Actually, the very first thoughts that come to my mind when I hear "scream" are thoughts of either frustration or fear. I don't think God experiences either of those sensations, though. I think a good case can be made that both are the result of lack of trust in God. We get frustrated because things don't go the way we want them to, not trusting God to provide for us, protect us and use all the circumstances in our life for our good and His glory. Or we do attempt to trust Him, but are wary of what He may do and whether or not we'll like it. If those are human responses, rising up out of self-centered flesh, then God would never scream.
Unless...God raised His voice because He had something important to say. Of course He would do it in a godly, holy and perfect way, not the way we would do it.
In John 7, Jesus is at the Feast of Booths (Feast of Tabernacles). The Feast, coming at the time of harvest for the grape and olive crops, lasted 7 days (really 8, the last day being a Sabbath) with activities and ceremonies becoming more and more vibrant every day. The 7th day was the biggest day of the biggest feast of the Jewish year.
There were two main celebrations that occurred on the 7th day, the Outpouring of the Water and the Illumination of the Temple. The Illumination of the Temple involved gigantic lamp stands being lit after hours of song, celebration and recitation. The light from the lamps lit up the Temple and much of the surrounding city. It was a reminder of the light that led the Jews through the wilderness. It also reminded them of the promise that God would send light and salvation throughout the world, starting right there in Jerusalem. It was a reminder of the promised Messiah.
The Outpouring of the Water was similar in nature. It brought back to mind and heart the water that flowed from the rock at
Meribah (Ex 17:1-7). It was also a celebration of God's provision. But, it also looked forward to the day God would pour out living waters, His Spirit, on the entire world (Zc 14:1-9). The priests would carry water from the Pool of Siloam and pour it out over that altar, mixing it with wine as an honor and a sacrifice to God for His provision in the past and His promise for the future. Both rituals were highly anticipated and attended by nearly everyone in Jerusalem for the feast, more than a million people.
It was during the Outpouring of the Water when it happened. Just as a priest was pouring the water and wine over the altar the crowd pressed into the temple, singing, praying, playing instruments, just as the priests were arrayed on the steps, singing and waving torches, leading more than a million people in joyous celebration to God...Jesus stood up and spoke. The ESV says He "cried out" (7:37), the NIV "loud voice". The Greek word is "ἔκραξεν". It describes an emphatic, emotional, loud proclamation...like the cry of a Raven.
Not in any worldly way you and I might scream. But, in a heavenly, holy way designed to gain and hold the attention of His children
The voice of Jesus rose above the din of the celebration, dominating the entire Temple, commanding the attention of everyone attending the feast. During one of the most beloved ceremonies, a ceremony designed to point toward the Messiah and the outpouring of God's Spirit on the entire world, Jesus appeared, right in the middle of everything at the precise moment everyone's attention is tightly focused...
and He screamed.
What He had to say, must have been important.
If there was ever a time for Jesus to tell us what was most important in our lives, most important in His incarnation...this was it. He could have said, "It's all about love, people!" He might have shouted, "Relationship....that's why I came!" This would have been the time to tell us, "I want you healthy, rich and comfortable! I want you to have the best, most successful, happiest life you can possibly have"
He could have said any of those things. But, in truth, all of them would have just fed the already self-centered, self-righteous, self-entitled egos of the leaders and many of the people gathered there. If He wanted to take the crowd in that direction, He could have simply said, "It's all about you!"
Instead, He screamed the most important, most valuable, most precious message He brought to His children, "If anyone thirsts, let Him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (Jn 7:37-38)
Aside from demonstrating that He was the object and focus of the feast, Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the source of living water, salvation. As for those that believe in Him, they will become vessels of that same salvation, witnesses to the Son-ship and Lordship of Christ, messengers of the gospel.
Something very similar happened, not much later, during the Illumination of the
Temple when Christ says, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life."
The focus is on Christ and the gospel, not on the benefits of a relationship with Him. The benefits are there, but the priority is on who Christ is and His call to carry the gospel to the world, regardless of the cost or even in the absence of any worldly benefit a relationship with Him may present.
The crowd wanted the benefits.
Because the crowd didn't get the message, not long afterward, they were calling for, demanding, screaming for His crucifixion...and not in any godly way.
In much the same way, God's words, the voice of Jesus Christ, rises up above the din of our lives, calling for our focus and our attention to be squarely on Him, not ourselves, calling us to become vessels of living, pouring water, salvation and grace. Calling us to a celebration that is all about Him and the transformation of His children into holy messengers of His saving grace.
I want to learn from the feast described in John 7 & 8. I want to learn that the greatest blessing is not in having my expectations and desires fulfilled, but in seeing the grace and love that was poured into me...poured out again.