Feast of Tabernacles

 (1) Feast of Tabernacles
Jerusalem
John 7:2, 11-52

A storm is gathering around the person of Christ.  In six months, that storm will break in all its fury upon Jesus on the Cross.  Friends, that storm is still going on.  There is more difference of opinion about Him than any other person who has ever lived.  They cuss at Him and say the worst things about Him that has ever been said.  He is a very controversial figure today.  Although the storm is gathering, Jesus chose this time to abandon His method of staying away, and He went up to Jerusalem, because it was the Feast of Tabernacles.

(John 7:2) Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.

Jesus went to this feast, but He was in constant danger from the religious leaders who had a plan to kill Him.

(John 7:11-13) Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?  And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.  Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.

The Jews who were looking for Him were the religious rulers—they were looking for Him and expecting Him because the Law required that He come to the feast.  The people were divided in their opinion of Christ.  Some thought He was a good man (moral, honest); while others thought He was a deceiver (interested only in leading people astray). Because the Jewish hierarchy had not stated their opinion, the people feared expulsion from the synagogue if their open opinion conflicted with the Sanhedrin.  There was a lot of discussion concerning Jesus, but it was all done secretly, because anyone would be attacked for making any statement that would be inclined in His favor and they would be in danger of arrest. 

(John 7:14) Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.

Halfway through the feast, Christ went to the Temple and began to teach.  The Feast of Tabernacles is in the calendar of God and sets before us the coming of Christ in His return to earth and the events and stages which lead up to that.  When Jesus appeared in the temple it was quite sudden.  He will also appear suddenly when He returns for we read in Malachi, “…and the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple…” (Malachi 3:1).  This will be fulfilled in His return to earth.  The Jews were outraged at His boldness and objected to His teaching.  

(John 7:15) And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?

I hope you noticed how often we find Jesus teaching.  I believe that shows the priority He placed on the Word of God.  The Jews (those would be the religious leaders) were astonished because He had no formal training in the rabbinical schools.  They marveled that He could speak as He did.  Even His enemies were forced to admit, “Never man spake like this man” (v. 46).  Christ had a higher authority for His teaching than Jewish schools; His authority was God the Father.

(John 7:16)  Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

Rejecting the message of Jesus is the same as rejecting the message of God.  He had insisted in the past that to reject Him was to reject God.  Don’t ever tell me He didn’t make himself equal with God.  You may reject that He is, but you can never say that the Bible does not declare Him to be equal with God.

(John 7:17)  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

“If anyone is willing to do His will” is another translation of this.  The Old Testament invites, “O taste and see that the Lord is good…” (Ps. 34:8).  There’s an old adage that says, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating of it.”  Jesus invites you; come and make a laboratory test.  “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.”  There must be an attitude of love for the Word of God.  Someone has said that human knowledge must be known to be loved, but divine knowledge must be loved to be understood.  Here we have the steps: knowledge, love, obedience. 

It’s so easy to sit on the sidelines and be a Monday morning quarterback.  We love to tell others how it should have been done or to speak our mind without really knowing.  Jesus says, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”  That is the wonder of the Word of God.  Friends, if you are willing, God will make it real to you.  The Holy Spirit will confirm it to you.

(John 7:18)  He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

The question is whether men want to hear God.  If they do, then God will speak to them in His Word.  Then they will accept Jesus Christ who came to speak for the Father.  Unfortunately, most people are often more interested in a man who is seeking his own glory.  That’s why movie stars and athletes are so popular today.  If Jesus Christ had been trying to found a new cult, these men would have listened.  But Jesus was not interested in trying to glorify Himself; rather, He was giving all the glory to the Father, and so, “… the natural man receveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).  Therefore, some people read the Bible and get nothing out of it.    

(John 7:19)  Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?

Here is the hypocrisy of the legalist, the person who says the Sermon on the Mount is his religion or the person who says he lives by the Ten Commandments.  The Lord Jesus says, “None of you keep the law.”  The Law is a mirror to let us see that we are all lost sinners.  The Law is important—don’t misunderstand me—you don’t kick the Law out the door.  It expresses the will of God.  But the purpose of the Law is to show us that we are sinners and that we need a Savior.  The Law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. 

(John 7:20-21) The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?  Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.

