In John 7:21-23 the Bible says, "Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and you all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto circumcision; (not because itís of Moses, but of the fathers;) and you 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 you angry at me, because I have made a man every bit whole on the sabbath day?"
Jesus mentioned circumcision because it was sometimes performed on the Sabbath day, and of course one of the great criticisms that Jesus received was the fact that He sometimes performed miracles on the Sabbath day, and He was accused of breaking the Sabbath day because of it. Moses taught the people about circumcision, but circumcision came even before Moses. As Jesus said here, circumcision came from the fathers hundreds of years before Moses. The first time that circumcision is mentioned in the Bible is concerning Abraham. In Genesis Chapter 17, God made great promises to Abraham because of the faith of Abraham and the sign of the covenant between God and Abraham was circumcision. Circumcision was the cutting away of the foreskin of the males, and was symbolic of the circumcision of the heart that must take place for a person to be rightly related to God. First the promises of God are applied to you because of your faith, and then the sign that this has happened to you is that you cut away the evil: you stop doing things that you ought not do.
In John 7:24 Jesus said, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." The mistake of these people was that they had made too hasty of a judgment. They made a decision about a certain issue before they had done enough investigation. Thatís a sure way to get into trouble. These people had made certain assumptions about how to apply the Sabbath to their everyday lives. It turns out that they were too restrictive. It also turns out that they were hypocrites. In their hearts they wanted to see Jesus dead. They were guilty of murder in their hearts even before they committed murder. Thoughts always precede actions. They were guilty of violating the clear teaching of the law, which says, "Thou shalt not kill." But they did not seem to be so offended about their own murderous intentions. In regards to Jesus they were quick to condemn as being a violator of the law, when all that He did was to heal on the Sabbath: He saved life, and they went about to destroy life. If only they had been able to make a righteous judgment of the situation, they would have saved themselves from hell, and kept themselves from being a part of one of the great injustices ever committed by a group of humans: that of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. If you would like to reduce the mistakes that you make in your life, then learn to not judge after the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Donít make hasty decisions, but only make decisions after a careful and fair analysis. What appears to be the situation at first glance, may ultimately prove to not be the situation at all.
John 7:25-30 says, "Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, he speaks boldly, and they say nothing to him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man from where he is: but when Christ comes, no man will know from where he is. Then cried Jesus in the temple as He taught, saying, You both know me and you know from where I am: and I am not come of myself, but He that sent me is true, whom you know not. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He has sent me. Then they sought to take Him: but no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come."
They wanted to kill Jesus because Jesus said that He was sent by the Father. Often those who do not serve God will have an underlying animosity towards those who do. There is a constant conflict between faith and unbelief. But we who believe do not regard them as our enemies: we only hope that many of them will become believers before itís too late. We have nothing to fear because the Bible says that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. We certainly do not need to fear any harm coming our way from the part of the unbelievers. God will use them, just as He uses all things, to accomplish His will for us. Thatís why they could not kill Jesus, even when they were determined to do so: because it was not yet His time to die. "Itís appointed unto men once to die..." And until that time comes, nothing and no one can harm you. And the same is true about those whom you care about. Nothing untimely is going to happen to any of them. Donít worry. The great, eternal God gives life, and He takes it back when He determines that itís the right time. And in the case of Jesus, it wasnít the right time at the Feast of the Tabernacles.
John 7:31-36 says, "And many of the people believed on Him, and said, When Christ comes, will he do more miracles than these which this man has 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. You shall seek me and shall not find me: and where I am there you cannot come. Then said the Jews among themselves, Where 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, You shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, there you cannot come?"
Itís interesting to note that the Pharisees and chief priests sent offers to arrest Jesus here at the Feast of Tabernacles, several months before Jesus was finally arrested. Another evidence of the fact that God is really in control, no matter what are the devices of man. Nothing happens unless God permits it. Many are the plans and intentions of man, but itís the will of God that ultimately unfolds. In this case, even though they wanted to arrest Jesus, they could not. They were paralyzed by the answer that Jesus gave them. They were so perplexed by what He said; that they forgot to try and arrest Him. He told them that He would go away, and that they would seek Him, but not be able to find Him. Of course, we know that He was talking about His return to the Father who sent Him.
Perhaps there is also a hidden meaning to the statement of Jesus when He said, "You shall seek me, and shall not find me." In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, "Seek and you shall find." Thatís the general principle. People are given a certain amount of time in which, if they seek, they shall find. They are given an opportunity, but the opportunity will not last forever. Those who do not take hold of the opportunity when it is there; shall lose their chance. The Jews during the time of Christ had a few years in which to consider the person of Christ, but then Jesus left them. In a sense the opportunity that was once given them was taken away. God said, "My spirit shall not always strive with man." Seek the Lord while He may be found and you will find Him, but put it off for too long, and you will be forever doomed.
