Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 16

The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 7:25 to 7:39

John 7:25-31 NASB

“So some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill? Look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they? However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from.” Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, “You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me.” So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, “When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?”

It’s difficult to thoroughly understand the turmoil that Jesus caused for the rulers and also for the common people. The common people were aware of the promised coming Messiah but we have little comprehension of what level of understanding that they had. And the rulers of course, their authority was being challenged by Jesus Himself, not to mention, Jesus called into question what they practised and the conditions of their own hearts. One can only imagine the rumours that must have been spoken. Jesus obviously understood their confusion and He responded to it.

Notice that they knew where Jesus had come from, from a human perspective but they did not understand where He had come from, from a spiritual perspective. God the Father has sent us His Son and Jesus clarifies this time and time again. “I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me.” The rulers understood what Jesus was saying and that is why they were seeking to seize Him. Jesus was a challenge to their authority and to what they had become.

You see the statement “because His hour had not yet come“, quite often throughout the Gospels, especially when challenged by the authorities, which always give me the impression that there is a distinct timetable laid out by God, so that all that was to take place, would indeed, unfold, as God the Father, had determined it to unfold. Jesus was also aware of this “timetable” and points to it by indicating that His hour had not come quite often. That “hour” of course is the culmination of the purpose behind why Jesus was sent. To pay the price that our sins demanded from a Holy God, by the giving of His own life for us, on the cross.

It’s interesting to note that John indicates that many of the crowd believed in Jesus and the reasoning for their belief is also given, because of the miracles that Jesus performed. Unfortunately, as we know, if our faith is solely based on witnessing signs and wonders and we do not grasp that Jesus also has the words of eternal life, which Peter recognized and voiced as noted in John 6:68, that faith can quickly become fleeting.

John 7:32-39 NASB

“The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about Him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him. Therefore Jesus said, For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me. You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come. The Jews then said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find Him? He is not intending to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, is He? What is this statement that He said, ‘You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come’?” 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.

Here we note the first mention of action being taken to seize Jesus. The chief priests and the Pharisees had spoken of this before but this is the first recorded instance, in John, where they actually act on it.

I’ve learned to watch out for the word “therefore” in Scripture. Most times when we encounter the use of that particular word, there is a direct association linked to what previously happened. And, as we can see, this is applicable in this particular instance.

The rulers wanted to seize Jesus, and it wasn’t to give Him a lecture or a “stop and desist”, it was to remove Jesus, get Him out of the picture. Jesus knew exactly what their intent was and He addresses their intent.

For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me. You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come.

It’s almost like Jesus is telling them that they are going to get what they want but in doing so, some of them may have second thoughts about what has transpired. Then they might want to reconsider what they had done and want to hear Him again but it will be too late, because He will have returned to the Father and where Jesus is, they are not able to be go. And the reason for that is quite simple, Jesus Himself is the way to the Father, acknowledging who He is and what He has done (John 14:6).

Once again we see Jesus talking about a spiritual truth and those who hear what Jesus says confusing it with earthly understanding. And notice that it is the Jews who misunderstand.

Before we get into where Jesus speaks on the last day of the feast about water, it is important to note why Jesus waited until the last day of the feast. This is the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) that we are talking about, which commemorates when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and lived in tents. The last day of this feast is the most important day. On each day of the feast, the people came with palm branches and marched around the great alter. A priest took a golden pitcher filled with water from the pool of Siloam, carried it to the Temple and poured it on the alter as an offering to God. This dramatic ceremony was a memorial of the water that flowed from the rock when the Israelites travelled through the wilderness. On the last day of the feast, the people marched seven times around the alter in memory of the seven circuits around the walls of Jericho.

The number seven is usually associated with the meaning of completion in the Bible, hence marching around the alter seven times is significant, especially as it is associated with water that flowed from the rock. One could say that the seven times represents the spiritual fulfillment of the physical representation This is the rock in the Old Testament that Moses was only supposed to strike once and that rock, from which the water flows represents Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:1-4). The first time Moses was commanded by God to strike the rock and water came forth (Exodus 17:6). The second time Moses was commanded to speak to the rock (Numbers 20:8) and water would come forth, Moses didn’t speak to it, he struck it a second time. And why is this significant? Check our Hebrews 10:11-14. One sacrifice, one offering, that is why God told Moses on the second instance where they needed water, to speak to the rock, not strike it a second time.

John 7:37-39 NASB

“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.

So now we can understand why Jesus waited until the last day of the feast, to make that vital connection, with Him being the source of the water, which is a symbol of God’s Holy Spirit.

It kind of puts a whole new slant on it, doesn’t it?

More to follow.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

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