These Jews wanted to break the sixth commandment by killing Christ. The people are unaware that the leaders have plotted to kill Christ, and they assume that He is insane, and tell Him, “Thou hast a devil.”  Jesus replied that He had only done one work.  He was referring to the healing of the impotent man on the Sabbath at the pool of Bethesda. That is what had aroused all this antagonism.

(John 7:22-24) Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.  If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Circumcision is a rite which goes back to Abraham and is older than the Mosaic Law.  He is showing them their own inconsistency in their practice.  In trying to keep the Law, they broke the Law.  If a child was eight days old on the Sabbath Day, they would break the Sabbath Law and circumcise the child.  If that work of ceremonial cleansing could be performed on the Sabbath, then a work of complete healing should also be performed.

They don’t have a reply to this, so they say nothing.  Then Jesus warns them against making superficial judgments.  That is still a difficulty with most of us today.  We make superficial judgments because we don’t have all the facts.

(John 7:25-27) Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?  But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him.  Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?  Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.

The people who had come from the country didn’t suspect that there was a plot to kill Jesus, but the residents of Jerusalem knew about the plot, and they wondered why Jesus was walking around out in the open.  They talked among themselves: “Is not this he whom they seek to kill? Why do they not do it then? Who hinders them? They say that they have a mind to get him out of the way, and yet, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing to him; do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ.”  Since they did nothing to Him, the people began to think that their rulers believed him to be the Christ.  However, the idea was quickly dismissed since they believed that the Messiah would appear suddenly, but everyone knew that Jesus came from Nazareth. The true Messiah, according to the leaders, would come from Bethlehem. They even knew His mother. 

All of this talk and speculation irritated the rulers, and so it was strange that they did not seize Christ.  But, His hour was not yet come; and God can tie men’s hands even though He doesn’t change their hearts.

(John 7:28-29) Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.  But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.

He must have raised His voice and talked louder than when He was teaching.  The priests and those that were prejudiced against Him did not come close enough to hear His preaching, and therefore He had to speak louder than ordinary for them to hear.  By His answer He conceded that they might know some things about Him: "You both know me, and you know whence I am. You know I am of your own nation, and one of yourselves.’’ They thought they knew Him, that He was the carpenter’s son, and that He lived in Nazareth, but they were mistaken.   He was more than a man, and He had been sent there by His Father. The Father had promised to send the Messiah, and, although the Jews had forfeited the promise, yet he had made the promise, and so He did it.  But, the Jews did not accept Him as the true Messiah.

(John 7:30)  Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

They wanted to arrest Him, because He claimed to be God, and because many believed on Him on the basis of His miracles.  It’s interesting that even though they were anxious to take Jesus, they couldn’t touch Him until His hour had come, and all the hatred and plots of the Jews could not harm Him.

(John 7:31-34) And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?  The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.  Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.  Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.

Our Lord answered the Pharisees that they would take Him at the proper time—not until then.  Then He tells them He will leave them.  He is speaking of His resurrection and ascension. The Jewish nation would then seek Him but their search would be in vain. Christ indicates that in a little while (about six months or the time between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Passover) He would return to the Father. They would never be able to touch Him again.  Have you ever noticed that after His death upon the Cross, none but loving hands touched Him?  None but loving eyes saw Him.

Jesus was speaking to nominal disciples, those who were not willing to invest their lives in a personal commitment to Him. Jesus referred to His death, telling them that He would go to the Father and they would not be able to find Him. These Jews had put their trust in belonging to the family of Abraham. They had not put their trust in God’s plan of salvation through Jesus. Jesus told them, in effect, that when they did come to an understanding of God and the Good News and wanted to place their faith in Him, it would then be too late.  They could not go to the Father, because in rejecting Him they had rejected the Father

(John 7:35-36) Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?  What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?

I think this is ridicule.  They didn’t think that Jesus could hide from them. 

We come now to the last day of the feast, and it was on that day they poured out the double portion of the water in the temple.  I think He could have been standing ankle deep in water when He said these words.  They were celebrating the fact that God had given them water from the rock during the long trek of Israel through the wilderness.  Paul tells us that the rock was Christ.  Listen as I read what he said in 1 Corinthians 10:4, “And did all drink that same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”  He is the One who gives the real water, the Water of Life.

