, I must insist on keeping the Holy Spirit alive in me and in the church.