Summary: First of 5 on the Jesus Controversy. Key Understanding: God is expressed in Jesus It’s not the teaching, the philosophy, or the concepts of love and compassion that made Jesus controversial. It’s the person.

4/18/04 – It’s All in the Timing

The Feast of Shelters

Slide #1

The Feast of the Shelters was the third of the great annual festivals

In the Jewish tradition there are several feasts. These events are a sort of religious holiday where several days are given to the celebration of life and the worship of God.

Some we are at least somewhat familiar with because of their connection to significant Christian days of celebration. Passover is forever connected to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is connected theologically to our understanding being redeemed by way of the life sacrifice of Jesus.

One lesser known feast is called the “Feast of the Shelters” It was celebrated immediately after the harvest. For eight days the people left their homes and lived in booths formed of the branches of trees. This feast was designed first to be a memorial of the wilderness wanderings, when the people dwelt in temporary shelters rather than permanent homes (Lev. 23:43), and second to be a harvest thanksgiving (Neh. 8:9–18).

During the time of Jesus’ ministry “The feast of Shelters” also known as the “feast of tabernacles” or the “feast of booths” at the time of the annual harvest was the most popular and important festival after the Captivity. In Jerusalem it was a great party. It was probably a lot like a religious Octoberfest. (Wrap your mind around that image!) Picture a city of rooftops (remember they are flat and used as an extra room) courtyards, streets, squares, roads, and gardens filled with green branches fashioned into shelters where every one lived for a week and a day.

A city of filled with homeless people!!! It was this festival that was about to take place when John records the many responses to the message of Jesus in the seventh chapter…

The Controversial Jesus

Slide #2

It is the life transforming power of God in the body of the man Jesus that creates the controversial Messiah.

Key Understanding: God is expressed in Jesus

It’s not the teaching, the philosophy, or the concepts of love and compassion that made Jesus controversial.

It’s not the miracles, the healings, or even the commanding presence of his personality.

It is the message – the Seven “I Am…”’s of Jesus

I am the bread of life - John 6:35

I am the light of the World – John 8:12

I am the gate – John 10:7

I am the good shepherd – John 10:11

I am the Resurrection and the Life – John 11:25

I am the way, the truth and the life – John 14:6

I am the vine, you are the branches – John 15:1

The results are several and they are clearly in this seventh chapter of John.

Five Responses to Jesus


John 7:1

1After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He did not want to travel in Judea, because the Jews there wanted to kill him.

Slide #3

There were some who were directly challenged by Jesus. The crowds he drew to himself were the very people they looked as their own. Jesus challenged their influence, their power, and their position of wealth. That is the best way I know of getting knocked off.

Think of these guys as the religious Mafioso of the time. They were going to keep their hands clean but they were going to make sure that someone took care of Jesus. The trick was to do it in such a way that they discredited him. No one wanted to make Jesus a hero by making him a martyr.

Five Responses to Jesus


John 7:3-5

3 So Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You should leave here and go to Judea so your followers there can see the miracles you do. 4 Anyone who wants to be well known does not hide what he does. If you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”

Slide #4

Even Jesus own brothers didn’t believe. They had grown up with him. Later they would believe (James, the brother of Jesus, became the Pastor of the church in Jerusalem) but now they did not.

It isn’t really all that surprising. If a prophet is without honor in his own country then a brother is without good judgment with his own people.

Jesus’ own brothers rejected the evidence of His works, and taunted Him. Why don’t you go on down to the party in Jerusalem and do some miracles? It would be a great place to get your campaign going to get elected “King”!

That’s one response…

Five Responses to Jesus


John 7:12

12 Within the large crowd there, many people were whispering to each other about Jesus. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others said, “No, he fools the people.”

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