Later Jesus was going about his business in Galilee. He didn't want to travel in Judea because the Jews there were looking for a chance to kill him.
It was near the time of Tabernacles, a feast observed annually by the Jews.
His brothers said, "Why don't you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do?
No one who intends to be publicly known does everything behind the scenes. If you're serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world."
His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn't believe in him either.
Jesus came back at them, "Don't crowd me. This isn't my time. It's your time - it's always your time; you have nothing to lose.
The world has nothing against you, but it's up in arms against me. It's against me because I expose the evil behind its pretensions.
You go ahead, go up to the Feast. Don't wait for me. I'm not ready. It's not the right time for me."
He said this and stayed on in Galilee.
But later, after his family had gone up to the Feast, he also went. But he kept out of the way, careful not to draw attention to himself.
The Jews were already out looking for him, asking around, "Where is that man?"
There was a lot of contentious talk about him circulating through the crowds. Some were saying, "He's a good man." But others said, "Not so. He's selling snake oil."
This kind of talk went on in guarded whispers because of the intimidating Jewish leaders.
With the Feast already half over, Jesus showed up in the Temple, teaching.
The Jews were impressed, but puzzled: "How does he know so much without being schooled?"
Jesus said, "I didn't make this up. What I teach comes from the One who sent me.
Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it's from God or whether I'm making it up.
A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the one who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn't tamper with reality.
It was Moses, wasn't it, who gave you God's Law? But none of you are living it. So why are you trying to kill me?"
The crowd said, "You're crazy! Who's trying to kill you? You're demon-possessed."
Jesus said, "I did one miraculous thing a few months ago, and you're still standing around getting all upset, wondering what I'm up to.
Moses prescribed circumcision - originally it came not from Moses but from his ancestors - and so you circumcise a man, dealing with one part of his body, even if it's the Sabbath.
You do this in order to preserve one item in the Law of Moses. So why are you upset with me because I made a man's whole body well on the Sabbath?
Don't be nitpickers; use your head - and heart! - to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right."
That's when some of the people of Jerusalem said, "Isn't this the one they were out to kill?
And here he is out in the open, saying whatever he pleases, and no one is stopping him. Could it be that the rulers know that he is, in fact, the Messiah?
And yet we know where this man came from. The Messiah is going to come out of nowhere. Nobody is going to know where he comes from."
That provoked Jesus, who was teaching in the Temple, to cry out, "Yes, you think you know me and where I'm from, but that's not where I'm from. I didn't set myself up in business. My true origin is in the One who sent me, and you don't know him at all.
I come from him - that's how I know him. He sent me here."
They were looking for a way to arrest him, but not a hand was laid on him because it wasn't yet God's time.
Many from the crowd committed themselves in faith to him, saying, "Will the Messiah, when he comes, provide better or more convincing evidence than this?"
The Pharisees, alarmed at this seditious undertow going through the crowd, teamed up with the high priests and sent their police to arrest him.
Jesus rebuffed them: "I am with you only a short time. Then I go on to the One who sent me.
You will look for me, but you won't find me. Where I am, you can't come."
The Jews put their heads together. "Where do you think he is going that we won't be able to find him? Do you think he is about to travel to the Greek world to teach the Jews?
What is he talking about, anyway: 'You will look for me, but you won't find me,' and 'Where I am, you can't come'?"
On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says."
(He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)
Those in the crowd who heard these words were saying, "This has to be the Prophet."
Others said, "He is the Messiah!" But others were saying, "The Messiah doesn't come from Galilee, does he?
Don't the Scriptures tell us that the Messiah comes from David's line and from Bethlehem, David's village?"
So there was a split in the crowd over him.
Some went so far as wanting to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him.
That's when the Temple police reported back to the high priests and Pharisees, who demanded, "Why didn't you bring him with you?"
The police answered, "Have you heard the way he talks? We've never heard anyone speak like this man."
The Pharisees said, "Are you carried away like the rest of the rabble?
You don't see any of the leaders believing in him, do you? Or any from the Pharisees?
It's only this crowd, ignorant of God's Law, that is taken in by him - and damned."
Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus earlier and was both a ruler and a Pharisee, spoke up.
"Does our Law decide about a man's guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?"
But they cut him off. "Are you also campaigning for the Galilean?
Examine the evidence. See if any prophet ever comes from Galilee." Then they all went home.
Jesus went across to Mount Olives,
but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.
The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone
and said, "Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery.
Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?"
They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, "The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone."
Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone.
Jesus stood up and spoke to her. "Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?"
"No one, Master." "Neither do I," said Jesus. "Go on your way. From now on, don't sin." You're Missing God in All This
Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in."
The Pharisees objected, "All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on."
Jesus replied, "You're right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I've come from and where I go next. You don't know where I'm from or where I'm headed.
You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don't make judgments like that.
But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn't make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father.
That fulfills the conditions set down in God's Law: that you can count on the testimony of two witnesses.
And that is what you have: You have my word and you have the word of the Father who sent me."
They said, "Where is this so-called Father of yours?" Jesus said, "You're looking right at me and you don't see me. How do you expect to see the Father? If you knew me, you would at the same time know the Father."
He gave this speech in the Treasury while teaching in the Temple. No one arrested him because his time wasn't yet up.
Then he went over the same ground again. "I'm leaving and you are going to look for me, but you're missing God in this and are headed for a dead end. There is no way you can come with me."
The Jews said, "So, is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by 'You can't come with me'?"
Jesus said, "You're tied down to the mundane; I'm in touch with what is beyond your horizons. You live in terms of what you see and touch. I'm living on other terms.
I told you that you were missing God in all this. You're at a dead end. If you won't believe I am who I say I am, you're at the dead end of sins. You're missing God in your lives."
They said to him, "Just who are you anyway?"
I have so many things to say that concern you, judgments to make that affect you, but if you don't accept the trustworthiness of the One who commanded my words and acts, none of it matters. That is who you are questioning - not me but the One who sent me."
They still didn't get it, didn't realize that he was referring to the Father.
So Jesus tried again. "When you raise up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am - that I'm not making this up, but speaking only what the Father taught me.
The One who sent me stays with me. He doesn't abandon me. He sees how much joy I take in pleasing him."
When he put it in these terms, many people decided to believe.
Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. "If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure.
Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you."
Surprised, they said, "But we're descendants of Abraham. We've never been slaves to anyone. How can you say, 'The truth will free you'?"
Jesus said, "I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave.
A slave is a transient, who can't come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house.
So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.
I know you are Abraham's descendants. But I also know that you are trying to kill me because my message hasn't yet penetrated your thick skulls.
I'm talking about things I have seen while keeping company with the Father, and you just go on doing what you have heard from your father."
They were indignant. "Our father is Abraham!"
And yet here you are trying to kill me, a man who has spoken to you the truth he got straight from God! Abraham never did that sort of thing.
You persist in repeating the works of your father." They said, "We're not bastards. We have a legitimate father: the one and only God."
"If God was your father," said Jesus, "you would love me, for I came from God and arrived here. I didn't come on my own. He sent me.
Why can't you understand one word I say? Here's why: You can't handle it.
You're from your father, the Devil, and all you want to do is please him. He was a killer from the very start. He couldn't stand the truth because there wasn't a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies.
I arrive on the scene, tell you the plain truth, and you refuse to have a thing to do with me.
Can any one of you convict me of a single misleading word, a single sinful act? But if I'm telling the truth, why don't you believe me?
Anyone on God's side listens to God's words. This is why you're not listening - because you're not on God's side."
The Jews then said, "That clinches it. We were right all along when we called you a Samaritan and said you were crazy - demon-possessed!"
Jesus said, "I'm not crazy. I simply honor my Father, while you dishonor me.
I am not trying to get anything for myself. God intends something gloriously grand here and is making the decisions that will bring it about.
I say this with absolute confidence. If you practice what I'm telling you, you'll never have to look death in the face."
At this point the Jews said, "Now we know you're crazy. Abraham died. The prophets died. And you show up saying, 'If you practice what I'm telling you, you'll never have to face death, not even a taste.'
Are you greater than Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you think you are!"
Jesus said, "If I turned the spotlight on myself, it wouldn't amount to anything. But my Father, the same One you say is your Father, put me here at this time and place of splendor.
You haven't recognized him in this. But I have. If I, in false modesty, said I didn't know what was going on, I would be as much of a liar as you are. But I do know, and I am doing what he says.
Abraham - your 'father' - with jubilant faith looked down the corridors of history and saw my day coming. He saw it and cheered."
The Jews said, "You're not even fifty years old - and Abraham saw you?"
"Believe me," said Jesus, "I am who I am long before Abraham was anything."
That did it - pushed them over the edge. They picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the Temple.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)