Is Jesus the Messiah?
Is Jesus the Messiah?
Is Jesus the Messiah?
Call to Worship
Have you ever been into a television series and really enjoyed it.
Then all of a sudden there is this extremely slow paced episode that no one seems to like, but it’s important for moving the story along.
These are called expositional episodes.
And the reality is that sometimes they aren’t all that entertaining, but rather they are trying to move the plot along.
They are trying to give you the audience insight into where the show is going by showing you where the characters have been.
What events have impacted their lives in order to cause them to make the decisions they have chosen to make.
When one of these episodes relays a lot of information and kind of overwhelms the audience it is called an “info-dump”.
Here’s the thing, this mornings sermon is going to be kind of an info-dump.
It’s going to be expositional in nature and it will show us what we need to look for and glean out of the next several weeks of sermons.
So I ask that you bare with me and know that all of this is going somewhere.
And I promise, getting a hold of this info-dump is going to help us to see exactly what John is doing in the next couple of Chapters.
This morning we are going to do an overview of John 7-9.
But we will spend the next 7 weeks fleshing out the details.
In these chapters.
There is a big Question in these chapters and that question is “Is Jesus the Messiah?”
Is Jesus the Christ? Is Jesus the one that was promised to come and make things right again?
And this question comes right on the heels of Peter’s Confession found in
John 6:68-69 “68 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.””
That is the proper response to Jesus when he asks you who he is and over the next couple of weeks we are going to look at improper responses to the Question “Is Jesus the Messiah?”
1 After this, Jesus traveled in Galilee, since he did not want to travel in Judea because the Jews were trying to kill him. 2 The Jewish Festival of Shelters was near.
Festival of Tabernacles
Festival of Tabernacles
So the setting and events surrounding John 7-9 is super important to understand the claims that Jesus makes about himself.
We don’t celebrate these feasts and so to us they don’t seem that important, but to the Jewish People living before, during, and after Jesus’ time these feasts and festivals mean a great deal.
There are 3 great Jewish Festivals that all Jewish Males were required to attend.
The Festivals are Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles (Shelters/Booths).
John’s Gospel has already touched on 2 Passover feasts.
And Pentecost will be covered in Acts 2, but here we learn of Jesus going to the Festival of Shelters/Tabernacles/Booths.
The Festival of the Tabernacles took place on the Jewish calendar in the Month of Tishri.
This corresponds to our months of September and October.
The Month of Tishri begins with the Feast of Trumpets calling the Jewish People to Repentance and called them to assemble.
The Festival of Trumpets also dedicated the new agricultural year to God for his provision.
The Festival of Trumpets would usher the Jewish people into a 10 day period of repentance and prepare them for the Day of Atonement.
The Day of Atonement was a day where the High Priest could enter into the most holy of rooms in the Temple and make an atonement for the sins of the people.
This was the only day that anyone was allowed to enter into the Holy of Holies.
The only day that someone could be in the presence of the Lord.
These actions of the Day of Atonement would symbolically lead the Jewish people into the Lord’s presence.
The Sacrifice would then cleanse them of the past years sins.
This cleansing would prepare the people to partake in what Ancient Jewish Historians would call the “Holiest of all the Feasts”
The Feast of Tabernacles.
This feast or festival would take place 5 days after the day of atonement.
And this festival is at hand.
This is where we find our selves in the Gospel of John.
The Festival/Feast of the Tabernacle/Booths/Shelters.
This Festival was a time where the Jewish people in and around the area would actually build out door shelters to live in.
These are the booths and tabernacles they would build.
This is like a form of camping for them.
Why would they do this?
To begin with God commanded it.
33 The Lord spoke to Moses: 34 “Tell the Israelites: The Festival of Shelters to the Lord begins on the fifteenth day of this seventh month and continues for seven days. 35 There is to be a sacred assembly on the first day; you are not to do any daily work. 36 You are to present a food offering to the Lord for seven days. On the eighth day you are to hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the Lord. It is a solemn assembly; you are not to do any daily work. 37 “These are the Lord’s appointed times that you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for presenting food offerings to the Lord, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its designated day. 38 These are in addition to the offerings for the Lord’s Sabbaths, your gifts, all your vow offerings, and all your freewill offerings that you give to the Lord. 39 “You are to celebrate the Lord’s festival on the fifteenth day of the seventh month for seven days after you have gathered the produce of the land. There will be complete rest on the first day and complete rest on the eighth day. 40 On the first day you are to take the product of majestic trees—palm fronds, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 You are to celebrate it as a festival to the Lord seven days each year. This is a permanent statute for you throughout your generations; celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You are to live in shelters for seven days. All the native-born of Israel must live in shelters, 43 so that your generations may know that I made the Israelites live in shelters when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.” 44 So Moses declared the Lord’s appointed times to the Israelites.
