After this, Jesus stayed in Galilee, going from village to village. He wanted to stay out of Judea where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death.
But soon it was time for the Festival of Shelters,
and Jesus' brothers urged him to go to Judea for the celebration. "Go where your followers can see your miracles!" they scoffed.
"You can't become a public figure if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, prove it 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, and it will make no difference. 7The world can't hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of sin and evil. 8You go on. I am not yet a ready to go to this festival, because my time has not yet come." 9
So Jesus remained in Galilee.
But after his brothers had left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying 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 discussion about him among the crowds. Some said, "He's a wonderful man," while others said, "He's nothing but a fraud, deceiving the people."
But no one had the courage to speak favorably 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 Jewish leaders were surprised when they heard him. "How does he know so much when he hasn't studied everything we've studied?" they asked.
So Jesus told them, "I'm not teaching my own ideas, but those of God who sent me. 17Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. 18Those who present their own ideas are looking for praise for themselves, but those who seek to honor the one who sent them are good and genuine. 19None of you obeys the law of Moses! In fact, you are trying to kill me."20
The crowd replied, "You're demon possessed! Who's trying to kill you?"
Jesus replied, "I worked on the Sabbath by healing a man, and you were offended. 22But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses' law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision is older than the law of Moses; it goes back to Abraham.)
23For 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 I be condemned for making a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24Think this through and you will see that I am right."25
Some of the people who lived there in Jerusalem said among themselves, "Isn't this the man they are trying to kill?
But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Can it be that our leaders know that he really is the Messiah?
But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; 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 represent one you don't know, and he is true. 29I know him because I have come from him, and he sent me to you." 30
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 murmuring such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.
But Jesus told them, "I will be here a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. 34You will search for me but not find me. And you won't be able to come where I am."35
The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. "Where is he planning to go?" they asked. "Maybe he is thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands, or maybe even to the Gentiles!
What does he mean when he says, 'You will search for me but not find me,' and 'You won't be able to come where I am'?"37
On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "If you are thirsty, come to me! 38If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within." b39
(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, "This man surely is the Prophet." c41
Others said, "He is the Messiah." Still others said, "But 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." d43
So the crowd was divided in their opinion about him.
And some wanted him arrested, but no one touched him.
The Temple guards who had been sent to arrest him returned to the leading priests and Pharisees. "Why didn't you bring him in?" they demanded.
"We have never heard anyone talk like this!" the guards responded.
"Have you been led astray, too?" the Pharisees mocked.
"Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him?
These ignorant crowds do, but what do they know about it? A curse on them anyway!"
Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, then 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 ever comes from Galilee!"
Then the meeting broke up and everybody went home.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)