Baptism Of Blessing

It had to be done. The ceremony had to be interrupted. During the final day of the Feast of Tabernacles, in the midst of hundreds of people, Jesus of Nazareth had to stand and cry out to proclaim an important message not just for those present, but for all those who would later read about the account in the Gospel of John.
Baptism Of Blessing
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2015 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

John 7 records that the feast of Tabernacles had arrived. Though prodded by His half-brothers, Jesus of Nazareth opted not to go up to Jerusalem about the same time they did. Instead, He we went up later--disguised so He would not be recognized. In so doing He heard all sorts of comments about Himself.

After a time He openly showed Himself and began to teach some that had assembled for the feast. Some were astounded by this, but Christ had a bigger surprise waiting for them at the end of the feast. In John 7:37-39 we read, “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. 38 He that believes on me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’ 39 (But He said this of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” We will see the following points from this passage.

I. The Call 37

“If any man thirst . . .”

Christ made this public announcement to let all know that their spiritual needs could be satisfied in Him. Though we are created in the image of God we are tainted with sin and are in need of a Savior. The interest of the Samaritan woman at the well was peaked when Christ said He could give living water that, if one drinks it, they will never thirst again. So she said (John 4:15), “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come here to draw.”

His response was to point out her need of saving power by exposing her sin of fornication. And, despite what some would teach, this lady was not married to any man. However, the text clearly shows she had sexual encounters with five men who were married and cheated on their wives. The main point is that we have to be willing to empty ourselves of sin in order to be filled with His presence, with His Spirit.

“. . . let him come unto me, and drink.”

Christ points to the Truth when He points to Himself (John 14:6) and, in the midst of this congregation He was pointing away from at least two things: salvation by works and the elevation of ceremony above spiritual reality.

Christ’s outburst (yes, that is what it was -- He cried out) occurred on the last day of the feast. That last day was treated like a Sabbath. It was to be a solemn day with no servile work and no dealings with commerce. Therefore, Christ calls us to rest from our works and permit Him to work through us. His “come unto me” here is connected with His “come unto me and I will give you rest” in Matthew 11:28.

Christ’s outcry came during a ceremony. Albert Barnes {1} states that on the last day of the feast it was customary to perform a solemn ceremony in this manner: The priest filled a golden vial with water from the fount of Siloam which was borne with great solemnity, attended with the sounding of trumpets, through the gate of the temple, and being mixed with wine, was poured on the sacrifice on the altar. The origin of this custom is unknown. Some suppose that it arose from an improper understanding of the passage in Isaiah 12:3, “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

Not all ceremonies are bad, but this one was not commanded to be done by Moses and was one of many practices and traditions that, over the course of time, the Jews added to the Law and, in many cases, elevated to a point where it was either equal or almost equal to the law. This is comparable today to many practices in churches such as, but not limited to, transubstantiation and the baptizing of babies.

In pointing to Himself, Christ pointed to the origin, the source, whereby our spiritual thirst might be satisfied. And note very well the word “anyone.” That is precisely what that means. Barnes also stated that the day before the last day of the feast the Jews offered sacrifices for themselves and the Gentiles. On this last day they offered sacrifices only for themselves. However, Christ says “anyone,” and His inclusion is not limited to ethnicity, but is open to all regardless of gender, age, mental ability or anything else.

Christ, most certainly, is accessible to all as they come to God directed by the Holy Spirit. And, with Christ stating, “...and drink,” we see that His desire is to quench our spiritual thirst. However, we do need to drink. We do need to yield to Him, to His Spirit. We must not silence His Spirit in our lives.


II. The Cure 38 

“He that believes on me, . . ."

Again, it must be said that Christ is not speaking of mere head belief, but that of the heart that brings forth evidence. It also needs to be underscored that this is ongoing belief, not a “one time” prayer or a single “feel good” moment. True belief in Christ is expressed in faithfulness, privately and publicly, to Him.

Only He is the spiritual thirst quencher, not our works, not a church, not a ceremony. The Word of God is clear that He is that bridge, the only bridge, between God and man. He needs to be the only source of our strength and the main purpose of our life.