So this festival was like a week long camping trip for the Israelites.
They would build temporary shelters outside to remind them of the wilderness wanderings.
This festival was originally commanded for 7 days, but the Jewish Leaders ended up adding an extra day to the festival.
Therefore, the festival ran for 8 days instead of 7.
This festival was specifically a time for the Jewish People to rejoice in the Lord
In fact, that’s the commandment that God gave them when he instructed this festival.
v.40 “…Rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.”
Now this was a time for them to rejoice, remember, and look forward to God’s provision.
The Israelites were to look back and remember God’s provision after freeing them from Egypt.
He provided for them in the desert.
The water from the rock and the manna and quail from heaven.
They looked at the present provision by rejoicing in the harvest that God gave them.
This festival celebrated the harvest of olives, grapes, and other fruits.
This festival eventually became a celebration of looking forward to the future messiah as well as looking back on God’s deliverance and God’s provision of the harvest.
And it seems fitting that Jesus the Messiah would show up at this festival to proclaim who he is.
Before Jesus’ Time the Jewish people added a couple of elements to the Feast of Tabernacles that Jesus is going to point them to.
One thing they added was what is called a libation ceremony.
Each day of the festival the priests would make the journey down from the temple to the pool of Siloam.
They would then draw water from that pool in a golden cistern and take the water back up to the altar at the temple.
Once arriving at the altar they would pour out the water.
This was a ritual reminding them of God’s provision of water when they were wandering in the desert.
If you look in Exodus 17 and Numbers 20 you will find the miracle of water flowing from a rock. Providing enough water for all the Israelites and their livestock in the desert.
So Jesus takes this tradition and makes something more out of if.
John 7:37-38 “37 On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.””
Jesus is probably playing off of the words in Isa 12:3 “3 You will joyfully draw water from the springs of salvation,”
Especially b/c these are the words that would be recited as the water is poured on the Altar.
Jesus is the one that provides water that truly satisfies.
Water that brings life.
If those present are thirsty for the truth.
Longing for the provision of God he has arrived.
Another thing they added was on the the 7th night of the festival they had these giant candelabras set up in the temple courtyard.
One theologian said that the fuel used to light these giant candelabras was oil and the old, worn out priestly garments.
But on the 7th night of the celebration these candelabras would be lit and they were said to give off immense light.
One Ancient source says “He who has never seen the illumination ceremony has never seen true joy.”
And it was around this time that Jesus speaks this truth,
John 8:12 “12...“I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.””
Jesus is claiming to be greater than this ceremony and celebration.
He is the light that pierces the darkness.
He is the light that draws people to God.
He is the light that provides life.
Then to put a more pointed explanation on Jesus as the light of the world, in John 9 Jesus heals the blind man and he can now see.
The Light of the world has taken the one that was in darkness and given him light.
But we will talk about that more in a few weeks.
What’s interesting is that these two events weren’t even original to the festival, but Jesus is using their traditions to point to his greatness.
He is using their additions to show that he is greater than anything they could add to the ceremony.
He is proving to them that he is the provision that they have been waiting for.
He is the messiah, the light of the world, the water for their thirsty souls.
That is him.
It’s no accident that John opens his gospel in John 1:14 “14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus came to dwell among his people.
He came to tabernacle with his people.
And here he is dwelling with his people as they celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.
Here’s the thing there is nothing that we can add to or take away from our traditions that can be greater than Jesus.
Jesus meets, exceeds, and obliterates all of our expectations.
Heres one last cool thing about the Festival of Tabernacles.
It’s the only festival that prophesies that all types of people will celebrate it.
Zech 14:16 “16 Then all the survivors from the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of Armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters.”
This is a feast of celebration opened to all people who will come and worship the Lord.
This is supposed by some to be the celebration held in Rev 21.
And while Jesus is at the festival there are lots of questions asked about who he is and what he has come to do.
We will dive in more in depth in the next couple of weeks, but here are a few of them.
These are statements from the crowd surrounding Jesus and witnessing what he has done and said.
jn 7:12 “12 And there was a lot of murmuring about him among the crowds. Some were saying, “He’s a good man.” Others were saying, “No, on the contrary, he’s deceiving the people.””
jn 7:15 “15 Then the Jews were amazed and said, “How is this man so learned, since he hasn’t been trained?””
jn 7:20 “20 “You have a demon!” the crowd responded. “Who is trying to kill you?””
In addition to the crowds, Jesus also has an encounter with his brothers.
3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples can see your works that you are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret while he’s seeking public recognition. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 (For not even his brothers believed in him.) 6 Jesus told them, “My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it does hate me because I testify about it—that its works are evil. 8 Go up to the festival yourselves. I’m not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said these things, he stayed in Galilee.
I want to be fair, there are some who push back on calling these people his brothers.
They believe that Jesus was the only child of Mary and therefore didn’t have any brothers.
