Day 19: Seeing through the Noise
We tend to be more visual. Experts tell us that a very large percentage of what we hear is non-verbal. In other words: communication comes through seeing. Learning to see through the noise is a mandatory skill in our frenzied world.
“I can hear you.” I have very good hearing. It made my kids crazy when they sought to keep something away from my attention.
There is a flip side, though. Noise overwhelms me. I will say to my wife, “I have to leave, it is just too loud.” I cannot hear over the noise.
I find Chapter 7 somewhat “noisy”. I have reread it several times, even outlined it. Why? I want to “see and hear” Jesus. I want to know, “What does Jesus mean when he says certain things?”
To help me see and hear, I need to pause at verse 10.
The chapter starts with Jesus’ brothers taunting him to go to a Festival in Jerusalem. It is more than teasing. Imagine if your oldest brother believed he was God.
Jesus goes to Jerusalem, but on his timetable and in tune with the Father.
We have festivals. In America, we have Thanksgiving. More than food and football, we have it to remember our past. We tell the story of how Native Americans helped the Pilgrims. We have “horns of plenty” on our tables to remind us of their generous sharing.
The Jewish people have festivals to remember all that God has done in their lives, and in the lives of those that went before them.
One such feast is the Feast of Tabernacles. Just like we have food and fireworks, they too have symbols to remind them who they are, and what God has promised for their future.
Tabernacles, sometimes called Booths, was to remember they dwelt in tents as they wandered 40 years in the wilderness. To remind them that God had delivered them not only from slavery, but also into a Promised Land.
People would leave the comfort of their homes and live in tents or booths (sometimes on their roofs) as a way of re-enacting this time in the wilderness.
The Temple had extravagant services as well, with powerful symbols of Water and Light.
Live in the desert and you understand its connection to life. The priests had an elaborate parade; people singing Psalms, dancing, and more. It started by drawing water from a pool and ended with the pouring of water on the altar in the Temple.
Why? Water is life. God is life. Life and water intermix in the ceremony. Want true life? Stay with God. The Old Testament prophets had visions of water. Ezekiel in chapter 47, envisions water flowing from the altar and Temple, and filling the world with life.
Ever gone camping, or traveled to a country without electricity? When the sun goes down it gets dark. In the Temple, I am told they had 4, 75-foot-high candelabras.
Why? To remind people how God had led them in the darkness of the wilderness with Pillars of Fire (see Exodus 13). To remind them that God’s salvation would shine forth.
I read that during Jesus’ day, all the Jerusalem hills would be ablaze and you could see the light all the way to Galilee.
There is much to this Festival. Here is a Five Minute Video if you want to learn a bit more.
Today we read that Jesus very intentionally, and somewhat alone, went to this very important festival.
John in his Gospel never has “filler material”. The importance of this trip by Jesus will become apparent.