|Homecoming - Danny Halbolm|
There are many, many people who believe that Jesus was a brilliant moral teacher who never made any extraordinary claims about himself. The more I read John through this study and read John's letters to the church, it is clear John is reporting as an eye-witness to Jesus' ministry that this is simply not true.
John is focusing a lot of attention and much of his account on Jesus' argument with the religious leaders during the Jewish Festival of Booths. Allow me to go into the circumstances of Jesus' teachings, please?
The Festival of Booths, Sukkot, was established by the Lord God before bringing them to the "Promised Land". It is an eight day festival when the people erect hastily-built tents (or booths) and live in them during the festival. During Jesus' time, many people would travel to Jerusalem for this festival. The Festival of Booths was to remind the Jewish nation of the time they lived as nomads wandering the desert between being freed by God from Egypt and being given the Promised Land by God in Canaan.
Jesus teaches the religious leaders during this festival that they are still wandering. When Jesus answers the question, "What do you mean, where you are going we cannot come?" with "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he."
I will go into this in more detail in the next post but Jesus will argue that God's people are still slaves and are still wandering without a home. The confused religious teachers do not understand what Jesus is saying here because they think that home is where their feet are. But as followers of Christ, we know that home isn't where our feet are; home is where our heart is.
Jesus makes it plain once again about how we are to live in this short life we have been given so that we can continue to live in a land we have been given, among a wonderful family, around the blessing of blessings. We are to believe that Jesus is God's Son. We must believe that Jesus was sent by our heavenly Father so that we will not perish but have eternal life.
And when Jesus teaches us to believe, He means more than head-knowledge. Yes, we are to love the Lord with our mind, but the rest of us must also believe. Do we live as though we know that we are nomads without Him? Do we live as though we long to see Him? Do we hunger and thirst after righteousness? Do we pursue Him with the superior fervor over every other endeavour we undertake?
Without Him, we are lost, without a home, living out of tents. With Him, we are home.