But the text is pretty clear that these are his brothers.
One of the arguments they will put forth is that the word in Greek for brothers can sometimes also be translated cousins.
And if you aren’t conviced by John calling them his brothers.
Matthew says in Matt 13:55-56 “55 Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother called Mary, and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, aren’t they all with us? So where does he get all these things?””
And Mark 6:3 “3 Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” So they were offended by him.”
Any way, Jesus’ siblings don’t know what to do with him.
They are confused by who he is and what he can do.
But they don’t believe he is the Messiah.
They don’t believe he is the promised one.
I mean we give them a lot of flack, but would you believe it if your brother or sister came up to you and told you that they are the savior of the world.
But they were urging Jesus to go to the festival and do more works.
They were pushing Jesus to step into the limelight.
To go and make his power and presence known.
Jesus was acting like a Podunk prophet, but they wanted him to go and prove himself to the masses.
What I find interesting is that his brothers had seen or at least heard of the works he was doing, but John lets us know that they don’t believe.
Remember when John talks about belief in his gospel it always centers around a life changing belief.
One where someone is transformed and devoted to Jesus.
So even though they see his works, Even though they heard his message, Even though they knew his deeds, they were still in unbelief.
They were around Jesus but they didn’t believe in him.
Their proximity and relationship to Jesus did not guarantee their salvation.
It did not guarantee their belief.
We cannot expect that anything other than personal faith in Jesus is going to save anyone.
We can’t save our family members by believing in Jesus.
You can’t be saved b/c your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, or anyone else trusts in Jesus.
Now we do have good news that some of Jesus’ brothers did end up believing in him.
But they came to him individually and trusted him as savior.
However, that didn’t happen until after his resurrection from the dead.
They assumed and presumed on Jesus that his desire was to gain a massive following.
Because they had a wrong assumption about what the messiah was going to look like.
The messiah they expected was one who was going to come in and overturn the government.
And the only way that could happen is if he had a band of followers to help lead the coup.
We can do the same type of things to Jesus.
We can expect from him what he never promised or what isn’t apart of his mission.
But Jesus wasn’t about that type of showmanship.
He responded to them
John 7:6-8 “6 Jesus told them, “My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it does hate me because I testify about it—that its works are evil. 8 Go up to the festival yourselves. I’m not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.””
Jesus is governed by the Father’s Schedule.
He lives on “Divine Time.”
He is never early, never late, but arrives exactly as he means to.
And this time isn’t the time for him.
This is similar to what he mother says to him in John 2.
When she asks him about the wine, and he responds, John 2:4 “4 “What has this concern of yours to do with me, woman?” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.””
Jesus is never going to be moved out of our demands, wills, or expectations.
We can never make God do anything he hasn’t already planned or thought out before hand.
And that should bring us comfort.
Knowing that he is ultimately in control.
And he doesn’t do anything that runs contrary to his will and mission.
And this is demonstrated to us in Jesus’ commitment to God’s Plan.
Nothing is going to shake him.
Nothing is going to push him.
Nothing is going to distract him.
Jesus is always about his father’s mission.
He is always about his father’s will.
He is not going to let anyone distract or detract him from that reality.
He has a plan.
He has a mission and when the time is right he will move on it.
Jesus reveals to his brothers that the world is going to hate him.
That there are those who hate him b/c of his devotion to God’s will and mission.
There are a few reasons that they hate Jesus.
The first is because he exposes their wickedness and sin.
He is the light that exposes the darkness within them.
And people hate having their sin exposed if they don’t understand it as a grace of God.
If you are living in sin, living in the darkness then you don’t want to have your deeds exposed.
Jesus tells us that there are those that love darkness more than light.
It’s painful to have your sin exposed.
And you will either flee from the light or grab on to it.
If you run to the light you know the grace of God.
Have you ever thought about the fact that having your sin exposed is a gracious gift from God.
Think about it.
What does sin do to us if it is never exposed?
It eats away at us.
I heard one guy put it this way.
“Sin takes you farther than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and costs you more than you want to pay.”
Those whose deeds are evil.
Those who live in wickedness don’t want to be exposed.
And it is exactly those who hate Jesus.
It is those who want to kill Jesus.
It is those who are going to nail Jesus to the cross.
In this account, Jesus tells us that his time has not yet come.
But I want you to know that Jesus’ time did come.
His time to lay aside his life to pay the debt sinners owed came.
You see Jesus knew exactly what the will of God was and that was to offer a way for sinful people like you and me to have a relationship with God.
And the only way that could happen is through the perfect sacrifice.
And Jesus was that perfect Sacrifice.
He wants to invite you into his family.
He wants you to celebrate the feast of renewal.
The feast of provision.
He wants to take you from unbelief to belief.
From death to life.
From doubt to faith.
He is calling out to you will you answer him?