Tuesday 7 October 2014

John 7:37-38 « Now on the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water. »

Today marks the beginning of the feast of Tabernacles, a feast that lasts for seven days.  In chapter seven of John’s gospel Jesus is about half way into His three year ministry.  His brothers did not believe he was the Messiah, despite the miracles that Jesus had performed.  When the feast of Tabernacles came they tried to incite him to go to Jerusalem and declare openly who He truly was.  But Jesus went up secretly.  He began teaching in the temple.  And when the feast came to it’s conclusion Jesus made this amazing statement, « Come to me and drink. »

There are three major feasts in the Bible: Passover (pessah), Pentecost (shavuot), and Tabernacles (sukkot). God gave these three feasts to His people during the exodus from Egypt.  Passover commemorates the night when the spirit of death passed over the homes of the Hebrews; Pentecost commemorates the giving of the law; and Tabernacles commemorates the living in tents during the travel through the desert.

The Bible calls these the feasts of the Lord.  They are not the feasts of the Jews.  And whereas Christians today commemorate to some extend the first two feasts, very few Christians today understand the importance of the feast of Tabernacles.  And it is something that God wants to restore to His people.

If Passover speaks of God’s mercy in sparing us from death, and Pentecost speaks of God’s provisions to us for our walk with Him, the Tabernacles speaks of coming to God in worship.  In a word, Tabernacles is about coming.

In the days of Jesus Jews from all around the world came to Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles.  For more than a week Jews poured into the holy city and came to the temple to give offerings and worship.  As it was also a holiday, people would linger in the temple to pray, listen to various teachers or just visit with friends.

Jesus began talking to a few people; the group expanded as people were marveled by His teaching.  A crowd began to form; and in a short time Jesus found himself the center of attention in the temple.

He IS the center of attention in the heavenly temple.  He is the focus of worship.  Yet because His time had not yet come, the people crowding around Him only saw a simple man with a profound understanding of scripture.  Their eyes had not yet been opened to the spiritual reality facing them.  The Lord God, Emmanuel, was there in the physical Tabernacle, as a symbol of what would come.

Jesus understood perfectly what was going on in the heavens.  Zachariah the prophet had spoken of the day when all the nations of the world would come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord.  And so the Son of God, the living Tabernacle, cried out to all of creation, Come to Me and drinkIf you are thirsty, if you are hungry, if you are in need, then come up to My temple; come into My presence. Here on my holy hill I give Myself freely to those who come.

So on this beginning of sukkot we encourage you today to mark this day with special worship.  Go up to the mountain of the Lord and worship Him who is ALL in ALL.

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