Monthly Archives: May 2022

Sunday with John – Access

John 7
32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him[Jesus]. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. 33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “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. 40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Every day of this Festival there was a ritual water drawing that reminded people how important God’s provision of access to good water had been to their history with Him and that His provision for the survival of their ordinary daily lives still depended on that access.  The “hope” of this week was that God might choose this water offering as a means of access to the Messianic age.  The Festival water was drawn each day from the Pool of Siloam, known as the “well of salvation,” and poured into a bowl that drained onto the altar.a  “On the last and greatest day of the Festival Jesus compared Himself to that water…“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.”  That made Jesus a problem the Pharisees couldn’t ignore. Some remembered Isaiah’s promise when like water poured “…on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants [44:3]…and they were talking!  Some saw beyond the ritual of that poured water flowing through that bowl onto the altar of God for exactly what it was; Jesus was the bowl that promised access to the future Spirit of God.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus’s time of physical accessibility to them is short.  God has sent Him and He is returning to that certain and exclusive place.  That place is a destination even thirsty and curious people will not be able to find without Jesus.

What does it say about people?
What thirsty people need is a willingness to accept the water…and drink! 

Is there truth here for me?
I think Jesus could add “I am the bowl” to His identity statements.  Jesus is the “bowl” that directs the living water drawn from God’s own heart to the Holy Spirit. “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:25-27 NIV

a Water Libation Ceremony

 

Wednesday with John – More

John 7:25 Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill?
26 And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?
27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.”
28 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know.
29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.”
30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.
31 Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?” ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus speaks openly in the Temple to identify Himself. The people know about the hostility of the authorities toward Him.  Jesus’s openness in the presence of real danger to His life has caused people to wonder whether the fact that “no one laid a hand on him” is evidence that maybe “the authorities really know that this is the Christ.” Jesus is asking them to believe He is the link God has sent them to be visible proof of a relationship between themselves and the true God.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus’s identity is widely known because of the miraculous signs He has done.  Jesus now identifies Himself as having come from, and being sent by God to teach them there is more to “He who sent me…and him you do not know.”  Jesus is in mortal danger  because of that.

What does it say about people?
People have questions.
“Is not this the man whom they seek to kill?
Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?
When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

Is there truth here for me?
It’s easy to place my confidence in what I already know.  What I know is evidence I have seen what Jesus can do!  But what I already know can become a barrier that distracts me from recognizing Jesus when He shows up in unexpected places with unfamiliar truth.  The real “sign” of  faith is not how much I know but recognizing it’s His identity that’s the “more”  Jesus wants me to see.  That’s the my own personal miraculous sign!  

Sunday with John – The Eighth Day

John 7: 14 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning,[this man knows his letters] when he has never studied?” 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” 21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
The theme of the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths was expectation and restoration.  This could be the very week the Messianic Kingdom would be established!  It was an annual feast that required Jewish men to make the pilgrimage into Jerusalem. Jesus has chosen to wait until the middle of the feast to go.  He’s chosen to emphasize it’s His singular identity with God that is His authority to speak, not the size of his entourage. He’s chosen this Feast to give the people who are most conflicted about His purposes and His power a recognizable connection to the symbols of this week of ceremony.  Jesus has chosen to reveal a hard truth to people who’ve come expecting this very week they might become part of the Messianic Kingdom by telling them; “…none of you keeps the law.”

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.  Malachi 3:1 1  

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
God has given Jesus the authority to speak on His behalf.  Jesus’s presence is to affirm that His identity is the purpose of this feast.  He challenges their own purposes in attending the Feast.  “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will,” and then He challenges their response “he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” Jesus has no illusions about the intent of these people “Why do you seek to kill me?” 

What does it say about people?
The nature of the human heart is to assume the best about their own behavior; “Who is seeking to kill you?” and the worst about authority that challenges it “You have a demon!”  Wisdom from a good pastor:  “we judge ourselves by our intent, and other’s by their behavior.”  But an even wiser Pastor says “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”  [This man knows his letters]…“and in him there is no falsehood!”

