“Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?” Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.”
The rejection of Jesus recorded in out passage takes on an ironic nature considering the purpose of the feast they were supposed to be celebrating. The feast of Tabernacles, or Booths, was the third of the national feasts of Israel. During the seven days of the feast, the Israelites built booths, or huts, made out of fruit and palm branches. They were to live in these booths the whole week as a reminder of when they lived in booths on their way out of Egypt. It would testify to them of God’s fatherly provision and protection of them in the wilderness to bring them to the Promised Land.
The booths also testified to them that they were still strangers and pilgrims in this world and they as God’s people lived for city to come. This feast was a looking forward to that final harvest where God’s people would be gathered to Himself and God would reign over His people in the everlasting Land in perfect fellowship with Him. That is why the Feast of Booths was also the Feast of the Harvest. The reaping of the crops would remind the people of God’s promise to save all His people, His crop that He would gather from the four corners of the earth.
And yet sadly, those who were living in booths were at the same time in love with this world, and not the kingdom of God. Those who were to celebrate with their thoughts directed to the power of God in deliverance were only focused on the fear of man.
My friends, here is why you should not fear man. When we are tempted as the people of this world to worry what others think of us or do to us because we are Christians, let us remember our booths. We were delivered from a bondage greater and more exacting than Egypt, a master crueler than Pharaoh. Our Savior took our suffering upon Himself, so that the eternal payment we owed to God might be satisfied. Every worship service in a sense is a celebration of the Feast of Booths. Each Lord’s Day we come to praise our great King for His victory over our enemies through His own sacrifice. We come to hear from His Word how to please Him until He brings us out of our booths unto our eternal home. Even now the Bible says we are pilgrims in this world, yet citizens of Heaven. Why fear what man thinks?
by Pastor Todd Bordow