Jesus is still at the festival of shelters. Much like in today’s culture the people are showing their confusion about who Jesus really is..

John 7:31

Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?”

Throughout Jesus ministry many misunderstood him. People were constantly divided over Jesus’ identity. When they began to understand what Jesus was saying, some wanted to become his followers and others wanted to have him arrested and killed. Jesus later encourages his disciples that they won’t really understand him until the Holy Spirit fills them

John 16:12-15

There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’

But once again, part of Jesus reason for dying on the cross was so the Holy Spirit would be free to live in those who follow the Lord.

We have to understand that the world will always be in darkness and can not possibly understand the realities of life and God apart from divine revelation. The world loves darkness, Jesus said in John 3:19,20 but when we come around them, we bring the divine light of God, his truth, His Spirit that breaks down walls and the truth can be revealed to them even in their darkness. That is why it is so important for us to understand our role and to be full of the Spirit.

John 7:32-36

When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus. 33 But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. 34 You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going.”

35 The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks! 36 What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?”

Once again the crowds are afraid of their own cancel culture so they are only whispering that Jesus is truly the Messiah. The Sanhedrin, the congress of the Jews, sent guards to arrest Jesus but for now they did not arrest him and we will see that they did not return for four days probably listening to every word from Jesus. Jesus tells this leadership that because they do not believe in him they will never make it to heaven, a pretty harsh judgment it would seem but Jesus is not judging them they have made the decision for themselves!

Please remember Jesus and the Father do not hold people out of heaven. They made a way by Jesus going to the cross for people to have the relationship with the Father through Jesus. The Pharisees chose to go to hell by rejecting Jesus and even attempting to destroy his life. They thought Jesus meant he was going to other parts of the world and after Pentecost his message would be, he was talking about his death, resurrection, and ascension.

John 7:37-39

On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

The climax of the festival of booths (shelters) was the priest pouring out a double portion of water. Each day during the festival that would have water to drink as God had provided water in the wilderness when Moses first struck the rock then secondly was supposed to speak to the rock at Meribah (Numbers 20) Those two times where they were given water by God were times of God’s provision when they lacked faith and trust in God and God came through….

Jesus is saying, as the priest are pouring the water, he is their double portion of living water (flowing from his heart, like eating his flesh and drinking his blood) and he will by going to the cross pour out the Spirit on all who are thirsty. John telling us that the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet entered his glory was his death on the cross, a tragedy for men to observe but a glory for God to do for mankind.

Paul ties this end with further explanation in 1 Corinthians 10:3,4

All of them ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

And Paul explains back then they rejected the Lord even seeing the miracle and still today many reject Him despite all of the miracles around us every day!

John 7: 40-43

When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, “Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.” 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.” 43 So the crowd was divided about him. 44 Some even wanted him arrested, but no one laid a hand on him.

They struggled believing because on one hand they saw all the miracles and on the other hand this part of the crowd didn’t have all the information they needed. They believed Jesus was from Galilee because of being from Nazareth and again, as I mentioned two weeks ago, the Messiah according to Micah 5:2 had to come from Judea, specifically Bethlehem. Jesus of course was born in Bethlehem but the scripture also says that the Messiah would rise out of Galilee, from Isaiah 9.

There are so many challenges today, so much misunderstanding about who God is, as we add cultural relevance or our own prejudgments to who God is; apart from what the Bible says. If you read the Word of God, we understand who he is, his character if not we will wander off into bowing to the culture and bending Jesus to our culture or making God out to be the fruit of your pain, hurts, wounds and past. 

Once again, we see man’s plans can’t stop God’s ultimate plan. God’s plan is to bring you peace, love, joy, hope and so much more and ultimately you will have all of those things but they may be temporarily stalled due to decisions men make but God’s plans will not be stopped his plans for a hope and a future for you.

John 7:45

When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked.

The festival of shelters, tabernacles, booths is a seven-day celebration. The guards had been called to arrest Jesus three or four days earlier.

King Solomon wrote Proverbs 16:7

When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them. 

The love of Jesus, his peace, hope, and joy, filling our lives touches people in ways we don’t always understand. The guards were impacted by the truth love and joy of Jesus as will even your enemies if you allow the Lord to do it. Let people see Jesus in you and see how it impacts their and your world.

John 7:48,49

Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? 49 This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”

The Pharisees explained Jesus’ popularity among the people by suggesting that the people were too ignorant to recognize Jesus as a deceiver. The crowd, according to the Pharisees, did not know the Law. They did not study it, so they could not obey it. And since they did not obey it, they were under God’s curse(Deut. 28:15). The irony of the situation was that the Pharisees, not the mob, were under God’s wrath because they rejected God’s revelation in Jesus (John 3:36)

John 7: 50,51

Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. 51 “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.

The law required every person to have a hearing before judged (Deuteronomy 1:16,17) and Nicodemus was only holding them to the law as they had just stated that the common people did not understand. Holding them to their own words. Nicodemus was trying to save them from their own prejudice and fears but they would not listen rather than having a discussion about what the law says (like our politicians today they attack their character rather than dealing with the issues truth)

John 7: 52,53

They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!” 53 Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home.

Galilee was a place from the wrong side of the tracks but God always had a plan to redeem it, change it. They were attempting to slander Nicodemus for his challenging them to obey their own law but yet they proved their ignorance of the law and prophets as at least two prophets, Jonah and Nahum had come from Galilee and it is very possible that Micah, Hosea, Elisha, and Elijah all came from Galilee. This is another example of people that should have known what God’s word has to say and not have it. They also had forgotten or didn’t make the connection that Jesus was the one the wise men came to see 30 years ago

What do you believe about Jesus?

Is he the one who wants to always speak with you?

Is he the one who created all things, walked the earth, died on the cross for you, and rose from the dead for you?

Is he the one who loves you so much that he hears and answers your prayers and will never fail you?

Is he the one who is always talking to the Father about you and has sent the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and provide for you always?

These are some of the things the Bible tells us about Jesus and he is this for you?

Today we celebrate his triumphant entry into Jerusalem that was predicted by Daniel In Daniel Chapter 9:25,26 down to the exact day. He came with a broken heart because of Jerusalem and the nation being bound by religion and he came to die on the cross to establish relationship with us all….that relationship includes all of those things I just listed and so much more….if you are missing some of that relationship today, let us pray for you….God wants you to have it more than you want to have it