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Monday, March 27, 2017

Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles – John 7 – Part 3

Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles – John 7 – Part 3

          Last week, Jesus questioned the religious leaders on why they were trying to kill Him. In an effort to seem innocent, they say to Jesus, “Who is trying to kill you?” John 7:20 Instead of answering their question, Jesus begins teaching again. Jesus didn’t come to condemn and accuse. He came to save.
            Jesus says, “I did one miracle, and you are all astonished. Yet because Moses gave you circumcision (although actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? John 7:21-23
            The miracle Jesus is referring to is His healing of the invalid man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath in John 5:12-15  This angered the Jewish leadership because no work was to be done on the Sabbath. Jesus did acts of mercy and love on the Sabbath. Jesus will try to show this to the religious leadership. Jesus came to the Jew first. His and the Father’s love for His people are always uppermost in the heart of God toward mankind who are created in the image and likeness of the Godhead whether Jew or Gentile.
            In an effort to teach the Jewish leadership the lack of mercy and compassion in their attitude, Jesus brings up circumcision which according to the Law must be done on the 8th day after birth even if the 8th day falls on the Sabbath. In other words, the leadership was willing to break the Sabbath with circumcision, but were upset because Jesus healed a whole man!

Abraham and Circumcision – Genesis 17

Circumcision didn’t begin in the Law given to Moses. God began this requirement with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob long before the Law existed. Abraham believed God’s instruction to him by faith, not by Law. When Abraham was 99 years of age, He established a covenant with Abraham. God had nurtured and strengthened Abraham though his journey with God. God has been teaching and transforming Abraham’s character. Abraham has learned through his successes and mistakes. God sees that Abraham is a “new man” ready for a covenant promise from God. God tells Abraham to “walk before Me and be blameless.” Genesis 17:1 In other words, “walk wholeheartedly before Me.” Jesus put it this way, “be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:38 If God can change Abram’s heart and help him walk in His holy ways, He can do it for everyone.
God did His part. He wants Abraham to do his. God gave Abraham the instruction to circumcise himself and every male in his household including his male servants and laborers. In essence God is telling Abraham to cut His covenant in his flesh and that of his household. Every male must shed blood and be in covenant with God. Circumcision was the sign that a person was entering into covenant with God. “My Covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.” Genesis 17:11
Circumcision is the cutting away of the flesh around the organ that brings life. Without the seed of man, there is no physical life. The same is true in the spiritual. Without the Seed of God/Man, there is no spiritual life! The Godhead brings circumcision inward through Christ, the Word and the Holy Spirit by cutting away our fleshly ways through circumcision of the heart. This is the work of the complete Godhead. God wills a thing. The Word/Jesus voices and does God’s will, and the Holy Spirit brings God’s will and word to fruition through His mighty power. A changed heart shows God that we have allowed His transforming power to make us into “new creations.” Instead of walking in fleshly ways, we walk in the ways and will of God.
Circumcision marked Abraham’s spiritual fatherhood and God’s everlasting covenant. Seed that passes through Abraham’s circumcised organ will be spiritual seed. Isaac was given life by passing through Abraham’s circumcised organ indicating Abraham's covenant with God. Isaac was the spiritual seed of Abraham who would become Abraham’s heir. Ishmael was the fleshly seed of Abram because he was the result of a fleshly decision of Sarai and Abram before they were in covenant with God.
Those who allow God to circumcise their fleshly ways should also produce spiritual seed. There is no spiritual life in our fleshly, sinful ways. It is in allowing the Godhead to circumcise our fleshly ways that sets us free from the death of sin. As our fleshly ways decrease, the ways and heart of Jesus increases in us. Circumcision set Abraham and his household apart for God, as our transformation through Jesus and the Holy Spirit sets us apart for God. 

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