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The Best Feast of All, By Danny Allen

Posted: April , 2013

The Best Feast of All

 

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem John 5:1.

 

The story of Jesus healing the man at the pool of Bethesda has some very powerful truth other than the obvious miracle of the man being healed.  As I read the story some things stood out to me and I would like to share them with you.   First of all, the verse I included above is very significant to us today.  In Jerusalem the Jews were celebrating a feast day.  To me the kind of feast day is not important and the exact one being celebrated is not mentioned by John.  The Jews were the covenant people of God.  Jerusalem was the place God appointed where the temple was erected and where worship of God was to take place.  Now don't get me wrong, the worship of God is very important but what happens when the worship of God turns into something God never intended it to be?  And how is our love for God and our loyalty to His commandments best displayed?  Can our worship of God be vain or empty or even something that God detests? 

 

In Jerusalem there was a great multitude of people who were impotent, blind, halt, and withered.   Although they all had different issues, they all had one thing in common,   they were waiting for the moving of the water.  It should be noted here that moving of the water is a picture in my mind of the Holy Spirit and His power as He touches the needy, blind, lost, etc.  One man was left out and due to his inability to get down to the water he couldn't be healed.  It says that he had the infirmity for 38 years.  I wonder if he had been coming to this pool for thirty eight years?  Wow! What a long time to wait.  Jesus was so compassionate and focused to the task and mission the Father sent Him to do.  Jesus would say in another place of scripture that the Good Shepherd would leave the ninety nine to find the one lost sheep.  What about the Jews in this story?  What were they doing about the need around their feast during the feast day?  Were they totally oblivious to the need around them?  I think we can assume yes by just looking at their lack of action (works) and their reaction to the works of Jesus.  It's interesting to note that the Jews were unconcerned with the man as long as he was sick but because he was healed on the Sabbath day now they were concerned.  Their doctrine had been broken!  Blindness had come to the covenant people of God!  They were totally blind to the people around them and totally blind to the commandment of God.  When the Jews found out that Jesus had been the one who healed the man they sought to kill Him!  They were ready to kill a man for doing good to someone at the expense of their man made doctrine.  The Jewish leaders were the ones we read about in these scriptures but what about the other Jews that had come to the feast day?  What do you think their mindset was?  After all most of them had been coming to Jerusalem for feasts and to temple worship for weekly service for years.  Most had probably kept the commandment of God to "Keep the Sabbath" holy for years.  Yet multitudes were outside their religious rituals and system in need of the "moving of the water".  A system of religion had been set up by men and for men.  This system is not unlike all religious systems of our day.  It's a system set up by men in the name of God that justifies men from their sin yet blinds them from the true heart and mission of God. It is a system that claims to love God but neglects the mission of God and the world God came to save.  It’s a system that focuses on loving God so that self can be loved.  The love of self is the root of all sin and evil in this world.  Religion not only caters to this, but encourages it.  

 

Jesus answered a Jewish leader who was trying to trip Him up concerning His knowledge of the Jewish law.  The lawyer asked Jesus what's the great commandment in the law?  Jesus answered him and said,

 

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Mt 22:37-40).

 

Wow!  If our worship of God does not result in a love and concern for the plight of our neighbor, then we have missed the great commandment of God.  The love of God will always result in, at the minimum, a love for our neighbor that is equal to a love of self.     

 

In another place in scripture we see Jesus addressing the teaching of the Jews and their idea of worship and loving God and His commandments. 

 

 

  In Mt 15:7-9 Jesus is addressing the Jews 

 

[Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. 

 

Jesus was rebuking the Jewish teachers concerning their teaching that taught giving your money to the temple and the upkeep of the ministry rather than taking care of ones Father or Mother.  Think about the ramifications of this teaching to the people of God.  The Jewish leaders were in essence giving the people of God a justification or a religious indulgence that would ease their conscience from keeping the commandment of God.  It's like buying a ticket that gets you to heaven!  Just pay your tithes and you will be blessed by God!  The people of God are left justified on their way to heaven, but what happens to the father and mother?  Their needs are left unmet and Gods mercy and grace is not extended to people through His body.  It's amazing how the fastest growing and largest "churches" in America are the ones that offer justification while at the same time offering the best of the best "ministry" to the people through good preaching, singing, etc.  Professional musicians and speakers that would even make the world envious.  The message given in the music and preaching has the theme of come have a feast on God's tab.  Jesus paid it all, so come have a better life come have a party in other words. It's like they are saying to the people, we know that Sunday is very inconvenient and you are very busy, but we are going to make it exciting for you.  We want you to have a good time while you are inconvenienced.  It's like man what a feast.  We really worshipped God today.  We were really filled with God today.   For what purpose?  Is it to get fat at God's expense just to go back to our self centered lives to once again return the next feast day?  Can you see the mentality?  Self indulgence to the point of obesity!  It has made us sick.  In  the Old Testament the people of God wanted meat because they were tired of Gods provision so God sent them quail and they ate until it came out of their nostrils.  A great plague came over the people even while they were eating the flesh.  You see religion that encourages self indulgence is poisonous.  Paul in his address to the Greek's in the Colossian church, warned them not to turn back from Jesus and to go back to the Jewish law and the keeping of new moons and Sabbaths.  He was emphatically telling them to not be cheated from the relationship they had with Christ to a relationship with religion built on the traditions of men that was made after the philosophies of men and of this world.  In verse 29 he said

 

These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, [false] humility, and neglect of the body, [but are] of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.  

 

Just think how religious and wise we appear in our religious activity and at the same time our fleshly appetites are out of control!  A form of godliness but no power!  Worldly wisdom that gives birth to a worldly and flesh driven church!

 

In John Chapter 4 Jesus meets with the woman at the well and gives her the Gospel message.  In verse 27 the disciples of Jesus marveled that He was talking with her.  Let’s look at the next few verses to in the story;

 

In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.  But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him [ought] to eat?    Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work (Jn 4:31-34).

 

Jesus again is saying that sharing the Gospel and ones life for the sake of the Gospel is greater and more fulfilling than eating meat!  Church it's time for judgment to begin in the house of God.  We must judge ourselves as to what we are feasting on.  Have you set up a nice tidy religious life that is not very concerned about your neighbor.  Are you obese with the blessings and teaching of Gods word and yet you remain unfulfilled.  Please know that God gives so we can give.  God pours our His Spirit so that we can be poured out for this world.   We must ask ourselves these questions and ask God to open our eyes to our poor naked state.  We think we are rich and full of blessing, but don't we know that we are poor miserable and blind.  Jesus has clearly pointed out in His word that He had a purpose that was greater than physical appetites and it was to finish the mission to the world set forth by the Father from the beginning of time.  The Father's work is not finished.  The wedding feast of the Lamb is still open to all who will come.  We are to go into the highways and by ways and compel them to come in.  Good, professional religious services won’t cut it anymore.  Just as Jesus' physical body was broken on the cross so that others could have life, so will His Spiritual body be broken for the life and salvation of the world.  We have the life and the life of God residing in us but we must be broken for the light to shine.  We have the life giving Spirit of God inside of us, but we must be broken for the water to flow.  We have food to eat that the world knows not of!  To finish His work is the best feast of all!     

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