John Bennett, Pinxton, Nottingham [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
‘In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried,saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink’, John 7. 37.
It is not without significance that the Lord should choose ‘the last day, that great day of the feast’ to make His announcement. This day was the high point of the eight days of the feast. It was meant to epitomize all that the feast meant to the Jews who celebrated it. Practically, it was celebrated by everyone, by the household, by the servants, the Levite, and the stranger.1 Prophetically, the feast looked forward to the millennial reign of Christ.2 Characteristically, it was a feast of joy, and ‘of rest that accompanies joy’.3 Yet, on this occasion, the Lord issues His call, ‘If any man thirst’.
Clearly, what the feast was meant to be and what it had become were two different things. This is one of the features of John’s record of the Jewish feasts. But what an indictment! After seven days of the feast, should any have come to this point empty? The emptiness of the ritual, and celebration, led the Saviour to issue His call to any that would hear. He chooses a point at the heart of the temple, in a place of public activity, and extends His invitation to all. What Judaism cannot supply is available from Him!
There is a sense of sadness in that invitation. Surely, the need was universal, but the problem was that not all appreciated the need that they had. They were clinging to old rituals and traditions, devoid of spiritual life, anticipating that this would bring them blessing. How true today!
It is the believer in Christ who looks to the finished work of Calvary and recalls the Lord’s words, ‘I thirst’, John 19. 28. The reality and the depth of the Saviour’s suffering on the cross form the basis upon which His invitation can be extended.4 The blessings of salvation flow out from the ‘fountain’ of Calvary! We rejoice in the simplicity of the call, ‘let him come unto me’! What this feast was meant to be is realized in Christ, whose invitation is extended to all – ‘any man’! The rest that should have resulted from the feast is available in Christ.5 May we never cease to rejoice in the fullness of our salvation!
In this magazine, we conclude the series on the kings of Judah. We extend our thanks to the authors who contributed to it so helpfully. We also have the first of two new articles provided by Malcolm Horlock to fill our centre expository pages. We are grateful to him for renewed help in this area. We also commence a series on the New Testament book of Ephesians. As always, we express our sincere thanks to all our authors, trusting that in this magazine there will be a range of material to feed, encourage and, perhaps, challenge the Lord’s people.
- Deut. 16. 14.
- Zech. 14. 16.
- A. McDonald Redwood, Seven Old Testament Feasts, Oliphants, n.d., pg. 95.
- Compare Ps. 22. 15.
- Matt. 11. 28.