Jesus Shows Up at the Feast of Tabernacles
SEPTEMBER 5- Nº 248 John 7:1-52
Jesus began keeping a very low profile. He knew that the leaders of Israel were planning to kill him. So, he stayed away from crowds and taught his disciples privately. But it was time for the Feast of Tabernacles (also known as The Festival of Ingathering or the Feast of Booths), which was celebrated every year in Jerusalem. This was one of the three feasts all Jewish men were required to attend (see Exodus 23:14-16). Jesus’ own brothers confronted him and encouraged him to go to Jerusalem for the Feast. They did not believe that he was who he claimed to be. As a matter of fact, they thought that he had lost his mind (see Mark 3:21). “If you want to become a public figure, you shouldn’t be doing things in private,” they challenged him. They felt that if he was going to keep acting like the Messiah, it was time for him to prove that he was! “I will go to the Feast when the time is right,” Jesus replied. So, his brothers left for Jerusalem without him. Everyone at the Feast was looking for Jesus and talking about him. Some people insisted that he was a good man. Others said, “No, he deceives the people with his teachings and his miracles.” No one wanted to say very much, though, because they did not want to get in trouble with the religious leaders. Halfway through the week of celebration, Jesus showed up in the Temple courts and began to teach. The Jewish people were amazed and asked, “How did this man learn all these things? He has never been to any of our schools!” Jesus explained that what he was teaching was not his own. It came from God who had sent him. This upset the religious leaders very much. It wasn’t long before they sent guards to seize him, but no one was able to get him because it wasn’t God’s time for him to die. Meanwhile, many people in the crowd began to put their faith in Jesus as their Messiah. They had previously heard of him or had seen his miracles, and now they were awed by his teaching. The priests performed an important ritual every year at the ceremony. According to Jewish sources, they drew water from the pool of Siloam and carried it up to the Temple in a golden urn. They blew horns and the people waved palm branches as they brought the water back to the Temple. As they circled the altar and climbed its steps, they would read Psalms 113-118. On the last day of the Feast, the most special day of the week, they would pour the water out and cry, “We are thirsty! Hosanna (which means ‘save us now’)!” It was probably just as they were finishing this important ritual that Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me will have streams of living water flowing from within him just as the Scriptures promised.” He was referring to the power of the Holy Spirit that was about to come. Imagine the uproar Jesus’ statement must have caused! He was claiming to be the One they had cried out to for so many years; the One they thirsted for; the One who could save them! Some of the people believed right then and there that he was the Messiah! Others were upset and became even more determined to kill him. The Pharisees dispatched the Temple guards to capture him, but once again, they did not arrest him. When the Pharisees angrily questioned why they had not put Jesus in prison, the guards replied, “No one ever spoke the way this man does!”
Are you thirsty? Does your heart crave for something ‘more’? Jesus wants to quench your thirst! He is the only One who can satisfy our longings. He is the Messiah!