In a move inspired by financial repackagings, experimented with more leftover-stuff-in-cookies. Following the popularity of the bak kwa cookies, this installment we have: laksa cookies – lemak spicy savoury shortbread.
Brought them with me to the evening’s Bible study on John 7, where, ugly as they were, the cookies were given the thumbs up.
John 7 stands as testament against anyone who says, “If only God revealed himself to me clearly, I would believe in him.” If anything is clear, it is that when God reveals himself clear, the best and most learned of us reject him even more violently.
It’s significant that John 7 takes place during the Feast of Booths or Feast of the Tabernacles. This festival was instituted even before Israel got into the Promised Land! It was another of those amazing signs that the eventuality of their entry was so certain, because God had promised it, that all that remained was to be instructed what to do in it, and what festivals to celebrate.
At the Festival of Booths, they were to bring in the bountiful produce of the land (another wonderful assumption) and camp out, to remind themselves that they were dependent on God for rescue and salvation (Leviticus 23:42b-43, Deuteronomy 16:13-15). And for any Jew, the words “bread” (or manna) and “water” conjure up memories of how God provided for them in the wilderness after they were rescued from Egypt (see Exodus). This led to a Pharasaic (as opposed to Sadducee) tradition of water libation each morning of the Feast, with water drawn from the Pool of Siloam. One rabbinic authority based this on the promise of Isaiah 12:3:
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)
A few centuries later, Nehemiah, inspired by God, said that it was the Spirit who had instructed the people in their wanderings and it was the Spirit through the prophets who had warned the people as they stopped acknowledging God after they were settled in his promised land (Nehemiah 9:20,30).
And Zechariah, also inspired by God, prophesised that there would come a day, the eschatological end-time, when all the nations (not just Israel) would keep the Feast of Booths (Zechariah 14). This assumes a second rescue, another exodus, and this time, for all the peoples of the world.
So by the time of Jesus, when the Jews celebrated the Feast of the Booths, it wasn’t just commemorating a past rescue (the Exodus from Egypt), but looking forward to a future salvation, aided by the Spirit.
Can you imagine the great claim that Jesus was making then, when, perhaps in the middle of the water-drawing ceremony,
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. (John 7:37-38)
Now at the point, the Pharisees and the crowd had three choices: Jesus was either (i) a liar, (ii) a lunatic, or (iii) holy guacamole! Lord!
It would have been a fair fight between the choices if not for all the miracles (signs) he had already performed – turning water to wine, remote healing the official’s son, healing a long-term crippled man, feeding 5000, walking on water in a storm (see John 2-6). So much so that people believed him saying that the Christ would not have done more signs than Jesus (John 7:31).
They marvelled too at his authoritative teaching even though he never studied (John 7:15) and the officers sent to arrest him returned empty-handed because “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:48). This wasn’t the gift of the gab, this was authoritative revelation from the one who sent Jesus – God himself (John 7:16-18)
Well, we don’t really need Dr. Who to give us a ride to the first century to see Jesus in the flesh. The evidence is recorded in the Gospels, and witnessing all Jesus’ works and signs in person did the Pharisees (minus Nicodemus) no good.
The chapter ends with those Jewish leaders plotting to kill the very one the Feast of Booths was looking forward to – the one who would give them living water of salvation and the Spirit…
Laksa Cookie Recipe
50g dark brown sugar or caster sugar (or icing sugar if using top flour)
50g coconut oil
2 – 3 tbsp laksa paste
200g all-purpose flour (or top flour)