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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles – John 7

       Jesus has been traveling and ministering in Galilee prior to attending the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. There is a deepening hostility building toward Jesus by the Jewish religious leadership in Jerusalem. Jesus who is all-knowing is well aware of this, so He tells His disciples to go ahead to Jerusalem for the Feast. Jesus’ “time had not yet come.” Jesus must wait for the Father’s appointed time. He will not go until the Father tells Him to go.
        When God tells Jesus to go to the Feast, Jesus left Galilee where He received some acceptance and returned to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. He is basically walking into enemy territory sadly.
        The 7 feasts were given by the Lord to commemorate the historical events that the Lord did on behalf of His people. They were to remind them of these things and to give the Lord special worship for caring for, blessing and protecting them. What the Lord did for Israel in the “natural,” He will do spiritually through Jesus. In the Feast of Tabernacles, living in booths would remind the Israelites of their wilderness journey in route to the land God promised them. In the spiritual through Jesus, we are reminded that the booth of our flesh is temporary, and that we are to seek spiritual life through the water of His Anointed Word. The water pouring ceremony would remind the Israelites of the water that God provided from a rock during their wilderness journey. In the spiritual, it reminds followers of Christ who is the Rock of God who poured out the spiritual Living Water of the Holy Spirit. And the lamp-lighting ceremony would remind them of the light that guided them in the darkness in the wilderness journey and that lit the Holy Place in the tabernacle. In the spiritual, it reminds believers in Christ that Jesus poured out the water of the Holy Spirit upon all who believe and is the Eternal Light of the world and the Heavenly Temple.
The Feast of Tabernacles will be the backdrop of Jesus’ appearance and teaching in John 7, just as the Feast of Passover was the backdrop for His teachings in John 5 and 6. Why? Jesus is showing the Jewish leadership that He is the Eternal Passover Feast and the Eternal Feast of Tabernacles. He will use these Feasts to reveal that they and the whole Older Testament are a revelation of Him – the promised One to come. Jesus will fulfill all of the Feasts completing them, and they will live on eternally in Him. Nothing can be eternal except in Christ because He is Eternal.
The first of the seven feasts is Passover which is in the spring. The last  is the Feast of Tabernacles which is in the fall. Jesus said, “I am the First and the Last.” Jesus had to fulfill the Feast of Passover as the Lamb of God, the Bread of Heaven and the giver of the Living Water before He could fulfill the Harvest Feast of Tabernacles. This Feast takes place after the ingathering of the fall harvest. At the Feast of Tabernacles there was rejoicing and thankfulness for God’s harvest blessings. Both of these feasts were a shadow of what was to come – Jesus who is the fullness of the Godhead in the flesh who would become all that the Law required fulfilling it. There will be another ingathering when Jesus sends the angels to harvest the earth of those who have received and believed in Him.
God dwelt in the form of the shekinah glory in the tabernacle and temple in the Older Testament, but in Christ the Father and the Holy Spirit dwell in fullness eternally. In the Older Testament, there were times when God’s shekinah glory left the temple because of sin and disobedience, but in Christ, God will never leave or forsake us. Jesus became the Passover Lamb through His shed blood on the cross removing the barrier of sin making it possible for the Godhead to dwell in the hearts of mankind. In Christ, God will dwell in the hearts of all who believe in His Son – His sent One -- whether Jew or Gentile. Jesus is the Supreme Apostle which means “sent One.”
        Jesus went to Jerusalem in secret and stayed out of the limelight until His Father in heaven told Him to speak publicly. Jesus could get lost in the crowd because all Jews were to come to Jerusalem for the Feast so the city and the temple area were very crowded. Even so, the Jews were looking for Him. They asked His disciples, “Where is that man?”v11 Some said that He was a “good man,” but others called Him a “deceiver.” vv12-13 There were others who would say nothing in public about Him in fear of the Jews. v15
          Halfway through the Feast which lasts 7 days, Jesus appeared in the temple courts teaching truth. Jesus waited 3 ½ days before revealing Himself. Jesus ministered for 3 ½ years and then was crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended revealing the He is the Messiah of God. Perhaps this is the reason for the timing of God.
       The Jews asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?” Jesus understood the scriptures more fully than all of the other teachers. He saw things that they could not see because He is God and was with God and the Holy Spirit in the spiritual realm in the beginning before anything was created. The crowd was amazed at His teaching since they knew He had not been taught by the master rabbis. Because Jesus was self-taught, they considered Him unqualified to teach or interpret the Law. They disputed His teachings. This attitude is in play in today’s world also. One must have a degree or doctorate in order to be considered prepared to teach or lead God’s people. Our greatest teachers are Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Our greatest responsibility is to be students of the Word and rightly-divide it. We are to also share what the Godhead has taught us with others. Jesus and the Holy Spirit will open our eyes to truth if we hunger and thirst for it. “Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see Jesus.”

                           (next week:  Jesus’ response)     

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