Here is the sermon for Wednesday evening, May 7th 2008.
JOHN PART 31
THE LAST DAY OF THE FEAST
In tonight’s study we will see that Jesus makes Messianic claims about Himself on the last day of the feast of booths, a further debate from the crowd, and the attitude of the Pharisee’s concerning both Jesus and the crowd.
We have seen the great debates that have popped up at this festival of booths concerning Jesus. Even to the point that the Pharisee’s and chief priests sent the temple police to have Jesus arrested.
Like I said, these debates concerning Jesus have been going on for centuries now. Not only the general public, but they have also crept into churches, bible colleges, seminaries, amongst other faith institutions as well.
I believe these modern debates concerning Jesus really go much deeper and greater than past debates. I believe they are a sign of the times. I personally believe we are living in the last of the last days, as it were. Notice what Paul says will happen during those days in his writings to Timothy.
1 Timothy 4:1 ESV – Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons…
Now the chapter in 1 Timothy goes on to explain what Paul was talking about. But I also want to suggest that these debates concerning the personhood of Jesus Christ is also a sign of the latter days. I personally believe from Scripture it is the sign of the spirit of the Anti-Christ being at work, not only in the world, but in institutions of faith as well.
1 John 2:22 ESV – Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 4:1-3 ESV 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
Let’s look into our text tonight and see what we can learn from God’s Holy Word.
1. Jesus great offer.
John 7:37-39 ESV – On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. (38) Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” (39) Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
A. This great offer took place on the last day of the feast of booths, which was called the great day.
The reason it was called the great day, is that is a shortened version of the official name – Day of the Great Hosanna. This was a day that joyful music and praise was given, and people would take palm and willow branches and wave them to the Lord as the priest would go to the fountain of Siloam, and fill a picture full of water. He would then enter the Temple courts, with all this joyful music, singing, and shouting. He would hold up the pitcher for the crowd to see, and then empty the pitcher of water onto the ground while saying, “With joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation.” This was a remembrance of God providing water from the rock during the Israelites desert journey.
B. Before we get to the words of Jesus, it is interesting what Paul has to say concerning the water from the rock.
I think if we look at it, it will put us in the right frame of mind to see what Jesus was truly saying.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 ESV – 1 For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
C. Jesus stands up during this joyful preceding, and makes the offer only He can make (vv. 37b-38).
Jesus calls out to the thirsty, that they can come to Him and drink. Just like Moses striking the rock and water flowing, Jesus would be struck, and the life-giving water – the Holy Spirit – would flow out to all those who are thirsty for new life. I believe that the thirsty are the sinners who recognize that they are just that, sinners. They have tried everything, but nothing can remove the stain, the guilt of sin, nothing except Jesus Christ. That water is taken in only one way – by believing in Him. In Greek, this word, “believe,” means, “To commit too, to commit one’s trust, to trust, to put your complete trust in, to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to be believed in, to place total confidence in. It is used in the New Testament of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner or higher prerogative and law of soul.” So this belief is more than just a saying, or a state of mind, but it is active, putting your complete trust in Jesus to save, and Him alone, without any other methods of being saved. Jesus said that rivers of living water would flow out of those who believe in Him. In Greek, “living water,” meant, “a constant flowing stream.” I personally believe this living water – the Holy Spirit flows out from Jesus into us, and then out into those around us. It can’t be contained, or dammed up inside of us, it must flow out.
D. This living water is the Holy Spirit Himself (v. 39).
This is a truth that religion tries to argue. But passages like this bear this truth out. All who believe in Jesus, or put their complete trust in Him to save them totally, will receive the Holy Spirit. And while I do believe in different fillings and giftings of the Holy Spirit, you cannot be a Christian and not have the Holy Spirit flowing through you.
2. Division amongst the people over Jesus.
John 7:40-44 ESV – When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” (41) Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? (42) Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” (43) So there was a division among the people over him. (44) Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
A. Let’s look at the divisions.
B. Some thought He was the Prophet (v. 40).
This could mean either they thought that He was the Prophet that Moses spoke about (Deuteronomy 18:15); or maybe He was the Prophet Elijah that would come to prepare the way for the Messiah. In either case, those who believed this believed He was a man of God, but not the Messiah, the Son of God.
C. Some thought He was the Messiah (v. 41a).
I’m sure they came to this belief by the sayings Jesus said, the signs Jesus performed, and more importantly, those who came this belief were those who were true worshippers of God. They were seeking His ways, His truth, they had humbled their lives before Him. And because of this, they came to believe the reality of who Jesus is.
D. Some thought He wasn’t the Messiah because He came from Galilee (vv. 41b-42).
These were using Scripture at least, but they didn’t know evidently that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, so yes He did fulfill that Messianic promise. Plus, men of God just don’t come from Galilee, according to them.
E. Others wanted to have Him arrested (v.44).
3. The discussion of the Pharisees and Chief Priests.
John 7:45-53 ESV – The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” (46) The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (47) The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? (48) Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? (49) But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” (50) Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, (51) “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” (52) They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” (53) [[They went each to his own house…
A. The Pharisees and Chief Priests sent the temple police (officers) to arrest Jesus.
But they came back empty handed (v.45). These Temple police were amazed at the teachings of Jesus (v. 46).
B. The Pharisee’s accuse the Temple police of being deceived by Jesus (v. 47).
C. Their evidence in the fact that they are deceived is the arrogant belief that Jesus isn’t telling the truth because they don’t believe in Him (v. 48).
They are being very subjective in their arguments. It is called circular reasoning. We don’t believe, so therefore, it isn’t true. To be honest the reason they didn’t believe in Him, is not because they are seekers of truth and have studied the Scriptures, but it is the fact that they didn’t want to believe in Him. There are many in our world today you can show them all the evidence from Scripture, but they will still refuse to believe, for only one reason, because they don’t want to believe.
D. They put a curse on the people (v. 49).
I like the way the NET translates the word, “crowd.” They translate it, “rabble.” They were calling the crowd ignorant, uninformed and accursed. In our days and times, people think the same things of Christ-followers, we are ignorant people who would believe anything.
E. One of the Pharisee’s rises up to the defense of both the crowd and Jesus (vv. 50-51).
You see, God did have a Christ-follower in their ranks, and that was Nicodemus. He is the one who approached Jesus by night in Chapter 3. Nicodemus’s argument is not circular like theirs are, His is based on Scripture, the law itself. He appeals to Scripture here (v. 51). This is still and will always be the best way to debate someone concerning the validity of Christ. Appeal to Scripture. The question may be asked, “What if they don’t believe in Scripture.” My answer would be, “That is not my problem, Scripture is where the truth of God lies concerning Christ Jesus, so that would be my only appeal.” I would pray and trust the Lord to reveal the truth of the Scriptures concerning Jesus to them.
F. The Pharisee’s turn and attack Nicodemus and twist Scripture (v. 52).
This statement of Nicodemus being from Galilee was said in contempt. They knew he wasn’t from Galilee, but they used it to bring a personal attack. In defending the truth, personal attacks will often come, and sometimes it will come in the form of Scripture twisting. Don’t retaliate, be kind and continue to speak the truth of God’s Word in context.
The truth that salvation is in none other than Jesus Christ will always bring division. It will divide us between the non-believers, the false believers, and the religious. We must continue to share this truth, praying for God the Father to draw them and enable them to believe the truth of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Don’t follow the tactics of this world, and don’t argue in circles either. Let Scripture be your guide, and completely trust Christ.