Sometime later when the Feast of Tabernacles was approaching, Jesus’ brothers found Him and mockingly suggested that, if He were going to become king, He should go where the crowds are, to Jerusalem. (None of His siblings believed who He was at this point.) Jesus told them to go on without Him because it wasn’t time for Him to go. “You go have a good time,” He told them. “You won’t face any trouble, but I will when I go because I am publicly pointing out what’s wrong with their lives.” They went on ahead, but He remained in Galilee a few more days. Then Jesus and His disciples made their way south through Samaria, hoping to attend the Feast secretly.
He sent a couple of disciples ahead to prepare a place for them to eat and rest, but the residents of that village refused to welcome them. James and John were furious and asked Jesus if they should, like Elijah of old, command fire to come down from heaven and consume them.
Jesus, however, rebuked them saying, “Certainly not. I have not come to destroy but to save men’s lives.” So they proceeded on to another place.
Along the road they encountered a scribe who boldly proclaimed that he would follow Jesus to the ends of the earth. Jesus warned him that it was no easy life he’d be signing up for. “I can’t even find a room for the night,” He said. “Even the wild animals have it better off than Me right now.”
Jesus invited another in the crowd to follow Him. The man showed some interest but said he would have to wait until his obligations at home were taken care of. “There are plenty of others,” Jesus answered, “who can take care of those earthly matters. You should be out proclaiming what really matters: the Kingdom of God.”
Another claimed he would follow Jesus but gave the excuse that he needed just a little more time with his family and friends back home. Jesus warned him that if he left the fields now, having already begun “plowing” with Him, he’s simply not the kind who can enter the Kingdom of God.
Before arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus was the main topic of conversation. Everyone was on the lookout for Him. The people had mixed opinions about Him, some saying He was good while others felt that He was deceiving the people. None of this talk went on openly because they knew the Jewish leaders were out to get Him.
Halfway through the feast (it lasted eight days), Jesus went to the Temple and began teaching. Again, they marveled at His ability to explain things so well, especially since He had never had formal training. What happened next was rather interesting.
Jesus made a point of explaining that His “great teaching” wasn’t something He came up with but that He was only passing on to them what the One who sent Him wanted Him to teach. “Why do you want to kill Me when you hold Moses up in such high esteem even though you don’t obey what he taught either?”
The crowd reacted with, “You’re crazy! Who’s trying to kill You?”
Jesus said, “I healed a man on the Sabbath and this astonished you. But you break the Sabbath all the time when, to fulfill the circumcision command, you have to perform the task on a Sabbath. If you do this for a routine practice, why do you get so upset when, on the Sabbath, I make a man completely well? If you just think this through sensibly, you’ll have to agree that I’m right.”
Now some in the crowd spoke up, saying, “Isn’t this the One the Jews are trying to kill? Here He is teaching in public, and they’re not doing anything about it. Have the rulers come to the conclusion that He is the Messiah after all? But that couldn’t be because we know where He came from. They say that the true Messiah will appear mysteriously, no one knowing where He comes from.”
“Yes, you know Me and My upbringing, but you don’t really know Who sent Me because you don’t know Him. I do know Him and am here because He sent Me to you,” was Jesus’ response.
“Really,” the crowd began to wonder, “what more could the Messiah do than this Man has done so far?” And some believed. But when the Pharisees saw what was going on, they sent some officers to apprehend Him.
Jesus told the crowd, “I won’t be around much longer. I’m going back where I came from and you can’t get there from here.”
This really had them bewildered. “Where could He possibly go that we wouldn’t find Him?” they asked. “Is He going to other countries, looking for Jews scattered among the nations? And what does He mean that we can’t follow Him where He’s going?”