In John 7:37-39 the Bible says, "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. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spoke He of the Holy 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 Feast of Tabernacles lasted for 8 days. It started on a Sabbath day, and it ended on a Sabbath. The greatest day of the feast was the last day. It was the culmination of 8 days of celebration and remembrance. So when the Bible says that on the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, we know that it was the Sabbath day, the last of the eight days.
A tabernacle is a tent, a temporary dwelling. The purpose of the feast of Tabernacles was for the Jewish people to remember the time when they lived in tents as they wandered in the wilderness and traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land. They were reminded of how God led them and provided for all their needs, in spite of the difficult circumstances. God made manna to fall from heaven to give them to eat, and made water to flow from a rock to give them to drink. For the eight days of the feast of Tabernacles the people had been remembering the tents, and the manna, and the water. And then Jesus stood up and cried out, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." The significance of what He said would have been very clear to them. God provided water for the children of Israel in the wilderness in order to provide for their physical needs, and now Jesus was the provision of God for the spiritual needs of the soul of mankind.
Jesus said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." The power to satisfy a thirsty soul is in Jesus. But for a soul to taste of the spiritual satisfaction that only Jesus can give; there is a requirement. Thatís why Jesus said, "If any man thirst." The light will only shine upon those who desire the light. If you do not desire God, then you will not find Him. But if you thirst, then you can come to Jesus and drink of the water of life freely.
In case you donít understand what it means to thirst and come to Jesus, He put it in another way in verse 38. He said, "He that believes on me." If you believe, then you have come to Jesus and tasted the water of life. If you do not believe, then you have not thirsted after God and have not chosen to come to Jesus. Jesus is giving an invitation, because He is not willing that any should perish. He loves all equally, He died for all equally, and He offers eternal life to all.
If you come to Jesus, youíll receive eternal life and the forgiveness of sins, and there is another great benefit in coming to Him. Jesus said, "He that believes on me, out of his inner most being shall flow rivers of living water." Itís interesting to think of the contrasting things that can come out of a human being. In talking about how humans defile themselves, Jesus said that which comes out of a human is what defiles them, and not that which goes into a human. In the book of Genesis, when it talked about the destruction of life during the time of Noah, it says that God saw that the imaginations of manís heart were only evil continually. But God has a plan to fix that which is crooked, to cleanse that which man has defiled, and to reverse the work of evil which man has done. So what God does is to put the Holy Spirit within us, and we then have the capacity to have good things come out of us instead of only evil continually.
A lot of times when people talk about the blessings of God that they have received, they will mention their health, or their financial condition, or some other good thing that has happened to them or their loved ones; but aside from having your soul saved from hell, there probably is no greater blessing that God has given you than what He has done by putting the Holy Spirit within you. By the same Spirit Jesus lived the great and holy life that He lived. By the same Spirit, we now have the Word of God, because ďholy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." In our own day and age; great things have also been done, but only by the indwelling Holy Spirit. A good example of the power of the Spirit who is within believers is to look at some of the great spiritual songs that have been written. Some of these songs we call Negro spirituals because the songs were written by blacks who had been slaves. Even though they had little or no education and were mistreated and looked down upon by large portions of society; some of the greatest spiritual songs in the English language were written by these people. How do you account for that? They believed on Jesus, and then from their innermost being came forth rivers of living water. It happened just like Jesus said that it would.
The sequence of events is very clear: you come to Jesus and believe on Him; and then you have the Holy Spirit within you, and out of your innermost being will come good things, spiritual things that Jesus called rivers of living water. Thatís why as believers, we are extremely dependent upon the Holy Spirit. We have a high moral standard, but we cannot attain it by human efforts to keep the law. We have a better law, the law of the spirit. It says in Romans Chapter 8 that "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death." It also says that; "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God."
The Apostle Paul understood the importance of the Spirit. He wrote to the Christians who lived in the city of Thessalonica and he said, "Quench not the Spirit." Be careful; donít let your own selfish will get in the way of the Spirit. God is gentle and sensitive. The Spirit is within you, to move you and to guide you and to use you; but if you resist Him or put a roadblock in His way by your own un-surrendered will, then youíll quench the Spirit.
Believers also must be careful not to grieve the Spirit. Paul wrote to the Christians who lived in Ephesus and he said, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed until the day of redemption." Never forget that the Spirit who is within you is called the "Holy" Spirit. The emphasis is on "Holy". Sin will grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Sin will reduce and suppress the working of the Spirit who is within you. One of the reasons for a Christian to pray and to plan to avoid sin, and to make decisions that will help them to avoid sin, is because we do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit. We will be weak and ineffective if we grieve the Holy Spirit.
In John Chapter 7 on the last day of the feast of Tabernacles when Jesus stood and cried out, in two sentences He gave both the essential meaning of salvation and the one important element for living the Christian life. He said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believes on me, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water."
Copyright; 2000 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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