Will You Believe - Letters to the Prison
From the series Letters to the Prison
Hello, everyone! Last week, in our study of John 7, we saw how the Jewish leaders sent officers to arrest Jesus (John 7:32). They found him but haven’t arrested him…yet. Meanwhile, Jesus is warning his listeners that time is running short. Someday, Jesus will be where we cannot find him, and he will be where we cannot go (John 7:33-34). Both things show how Jesus is on God’s plan… God’s timetable –and so are we… whether we care to acknowledge that or not.
Many of the Jews hearing Jesus certainly didn’t want to acknowledge his warning. Look how they respond:
- The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?” -John 7:35-36
What they say here about Jesus is clearly borne from their unbelief. Since they don’t believe that Jesus is God and that he will one day return to heaven (from where he was sent), they assume that when Jesus says he will go somewhere, he means some place on earth… that he will escape from Jerusalem and go to some far distant land. This goes back to the idea of belief being the key to understanding what Jesus is saying about himself, as we are once again about to see.
Meanwhile, the guards sent to arrest Jesus in John 7:32 are still standing around…
And in John 7:37a, we see that some time passes. We are now “on the last day of the feast” and Jesus has something amazing to say about himself:
- 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.’” -John 7:37b-38
What’s interesting about this is the timing of it. Tradition holds that Jesus made this loud, bold proclamation right as the high priest was literally parading a pitcher of water to the altar as a symbol of the “living waters” prophesied in Ezekiel 47:1-12 and elsewhere. So, this was Jesus’ way of loudly and publicly proclaiming that he was the fulfillment of these prophecies. This was also yet another way Jesus claims to be God, who describes himself as the “fountain of living water” (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13). Yet the “living water” Jesus (being God) offers is clearly a spiritual provision, not a physical one, as John explains:
- 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. -John 7:39
This again is all about God’s perfect timing. Jesus is indeed now glorified in our day (Hebrews 12:2) and the Holy Spirit was given long ago (Acts 2). Countless believers have already received the Holy Spirit which becomes in them “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). Is it your time now? Have you come with a spiritual thirst to Jesus? Ask him for that Living Water. If you’re having trouble believing, ask Jesus to help. You might be surprised by how Jesus answers. He won’t disappoint you. Until next week, We love you!