This week I am pleased to share some recent sermon notes from Pastor Bill Hughes of First Apostolic Pentecostal Church of Amity, ARK. I’ve added a few of my own thoughts into this message and I ask Brother Hughes to forgive any liberties I may have taken.
The reference scriptures for this study are John 11:45-57. Here we see that Lazarus had just been raised from the dead by Jesus. His testimony was so powerful that many now believed in the Lord. This was very threatening to the Pharisees and religious leaders because they felt their influence and religious control over the minds of the people was diminishing. They began to seek for ways to kill Jesus.
“Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.” John 11:54
“And the Jews’ Passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves.” John 11:55
Notice in this verse that many people were going to Jerusalem to purify themselves for the feast. They actually believed that obeying ceremonial rituals would purify them. So it is today. Many, if not most, of the world’s population care little for inward purity.
These religious folk, in preparation for the Passover feast, made much ado about washings, etc., and yet in their heart they would actually be willing to shed innocent blood in a few days. (The very same people who cried “Hosanna, Hosanna” when Jesus finally came to the feast, would cry “Crucify him, crucify him” just a few days later.)
We must remember that the religious leaders of that day liked to be popular with the people and focused on the outside but no inner change was required. In many churches today people can attend a service and never give a thought about inner change. They will return home unchanged because nothing is required of their members. However, if you really encounter Jesus you can not leave His Presence unchanged.
“Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?” (John 11:56) From this verse we gather that the religious leaders expected Jesus to come to the feast. Some anticipated his arrival and others wanted to set a trap for him.
Those with a “religious spirit” were comfortable with outward formalities (which are worthless in the sight of the Lord) but disdained Jesus message of inner purity. Our Lord revealed on the Sermon on the Mount that even if you hate your brother only in your heart you are a murderer. His focus was on purity of heart.
The question from this study is: “Will Jesus come to the feast?”
In these scriptures we can readily see that a large crowd went to the feast in Jerusalem every year for the Passover. However, just going to the feast was not what was in the heart of the true followers of Jesus! They wanted Jesus and not just the feast. Numbers mean nothing if the Lord Jesus does not come. A crowded house can be full without Christ. It matters nothing if you are rich or poor. It simply will not be a feast if Jesus does not come.
In this study we are examining a religious spirit. In the times of Jesus most were content with the temple building and these outward observances. Jesus had already told his disciples an important fact about the temple. “But I say unto you, that in this place is one greater than the temple.” (Matthew 12:6)
Jesus comes to the temple when we seek Him and not entertainment.
Jesus will come when 2 or 3 are gathered in His name.
Jesus will come where He is known as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the whole world
Jesus will come when we recognize Him as our Lamb Sacrifice.
When we truly desire Jesus to be at the feast He will come.
When Jesus finally entered Jerusalem, to attend the Passover feast, scriptures tell us “On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (John 12:12-12) Jesus wants to be recognized as the Master of the Temple, the reason for the feast.
Jesus was coming to the feast because He instituted it. Why would He not come? He loves it. It is a joy for Him to commune with His church!
Malachi 3:1: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Haggai 2:7, 8, 9: “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.”
HE IS COMING TO THE FEAST!
HE IS COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN AND
WITH GREAT GLORY!