Have you found new insights into Jesus’ life as you’ve read through the Gospels this time? I sure have! I never really stopped to think about how many times Jesus was threatened with death. I also notice for the first time how disbelieving Jesus’ family was.
This week opened with the celebration of the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles), a festival that looked back to Israel’s journey through the wilderness, and looked forward to the kingdom of the Messiah. This festival occurs just after the Feast of Trumpets each year.
There wasn’t much festivity in Jesus’ camp. This feast marked the beginning of the hostility toward His ministry. Suddenly it seemed that everyone wanted to kill Jesus! He knew that His time on earth was short, and He knew exactly when He would die. Jesus’ family still encouraged Him to go with them to Judea to celebrate, even though He said it was impossible because of the plot to kill Him. Can you imagine Jesus’ half-brothers taunting Him? They did not believe that He was the Messiah (they became followers after His resurrection [Acts 1:14]). But Jesus compassionately explained that while they could celebrate the feast in Judea, He could not because it wasn’t His time – and it wasn’t a part of God’s plan.
Jesus came to the festival anyway and spoke at the Temple. He amazed the scholars of the day because of His deep knowledge of Scripture. No one could understand how an untrained carpenter and itinerant preacher could know the Scripture so well. He told them why: He WAS the Messiah prophesied in Scripture. Many believed Him, but there were also many who wanted Him dead.
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:37-38 (KJV)
Some historical background might make this passage more meaningful. There was a tradition that during the Feast of Tabernacles, a golden container was filled with water from the pool of Siolam. It was ceremonially carried to the Water Gate on the south side of the temple court. A trumpet sounded three times and the people all recited…
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. Isaiah 12:3 (KJV)
The water was offered in sacrifice to God, symbolizing a blessing of adequate water for the crops. Jesus used this to make a very public invitation for people to accept Him as the living water of salvation. He was saying that He was the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. It’s easy to understand why people thought Him blasphemous.
During Jesus’ life, He performed many recorded miracles. Many happened on the Sabbath, which caused much grief to the lawmakers of the day. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, and reprimanded His accusers, telling them that they were more concerned with manmade law than with the commands of God. His miracles have left us with some great spiritual truths,
As He healed the blind, we are reminded that sin renders us spiritually blind, and salvation restores our spiritual sight.
As He healed the leper, we see that sin is spiritually incurable. Salvation provides a cure.
As He healed many paralyzed men, we see that sin renders us spiritually incapable, but salvation restores our spiritual abilities.
As He healed those possessed by demons, we are reminded that sin renders us unholy, but salvation declares that we are holy in the sight of God.
As He healed people who had succumbed to death, we are reminded that sin renders us dead in trespass and sin. We are resurrected to a new life in Christ when we accept His free gift of salvation.
(From The MacArthur New Testament Commentary).
I leave you today with a Scripture we’ve heard so often. May God bless you as you continue reading His wonderful Word. See you tomorrow!
If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:31-32 (ESV)