Is there truth here for me?
There are parts of this ceremonial Feast that sound very familiar to me:[a]
– At the appropriate time pilgrims would wave a palm branch [part of a lulav] before the Lord in a spirit of thankfulness. [Remember Palm Sunday?]
– Water drawn every day from the pool of Siloam.  [Remember where blind eyes were restored?]  A priest spoke these words as he drew that special water out “Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”  [Remember what Jesus said about water and thirst?] Then that water was mixed together with a a drink offering of wine. The mixture of the water and wine at the altar symbolized the life and joy associated with the Holy Spirit. [Remember this wine is my blood?]
– Each afternoon there was a ceremony of “light” to symbolize two realities; the Light of all Lights to fill the Temple with the presence of God, and the Great Light who would soon come and bring light to those who were spiritually dead and dwelling in darkness. [Remember I am the Light of the world?]
– The Eighth Day —“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”  John 7:37-39.                                                                                 [Remember where all these promises are made real today?]

[a] https://israelmyglory.org/article/the-feast-of-tabernacles-in-the-days-of-jesus/

Wednesday with John – Yet

  • John 7:1 After this, Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2 Now the Jews’ feast of Tabernacles was at hand. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. 4 For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his brothers did not believe in him. 6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil. 8 Go to the feast yourselves; I am not[other ancient authorities add yet here] going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 So saying, he remained in Galilee. 10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. 11 The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” 12 And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” 13 Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him. RSV

What is the general theme of the passage?
The end is near.  Jesus is guarding His time and activity.  He’s under pressure from those that are closest to Him to be more aggressive about his ministry, probably because of mixed motives.  They want Him to be protected by recognition and they have their own doubts about why He continues to withhold Himself from that protection which seems so obvious to them.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus knows the fallacy of the Feast is the fickle heart of people having decided the public display of worship is what pleases God. 

What does it say about people?
The fickle heart of people demands evidence and then decides what that evidence is supposed to be. 

Is there truth here for me?
Three words are the truth here — After this and yet are almost all that needs to be said about this passage: “After this,” is like “moving right along” and Yet,” is like “pause to take note.”  Chapter 6 ends with “After this.”  Moving right along, Jesus spoke hard words to what was left of His disciples, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”  He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.” 

Moving right along in Chapter 7 John writes  “For even his brothers did not believe in him.”   That’s a shocking statement. The brothers knew what Jesus had done and like everyone else they believed in that!  Still they wanted Jesus to give more evidence to validate His time…and theirs!  That would certainly be evidence of a fickle heart I could recognize…deciding how Jesus should use His time and what He should do to prove Himself.  

When Jesus says “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here” was He gently chiding them because they were trying to manage His time and not making use of theirs?  Was that somehow the subtle evidence John saw of their unbelief?  After all their intimate experiences with Jesus…after what they knew to be true from their own time walking, working and watching Jesus…After this…they still wanted Jesus to do more.  

The truth for believers to ponder about unbelief being subtle,
“Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.”  

Sunday with John — Flesh and Blood

John 6
60 When many of his disciples heard it [55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.], they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”
61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?
62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)
65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 

What is the general theme of the passage?
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “flesh and blood? “Relatives and family, right?   That’s exactly what Jesus is aiming for — a family that will interact, hear, debate and accept His truth about walking through life in relationship with Him.  Jesus means to challenge all the faulty assumptions about what He has come to give them with this “hard saying.”

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus, knowing — some would “take offense at this” spoke this “hard saying.”   Jesus, knowing — “…no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” Jesus, knowing —”It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all,” was forcing them to identify themselves because Jesus knew — He was going to have to love them enough to tell them truth that would make many walk away. “(…from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him) and that even His own God-given flesh was not going to be enough to convince them in that moment that He was the true food and the true drink that would make God and their eternity inseparable.

What does it say about people?
They walked away from Jesus because the truth He spoke was not just “hard,” it was literally shocking. It was certainly a far cry from the miracles they’d hoped to receive.  The only reference they would have had to flesh and blood were the temple sacrifices and by the law, that process kept them completely separated from any personal experience. They were comfortable with that separation.

Is there truth here for me?
Have you ever balked at Jesus’s truth that’s hard to hear?  Here’s my Good News: I have and I’m here!  I was slow to give up my separation and accept that my choice had already been the Lord’s choice for my salvation; “…I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”  I’ve discovered I finally have “free will.” I am awestruck by the faith God must have had in me to give me the ability to think. It was Jesus’s faith, not mine, that I would finallly begin to understand the freedom to interact, hear, debate and accept His truth about walking through life in relationship with Him knowing separation is no longer an option.