“. . . as the Scripture has said, . . .”
There is no single Scripture that has the exact wording that Christ used, “out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” So I am of the opinion He points to four places in the Old Testament that mention “living waters,” viz., Song Of Solomon 4:15, Jeremiah 2:13 and 17:13, and Zechariah 14:8. 

These are part of the written Word of God. But, at the moment Christ stood in the Temple and cried out, those that looked at Him were looking at the incarnate Word of God. As a side note, this fits in quite well with


the theory that Christ was born around or during the time of the feast of Tabernacles (Booths). Only the Gospel of John has an emphasis upon that feast and uses a Greek word meaning “tabernacled” for “dwelt among us” in John 1:14.

“. . . out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
This living water, as the next verse indicates, is the flowing of the Holy Spirit within and out from the true disciple in Christ. It includes the fulness of the Holy Spirit whereby one is filled to overflowing and speaks in tongues as recorded in Acts 2 and 10 (not to be confuse with “the gift of tongues” in 1 Corinthians 12).

As natural water is vitally necessary for humans to survive, even more so is the Spirit of God for the children of God to survive. This living water nourishes and cleanses not only our spirit, but also our mind, soul, heart, body--the total person. And it is not just for the disciple, but the intent is that we be a blessing to others.

III. The Cause 39

“(But He said this of the Spirit, . . ."
We are all spirit creatures and we all need the Spirit of God moving us, cleansing us, filling us, directing us, empowering us. The Holy Spirit is available to everyone, and when one receives Christ as their Savior they receive a measure of the Spirit.

The phraseology here used by John through the Holy Spirit reflects the phraseology of the Book of Acts. It was common practice in the early Church to refer to the outpouring, the gift of the Holy Spirit (again, not to be confused with the gift of tongues) {2}, as simply “the Spirit.” The gift (Greek word for “gift” being “dorea” in Acts) of the Holy Spirit was a result of the promise of the Father as mentioned in Acts 2.

“. . . which they that believe on Him should receive: . . .”
Just as we must receive Christ into our hearts in order to be saved, regenerated, we must be willing to receive all that God has for us, including the gift of the Spirit, otherwise known in Pentecostal circles as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

“. . . for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
God does things in an orderly fashion. Christ had to ascend first that He may be glorified and become available to all by the Holy Spirit. While I maintain that every Christian, even non-Pentecostal / non-Charismatic Christians have a level of the Holy Spirit, not all have the fulness of the Holy Spirit. Having the fulness of the Holy Spirit means, in part, to have more of the moral nature of Christ.

Acts 1 shows that the gift of the Holy Spirit empowers the true disciple of Christ for witnessing, proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We also see that in Acts 2 the outpouring of the Holy Spirit inspired Spirit led worship. Such worship indeed is the refreshing of the living water of Christ.

“Living water” also makes me think of spiritual life. First, the Holy Spirit begins to develop the fruit of the Spirit within us (Galatians 5:22-23 and Ephesians 5:9). But that living water is also to flow out from us into ministry not only to win the lost, but to edify the Body of Christ.

As noted, “living waters” is mentioned four times in the Old Testament. The plural, “waters,” is not found in the New Testament. Instead we see “living water,” spoken twice by Christ (John 4:10 and 7:38) and once by the woman at the well (John 4:11). That is three times in the New Testament, making a total of seven times that living water/s is found in the Word of God. And the combination of the verses clearly shows that Christ is that living water. Are you spiritually thirsty? Come to Christ and you will never thirst again.

Notes:

{1} From an electronic version of Barnes’ Notes, by Albert Barnes, incorporated into the Online Bible computer program.

{2} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

This article was in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by June 20, 2015 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M365 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. An * next to the abbreviation for another translation or version indicates the same for the text presented.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.



Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Last updated on 20-07-2016 128 2

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    God, who exists, is concerned about those who still do not exist in truth. We say that God saves human persons; and so we suppose that these are real persons and not undeveloped persons without liberty, or responsibility. Salvation is not the washing of souls but the restoration of the human person in all dimensions-individual, family and social.
    reply 0
  • Jlyn11  15-06-2015

    Thank you for your sharing and teaching. I'm glad that I now have the Holy Spirit living in me and because of His love for me by sending Jesus to die on the cross for me, nothing is more important than to give all glory to God.

    reply 0
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