Jesus and his brothers
1 After this, Jesus visited many places in Galilee. He did not want to visit Judea because the Jewish leaders there wanted to kill him. 2 It was almost time for the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles. 3 So Jesus' brothers said to him, ‘You should leave this place and you should go to Judea. Then your disciples will see the great things that you do. 4 Nobody does things secretly if he wants everyone to know him. You are doing these things, so you should show yourself to everybody.’ 5 Even his own brothers did not believe in him.
7:2The Festival of Tabernacles continued for a week. See Leviticus 23:34, where it is called the Feast of Huts. The people built huts from branches and they lived in these small huts during the festival. This helped them to remember what God had done. A long time before this, their ancestors had left Egypt and they had lived in huts like this. God had brought them out of Egypt so that they did not have to be slaves there any longer. The festival happened each year, after Israel's people had brought in all the harvest from the fields. It was a time for the people to thank God because he was so good to them.
6 So Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the right time for me yet. For you, any time is right. 7 People who belong to this world cannot hate you. But they hate me. The things that they do are very bad. And I tell them that those things are wrong. That is why they hate me. 8 You should go to the festival. I will not go to it now, because it is not the right time for me yet.’ 9 After Jesus said this, he stayed in Galilee.
Jesus goes to the Festival of Tabernacles
10 Some time after his brothers had gone, Jesus also went to the festival. But he did not let other people know that he was going. Instead, he went secretly. 11 The Jewish leaders were looking for him at the festival. They asked, ‘Where is that man?’ 12 People in the crowd were talking quietly to each other about Jesus. Some people said, ‘He is a good man.’ But other people said, ‘No, he is telling the people things that are not true.’ 13 But nobody spoke clearly about him, because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.
14 When about half of the time for the festival had passed, Jesus went to God's Great House. He started to teach in the yard there. 15 The Jewish leaders were very surprised. They asked, ‘How does this man know so much? He has not learned in our schools.’ 16 Jesus answered, ‘What I teach does not come from me. No, it comes from the one who sent me. 17 Some people choose to do what God wants. Those people will know about what I teach. They will know whether it comes from God, or whether it comes from my own thoughts. 18 A person who teaches his own ideas wants people to think that he himself is great. But I want to show that the one who sent me is great. A person like that is honest and there is nothing false in him. 19 Moses gave God's Law to you. But not one of you obeys that Law. Why are you trying to kill me?’
20 The crowd answered, ‘You have a demon in you! Nobody is trying to kill you!’
21 Jesus replied, ‘I did one miracle on the day for rest, and all of you were surprised. 22 Moses gave you a law that you must circumcise your sons. Your ancestors taught that, even before Moses was born. So, you will agree to circumcise a boy, even on the day for rest. 23 You will do that so that you obey Moses' law. So, you should not be angry with me because I made a man completely well on the day for rest. 24 Do not quickly decide whether something is right or wrong just because of what you see. Instead, think about it carefully. Then you will decide in a right way.’
7:22God had told Israel's people that they must circumcise every boy. To circumcise means to cut off the skin that covers the end of a boy's or a man's sex part. It was a mark to show that Israel's people had agreed to obey God. It showed that they belonged to God's people, Israel. They circumcised a boy eight days after he was born. Even if the eighth day was their day for rest, they circumcised the baby on that day.
The people talk about whether Jesus is the Messiah
25 Some of the people in Jerusalem began to say, ‘This is the man that our leaders want to kill. 26 But look! He is speaking to the crowds, and the leaders are not saying anything against him! Perhaps they think that he is really the Messiah! 27 But we know where this man came from. When the Messiah comes, nobody will know that. Nobody will know where he has come from.’
28 Jesus was still teaching in the yard of God's Great House. He shouted, ‘Yes, that's right! You say that you know me. And you know where I came from. But I have not come because I myself decided to come. He who sent me is true. You do not know him. 29 But I know him because I have come from him. He is the one who sent me.’ 30 When they heard this, they tried to take hold of him. But nobody could put their hands on him, because it was not yet the right time. 31 But many people in the crowd believed in Jesus. They said, ‘This man has done so many miracles. Surely he is the Messiah! Nobody could do more miracles than he has done.’
32 The Pharisees heard what these people were saying quietly about Jesus. Then the leaders of the priests and the Pharisees sent some of their officers to take him away.
33 Jesus said, ‘I will be with you for only a short time. Then I will return to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me. You cannot go to the place where I will be.’ 35 The Jewish leaders asked each other, ‘What is he trying to tell us? Where can he go so that we cannot find him? Perhaps he will go to our people who have gone away to live among the Greek people. Perhaps he will go to teach the Greek people. 36 He said, “You will look for me, but you will not find me.” And he also said, “You cannot go to the place where I will be.” What does he mean?’
7:35Greek people come from the country called Greece. When Jesus lived on the earth, Greek people also lived in many other countries.
Streams of water that give life to people
37 The last day of the festival was the most important day. On that day, Jesus stood up and he spoke with a loud voice. He said, ‘If anyone is thirsty, he should come to me so that he may drink. 38 It says in the Bible, “God will cause streams of water to pour out from anyone who believes in me. Water that gives life will come out from inside that person.” ’ 39 Jesus was speaking about God's Spirit, who would come to people some time after that. Those people who believed in Jesus would receive God's Spirit at that later time. But God had not given his Spirit to people yet, because he had not raised Jesus back up to heaven yet.
7:39Many verses in the Old Testament speak about ‘water’ that gives us life. See Isaiah 44:3; 58:11 and Zechariah 13:1; 14:8. The Jews would read these verses aloud at the Festival of Tabernacles.
The people argue about who Jesus really is
40 The people in the crowd heard Jesus say these words. Some of them said, ‘This man really must be the Prophet from God that we have been waiting for!’ 41 Other people said, ‘This man is the Messiah.’ But some other people said, ‘The Messiah will not come from Galilee! 42 The Bible says that the Messiah will come from King David's family. He will come from Bethlehem, the town where David lived.’ 43 In this way the people had different thoughts about Jesus. 44 Some people wanted to take hold of him. But nobody could put their hands on him to take him away.
7:42The Bible that the Jews read was the Old Testament.
45 The officers returned to the leaders of the priests and the Pharisees. The leaders asked their officers, ‘Why did you not bring Jesus here?’ 46 The officers answered, ‘Nobody has ever spoken great things like this man speaks.’ 47 The Pharisees replied, ‘He seems to have made you believe his lies! 48 None of the Pharisees or our leaders believe in him. 49 But this crowd does not know what God's Law teaches. God will surely punish them.’
50 Nicodemus spoke to them. He himself was one of the Pharisees. He was the man who had gone to speak with Jesus before. He said, 51 ‘We must find out first what this man has done. Then we can decide if it is right to punish him. Our law says that we must listen to him first.’ 52 They answered Nicodemus, ‘Perhaps you come from Galilee, as well as him! Study what the Bible teaches. You will learn that no prophet of God ever comes from Galilee.’ 53 [Then everyone went to his own home.]
7:53Many old translations do not have this verse.