Jesus’ Passionate Cry – Then and Now
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified (John 7:37-39).
Discovering the passion of the Lord is an important quest for every believer, and certainly every pastor. I have come to believe Jesus is the most passionate leader the world has ever seen!
Jesus was passionate about Pentecost 2,000 years ago, and it has not waned to this day!
The word translated here as “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice,” is krazo. It shows the burning passion the Lord felt about His mission. He yelled it out, as if to entreat with bold exclamation. In doing so, He predicted a new beginning; the era of the Spirit in God’s dealings with man.
Ah! To discover the Lord’s passion about Pentecost.
The Apostle John did not want anyone to miss its meaning. Hence, he interpreted Jesus’ prophecy as the gift of the Holy Spirit that would be poured on thirsty people everywhere (see Isaiah 44:3). When the Lord yelled it out at the Feast of Tabernacles, He was identifying a spiritual need in the life of each of His followers: the indwelling Holy Spirit both counsels and empowers believers for Christian service. Jesus intended to meet this need with “the Spirit poured upon [them] from on high” (Isaiah 32:15).
The prophet Joel had prophesied the day was coming when the Spirit would be given to “all flesh” (Joel 2:28–29). John the Baptist foresaw it too, and said the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Matthew 3:11). Jesus the prophet joined rank with the prophets and enthusiastically announced the exciting news that He intended to fulfill these Old Covenant predictions.
What a privilege it would be to have Jesus physically present, living with each of His followers at all times. But this was not possible for the incarnate Messiah to do. What Jesus could not do in flesh and blood, He fulfills by giving the Holy Spirit to indwell each thirsty believer.
Hungering for God
“Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove the universe is a fraud. Probably, earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.” – C. S. Lewis
When the Lord yelled out this great truth about the Holy Spirit that was only a few months away from being fulfilled, it was only a prophecy. Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross followed by His glorification at His Father’s right hand would be required to swing wide this open door in the heart of God.
Without question, bundled into this loud shout is one of the greatest predictions Jesus-the-Prophet made. It foretold a new era in which the temple switched from a structure of stone, ornate with gold and silver, to the fleshly tablet of the heart. The prophecy forecast a fresh-from-heaven paradigm change. It would move the Most Holy Place from the temple to the inner being of Spirit-filled believers. This was a huge strategic move made by the master of strategic thinkers, and it changed the whole focus of how God is to be worshipped. God is looking for people who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth;” this, in fact, is what worship is all about in the New Covenant (John 4:23).
To this day, Jesus’ piercing, passionate cry pleads to be heard by all: “If any man thirsts let him come to me and drink…”
This was the heartfelt desire of Moses 1500 years earlier when he taught youthful Joshua an important life-lesson in the wilderness: “Would God that all of the Lord’s people were prophets and that he would put His Spirit upon them” (Numbers 11:29). Surely Joshua never forgot how Moses longed for every person in the twelve tribes to receive the same anointing of the Spirit he enjoyed.
THINK ABOUT IT: Have you received the baptism with the Holy Spirit? If not, are you thirsty, really thirsty, passionately thirsty?
John the Baptist made a bold, prophetic declaration about the gift of the Holy Spirit at Jordan River, saying, “[Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16 KJV). The Baptizer specifically foretold Jesus would be the baptizer.
John the Baptist’s assignment was to baptize in water (and it is ours too). Jesus’ mandate from His Father, however, was to baptize with the Holy Spirit (John 1:33–34; Matthew 28:16–20). This understanding helps us comprehend why Jesus never personally baptized anyone in water. John the Baptist could baptize in water but could not give a person living water, neither can any other spiritual leader in the Lord’s church. Only Jesus can do that.
Jesus’ voice rang out across the temple grounds as He yelled it out:
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.” 39 (He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him; but the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet returned to his glory in heaven (John 7:37 LB).
This water from heaven, which is the Holy Spirit and the third Person of the Trinity, has an inward and outward flow. The Spirit streams first from God into the temple-of-the-heart of a thirsty person. The outward flow follows. The Lord said, “Rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me” (John 7:38 LL). The great goal of these surging rivers is to make Jesus known worldwide (John 14:25).
THINK ABOUT IT: “If any man thirsts” embraces all people of every generation anywhere in the world, including the far flung islands of the seas (Acts 2:39; see Isaiah 41:1–4; 42:12; 49:1–6).
Jesus’ prophecy came true on the Day of Pentecost. It was a May/June festival, also known as the Feast of Weeks. Fifty days after the Lord’s crucifixion, one hundred twenty believers were assembled in the Upper Room. [Pentekostas is the Greek term for the numeral 50.] It happened in a spectacular manifestation from heaven that sounded like a rushing, mighty wind. Cloven tongues “as of fire” sat on each of them as the presence of the Spirit saturated the whole house (see Acts 2). They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke with new tongues.
The gift of the Holy Spirit completed the temple switch in the New Covenant. The new dwelling place of the Shekinah (the Spirit that settles down and dwells among us), moved from the temple made of stone to the fleshly temple of the heart. It also brought to fulfillment Joel’s prophecy, promising in the last days God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28–29; Isaiah 59:21; Acts 2:16–21).
Oh! To have the Lord’s loud yell leap off the pages of Holy Writ and grip us. Sense the powerful anointing present that historic day in the courtyard. Then perceive in your own life the authority of this profound prophecy fulfilled at Pentecost that birthed the era of the Church in salvation history.
Moses’ wish found its fulfillment after a fifteen century wait, when the Holy Spirit indwelt the believers in the Upper Room (Numbers 11:29). This also meant the Most Holy Place that was in the Temple, in the New Covenant had moved to the heart of Spirit filled believers. That historic development birthed a new form and era of worship. Millions around the globe at the same time can worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:23–24). This divine intervention of God in history at Pentecost made it possible for the gospel to go around the world.
THINK ABOUT IT: We should never minimize or take for granted the presence of God the Holy Spirit actively at work around the world, even in cultures where He is officially unwelcome. The Holy Spirit has never applied at the office of any Secretary of State for a visa to enter any country. The wind of the Spirit sovereignly continues to blows where he wills.
Jesus is as passionate about the gift of the Holy Spirit today as when He yelled out the prophecy at the high point of the Feast of Tabernacles. The blessing of the Holy Spirit continues to be available to the Lord’s thirsty followers. To commemorate this world-changing Pentecostal outpouring, the Feast of Weeks came to be identified in the church as the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost Sunday today is the big day of celebration and remembrance on the church calendar.
Yes, the paradigm change Jesus foretold on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles birthed the church in the story of salvation history.
Is it not easy to perceive why Jesus was and continues to feel so passionately about the gift of the Holy Spirit that first occurred at Pentecost two millennia ago.
Jesus’ promise also produced the Pentecostal outpouring at Azusa Street in Los Angeles at the start of the twentieth century. This revival has now spread around the world. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is this unstoppable stream of the “fountain that continues to flow out of the Lord’s house” (Joel 3:18).
“Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?”
Has the flaming fire of your own baptism with the Holy Spirit burned low so that there’s a huge gap between the intensity of Jesus’ passion today, and yours? If your answer is yes, will you meet your Lord again in your closet of prayer and rediscover Jesus’ passion?