Jesus traveled around Galilee, but stayed away from of Judea because the Jewish leaders there were plotting his death.
But soon it was time for the Festival of Tabernacles and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! You can’t become famous if you hide away like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.
Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. The world doesn’t hate you, but it hates me because I accuse it of doing evil. You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” And after telling them this, Jesus remained in Galilee.
But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, keeping out of public view. The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him.
There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” But no one had the courage to speak about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.
Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he’s never had an education?” they asked.
So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.”
The crowd replied, “You’re demon-possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?”
Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed. But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you criticize me for healing a man on the Sabbath? Look beneath the surface so that you can judge fairly.”
Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they were trying to kill? But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah? But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he comes from.”
While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.”
Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.
Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?”
When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were saying such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.
But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. You will search for me, but you won’t find me. And you can’t go where I’m going.”
The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks! What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?”
On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted out to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! And anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)
When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, “Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.”
Others said, “He is the Messiah.”
Still others said, “No, he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.” So the crowd was divided about him. Some even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him.
When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
“We’ve never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards replied.
“Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees retorted. “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”
Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.
They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet comes from Galilee!”
Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home.