THE TRINITY FROM GALILEE
Dr. Chuck DeVane, Pastor
Lake Hamilton Baptist Church
Hot Springs, Arkansas
July 19, 2020
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
— John 7:37-52, ESV
The Gospel of John sets out to prove at least two points about Jesus of Nazareth. Number one, He was, is, and always will be the Lord God (ref. 1:1-14, 10:30). Number two, He was, is, and always will be the promised Messiah, the Savior of God’s people (ref. 20:31, 4:42, 3:16). Jesus is Lord and Savior!
These points are hardly proven more plainly as on the last day of Jesus’ last Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus says things and things are said about Jesus that prove Jesus is Lord and Savior. They also provide a wide open window of opportunity to believe, to be saved, and to be sure of it.
The Trinity from Galilee
Part of the closing ceremony at the Feast of Tabernacles was the water ritual. The high priest would fill a golden bucket with water from the Pool of Siloam, then take it to the Temple and pour it out upon the altar. The celebration of water was a celebration of God, past and present and future. It remembered God’s past provision of water from the rock during the Exodus, it thanked God for the present water in the pools, rivers, and seas, and it trusted God for future water from the upcoming rains. Life depends upon water and water depends upon God; therefore, God is the giver of life, which is what the Jews celebrated at the Feast.
Now imagine yourself there, at the water libation ceremony, and this rumored Messiah or mad man, Jesus of Nazareth, stands up and shouts that He, the carpenter’s son from Galilee, is the supreme source of life-giving water. What was Jesus saying? He was saying that He was, is, and always will be God.
Jesus was saying He is the same as the Father. He gives life to those who believe in Him (ref. 10:30, 14:9). During the Exodus from Egypt to Israel, God gave the Jews water from the rock to keep them alive, otherwise they would have perished. Jesus is that God and that Rock. Now, He offers the living water of spiritual salvation so that people will not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus was saying He is the same as the Son, the Savior of the World. He saves those who believe in Him (ref. 3:16). The “thirst” Jesus mentions is soul thirst. J.C. Ryle described it as “anxiety of soul, conviction of sin, desire of pardon, and a longing for peace.” It is the desperate need for salvation, and Jesus’ name literally means “God saves.” This is why God sent His Son, to Israel, to the Feast, to the cross, and to the whole world.
Jesus was saying He is the same as the Spirit. And, He gives the Spirit to those who believe in Him (ref. 16:7ff). The text here does not say the Spirit is yet to exist, because the Spirit is God, and God has always existed. The Spirit was alive and well in the Old Covenant (ref. Psalm 51:1) and in the early days of the New Covenant (ref. Luke 1:15, 1:41, 2:25; John 1:32, 3:5, 3:34, etc.). Jesus was preaching evangelistically to unbelievers who had yet to receive the Spirit, because they had yet to glorify Jesus by acknowledging that He was, is, and always will be God.
You see, God has always been a single, supreme being who reveals Himself to man as a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Creation, the Father ordained it, the Son spoke it into existence, and the Spirit hovers over and maintains it. In re-creation, or salvation, the Father ordained it, the Son accomplished it, and the Spirit applies it to the human heart. The three work as one, and the three are one, and when you see, hear, or believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are receiving and putting your faith in the one, true, triune, and living God.
Jesus is God. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is the Trinity, from Galilee. Only, He was not actually born in Galilee, was He?
The Division over David
Of all of the men of God in the Old Testament, only one was prophet, priest, and king. His name was David Bar-Jesse, from the tribe of Judah. He prophetically preached the word of God and penned Holy Scripture. He provided priestly intercession for the people of Israel and was privy to the sacramental bread. And, he was the second and greatest King of Israel who led them to occupy all of the promised land (which was held only during his reign and that of his son, Solomon).
So great a man after God’s own heart was David, that God promised a descendent of David’s would be the promised Prophet, Priest, and King over Israel, the people of God, forever (ref. 2 Samuel 7:16-17). Of the three major Jewish feasts — Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles — the latter was infused with the most Davidic-Messianic fever.
So after Jesus’ bold pronouncement, the people speculated and separated. Some said Jesus was “the Prophet,” which is synonymous with others’ statement that Jesus was “the Christ,” the Messiah. Others, especially the religious rulers, said Jesus was an imposter and deceiver. After all, Jesus came from Galilee, and David was clearly a Judean, born in Bethlehem and died in Jerusalem.
In reality, so was Jesus. He was born in Bethlehem (ref. Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1ff; Luke 2:1ff) and He died in Jerusalem. And He was, according to the flesh, a descendent of David (ref. Matthew 1:1; Luke 3:31).
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Son of Man, a man named David. This makes Jesus the Messiah. This makes Jesus Lord and Savior. This makes Jesus Prophet and Priest and King. Jesus preached the God-honest truth, Jesus intercedes for sinners like you and me, and Jesus saves all those who crown Him king of their lives. But in our short lives there are small windows of opportunity to believe.
The Window of Opportunity
Jesus certainly stuck out His neck to preach the gospel at the Feast of Tabernacles. Already the plot was thick to have Him arrested and killed. It would have to thicken another six months before it could be accomplished.
Some at this Feast would not make it to the next Feast, the Passover. Some would never see, hear, or meet Jesus again. Nicodemus, the Pharisee who came to Jesus by night in the early days of Christ’s ministry, and who will appear again after His death on the cross, encouraged the leaders and the laypeople to give Jesus a hearing, now.
Thus says the Lord: “In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
— Isaiah 49:8
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
— 2 Corinthians 6:2
I believe in the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. I believe faith and repentance are gifts and commandments. I believe in election and evangelism.
And I believe when one hears the gospel of Jesus Christ, he or she must act with great urgency. It is a window of opportunity, and one never knows when the window will be closed. Today, you’ve attended the last day of the Feast with Jesus. There may not be another day.
Jesus Christ is either a liar, a lunatic, or He is Lord. Jesus Christ is either a mere mortal man with delusions of grandeur, or He is the promised Messiah and only Savior of the world. He speaks to us today as the embodiment of God and the giver of the Spirit. Listen to Him. Believe in Him. Accept Him as the Lord and Savior of your life and it is life you will have, forever, with the Trinity from Galilee.
Dr. Charles F. "Chuck" DeVane, Jr., is the Pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His weekly sermon article, "The Gospel Truth," has been published in newspapers in Arkansas and Georgia. Dr. DeVane is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has served in the pastorate for over 20 years. Contact Pastor Chuck at PastorChuck@lakehamiltonbaptistchurch.org