Who is the “dispersed” mentioned in verse 35?  God had given the Jews the land of Palestine, the Promised Land, for an inheritance. The Dispersion, which took place over several centuries, was responsible for forcing the Jews out of Palestine. This scattering of the Jews throughout the world was due to the Assyrians’ capture of Israel in 722 B.C., the capture of Judah by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., and other wars fought in Palestine by the Romans and Greeks. Some simply came upon hard times and immigrated to other places to find work and means to support their families. In Jesus’ time, as many Jews lived outside of Palestine as lived in the Land.

(John 7:37) 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.

The last day is the seventh or eighth day of the feast. During the feast, a priest would fill a golden pitcher with water from the pool of Siloam and carry it to the altar at the Temple where he would pour it through a funnel leading to the base of the altar. Probably, after this ceremony, Christ invited those who thirsted to come to Him and drink. The emptiness of Judaism is emphasized in that it fails to satisfy.

You can see how much Jesus loved these people, for we are told here that Jesus stood and cried.”  They were upon His heart and so He would plead with them, because it would be six more months before the next feast, and the next opportunity He would have to speak to them.

This is free will friends.  “If any man.”  That means you.  God is offering a gift to you.  Also here is election: “If any man thirst.”  The question is, “are you thirsty?”  Have you perhaps been drinking at the mud holes of the world, and have you been finding that they are not satisfying?  “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”  You can come to Him and receive Him as your Savior.

(John 7:38-39) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Holy Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.  The Holy Spirit did not come until the Day of Pentecost.  Then He came to indwell believers and to form them into one body.  The coming of the Holy Spirit on that day assures us that Jesus had arrived back at the Father’s throne.

This indwelling blessing would be available through the Holy Spirit after Christ was glorified (ascended into Heaven). The Spirit in the Old Testament came upon people, but Christ promised that the Spirit would come to live in people.

(John 7:40) Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
 
 Some of the people believed and turned to Him.  They drank and were satisfied.

(John 7:41) Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?

We have the same thing today.  Some believe, and some do not believe.  Some thought He was the Messiah. Others said He could not be the Messiah because the Messiah was predicted to come from Bethlehem. They were correct about this, but they were incorrect in that they assumed Christ was born in Galilee. Consequently, their conclusion that Christ was not the Messiah was also wrong.

(John 7:42-43) Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?  So there was a division among the people because of him.

 He was of the seed of David and out of the town of Bethlehem.  That was where He first touched down on this earth.  It was “splashdown” for Him in that miserable little stable in that miserable little town.  It’s not like the pretty pictures you see on Christmas cards.  He began in Bethlehem, but He didn’t stay there for His earthly ministry.  If these people had really wanted to know, they could have learned that His birth took place in Bethlehem and that He did fulfill the prophesies.   He is the One who was giving them the invitation to come and drink, but they put up this objection.  There will always be a division among the people over who He is until He comes to reign.  

(John 7:44) And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.

 They couldn’t.  His hour was not yet come. 

(John 7:45-46) Then came the officers to the chief priest and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?  The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.

The group that the Pharisees sent to arrest Christ returned without Him.  They were overwhelmed by the message and manner of Christ and were powerless to apprehend Him.  What a testimony these men gave, “Never man spake like this man.”  He was the great teacher, but it was not by His teaching that we are saved.  He saves us by His death and resurrection. 

(John 7:47-52) Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?  Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?  But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.  Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)  Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?  They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee?  Search and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

This is the Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night.  I think that Nicodemus trusted the Lord that night.  He is a Pharisee, and he defends Jesus.  They ridicule Him with a joke, “Art thou also of Galilee?”  That was a disgrace to them.  It was like city folk making fun of country folk.  It is interesting to note that they did know the facts of the Scripture: “Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.”  In the true sense He hadn’t come out of Galilee, nor had He come out of Bethlehem.  He had come out of glory.  “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given” (Isaiah 9:6)—The Son came out of heaven.

 

Any questions or comments are welcomed

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http://harmonyofthegospels.yolasite.com (Life of Christ)

http://teachingsermonsforpastorsandlaymen.yolasite.com (sermons)

http://theepistlesofpaul.yolasite.com (Titus and Jude)

http://paulsepistletotheromans.yolasite.com (Romans)

http://theperiodofthejudges.yolasite.com (Judges)

Please review them and use them as the Lord leads you.

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