Friday after Jubilate
Scripture: St. John 7:37-53 (NKJV)
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 40 Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people because of Him.
44 Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him. 45 Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” 46 The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” 47 Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? 48 Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”
50 Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” 52 They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” 53 And everyone went to his own house.
Luther says regarding these verses, “This is not a physical thirst, such as is felt for beer or wine, but a thirst of the soul, a spiritual thirst, a heartfelt desire, yes, a distressed, wretched, terrified, and aroused conscience, a despondent and frightened heart which longs to know on what terms it is with God. Such is the timid, fainthearted conscience: it feels its sin; it is conscious of a weakness of spirit, soul, and flesh; it is aware of a menacing God; it fears God and sees His Law, wrath, judgment, death, and other penalties. Such anxiety marks the proper thirst. It is natural that people who live in fear, amid temptation and distress, are athirst by reason of their anxiety. For at such a time the tongue becomes parched, we grow feverish, our distress consumes the humors of our body, and this creates thirst. How much more will our soul grow thirsty from spiritual temptation, when sin and God’s wrath stare us in the face!”
These words are for the spiritually thirsty, those who languish under their sin and the weight of the Law. No longer do their spiritual lips need to remain parched and dry, but by the Word of God and the work of the Holy Ghost dwelling within them, rivers of living water well up in them and quench their thirst. The Holy Ghost proclaims into their hearts the promises of God and produces faith and trust to cling to those promises—of forgiveness from their sins and deliverance from the weight of the Law through the works of Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ has obeyed the Law that we were unable to obey perfectly, and He suffered our punishment on the Cross so that we might be free and have our spiritual thirst quenched.