John  ◦   Chapter 7

1After Jesus had said this, he stayed around Galilee, purposely avoiding Judea, because the Jews there were so upset by what he said that they were waiting to kill him.2But as the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles approached,3Jesus' brothers said to him, "You should leave here and go to Judea; there are much larger crowds there and you can attract many more followers with the miracles you perform.4If you want to become popular with the people, you have to stop being so quiet and unassuming, or no one will notice you. Since you are doing these things, start doing them more publicly, and your name will be known around the world."5His brothers said this because they did not understand the true nature of his mission and did not trust him to make wise decisions.

6Therefore Jesus told them, "It is not time for me to draw more attention to myself or my ministry; but you can draw attention to yourselves anytime you like.7The people of the world will not hate you, because you share their values, and — like them — you prefer power, pomp, might, and intimidation; but they hate me because my life exposes their ways as unhealthy and destructive.8You go on to the Feast. I am not going, because the right time for me to go has not yet come."9After saying this, Jesus stayed in Galilee.

10However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, Jesus decided to go; but he went quietly, without drawing any attention to himself.11The Jews were expecting him to come to the Feast, and were asking, "Where is this man Jesus?"

12Rumors and gossip about him were spreading through the crowds. Some said, "He is a good man;" others replied, "No! He's a liar and deceiver, and only fools would believe him."13But no one would speak openly about him for fear of what the Jewish religious leaders might do.

14It wasn't until the Feast was halfway over that Jesus went up to the temple courts and began to teach.15After hearing his eloquence and depth of scriptural knowledge, the Jewish religious leaders were bewildered and asked, "How is it possible that this man could know so much about the Scriptures without having ever gone to one of our seminaries and been properly taught by us?"

16Jesus heard their questioning and answered, "What I teach is not of my own creation or devising. My teaching comes directly from my Father who sent me.17If anyone chooses to follow God's will, they will discover that the healing power of my teaching comes directly from God, and they will know that I don't speak to promote myself.18Someone who speaks about self does so only to promote self, but one who presents the beauty and truth of God’s character and methods is a person of purity and honesty; there is nothing deceitful or dangerous about them.19Has not Moses given you the law of love–the principles of selflessness upon which life is based? Yet not one of you values or practices the principles of love. Instead, you practice the principles of selfishness. Why don't you value God's methods of love? Why are you trying to kill me?"

20The crowd was stunned by his keen discernment and simple honesty, yet they continued to hide their true heart's desire and said, "You are either crazy or possessed by a demon. Who do you think is trying to kill you?"

21Then Jesus said to them, "I performed one miracle to heal a man on the Sabbath, and you are all shocked as if I have done some horrible act.22Yet, because Moses codified circumcision (even though circumcision really did not come from Moses but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath.23Now, if a child can be circumcised–which is only a symbol of God's plan to heal the heart–on the Sabbath so that the ordinances Moses instituted won't be broken, why are you angry at me for healing the entire man on the Sabbath?24Stop valuing symbols and rituals over God's children; learn what really matters in God's kingdom."

25With that, some of the people of Jerusalem had their minds aroused and began to ask, "Isn't this the man the religious leaders are trying to kill?26Here he is, speaking openly in the temple, and they don't say anything to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ?"27But others countered, "We know where this man is from; but no one is supposed to know where the real Christ is from."

28Jesus was still teaching in the temple courts, and when he heard what the crowds were saying, he proclaimed, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from, and because of this you close your minds and fail to realize that I am not here on my own but am the ambassador of the Father who sent me. He sent me because you do not know him;29but I know him because I am from him, and he sent me to reveal his true nature and character to you."

30When the religious leaders and some in the crowd heard this, they became enraged and tried to seize him, but no one could touch him because his mission was not yet complete and the time of his death had not yet come.31But many in the crowd ignored the protests of the religious leaders and put their trust in him. They said, "When the Christ does come, will he do more miracles than this man?"

32The religious leaders (known as the Pharisees, and preoccupied with rules and performance) heard the crowd whispering such things about Jesus and became fearful that they would lose power and control over the people. So, together with the chief priests, sent the temple guard to arrest him.

33Jesus was still teaching in the temple and said, "I am here with you for only a short time, and then I will return to my Father who sent me.34You will search for me not because you have come to love and trust me, but in order to further interfere with my mission to restore the world, therefore you will not be able to find me; and where I am going you will not be able to come."

35The Jews said to each other, "What is he talking about? Where does he think he can go that we won't be able to find him? Will he go to Greece and hide among the Jews scattered there?36What did he mean when he said, 'You will search for me not because you have come to love and trust me, but in order to further interfere with my mission to restore the world, therefore, you will not be able to find me,' and 'where I am going, you will not be able to come?'

37On the last and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice: "If anyone is thirsty for truth, love and freedom; if anyone is parched for health of mind, happiness, contentment and joy, let them come to me and drink freely of the healing Remedy.38Whoever trusts me and opens their mind, and partakes of the truth I bring, they will have the healing truth and love of God — as the Scriptures say — ‘like streams of living water, flow from within them.‘"39By this he meant the Spirit of love and truth — who heals the mind and heart — recreating Godlike character within, which those who trust in him would receive later. Up to this time, the Spirit had not been received, because Jesus had not yet fully revealed the selfless character of God, and the people had not yet surrendered their hearts to him.

40On hearing what he said, some of the people remarked, "This must certainly be Moses the Prophet."

41But others countered, "No! He is the Christ." And others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee?42Doesn't the Scripture teach that the Christ will come from the line of David, and be born in Bethlehem?"43Thus the people were confused and divided on whether to trust Jesus or not.44Some even wanted to seize him and put him in jail, but no one touched him.

45Finally, the temple guards who had been listening to Jesus' teaching went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why didn't you arrest him and bring him back here like we told you?"

46The guards responded, "We have never heard anyone speak the way this man speaks."

47The Pharisees were incensed, and with disgust in their voice, countered: "You mean you are so foolish that you have been deceived by him?48Have any of the rulers or religious leaders or Pharisees believed the garbage he is spreading?49No! But this uneducated, simple-minded mob, that has no clue about what the law teaches, thinks he is something special–well, curse them all!"

50Nicodemus, who had previously gone to Jesus, and who was one of the Pharisees, asked,51"Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing what they have to say, and without examining the evidence to find out what they are doing?"

52They replied, "Are you a Galilean also? Then why don't you go and investigate, and you will discover that prophets do not come from Galilee."

53Then they each went to their own home.