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After these events, it was time for Jesus to move on. He began a long walk through the Galilean countryside. He was purposefully avoiding Judea because of the violent threats made against Him by the Jews there who wanted to kill Him. It was fall, the time of year when the Jews celebrated the Festival of Booths.

On this holiday, everyone camps in temporary quarters, called booths, to remember that God was with their ancestors when they wandered for 40 years without a home.

Brothers of Jesus (to Jesus): Let’s get out of here and go south to Judea so You can show Your disciples there what You are capable of doing. No one who seeks the public eye is content to work in secret. If You want to perform these signs, then step forward on the world’s stage; don’t hide up here in the hills, Jesus.

Jesus’ own brothers were speaking contemptuously; they did not yet believe in Him, just as the people in His hometown did not see Him as anything more than Joseph’s son.

Jesus: My time has not yet arrived; but for you My brothers, by all means, it is always the right time. You have nothing to worry about because the world doesn’t hate you, but it despises Me because I am always exposing the dark evil in its works. Go on to the feast without Me; I am not going right now because My time is not yet at hand.

This conversation came to an abrupt end, and Jesus stayed in Galilee 10 until His brothers were gone. Then He, too, went up to Jerusalem. But He traveled in secret to avoid drawing any public attention. 11 Some Jewish leaders were searching for Him at the feast and asking the crowds where they could find Him. 12 The crowds would talk in groups: some favored Jesus and thought He was a good man; others disliked Him and thought He was leading people astray. 13 All of these conversations took place in whispers. No one was willing to speak openly about Jesus for fear of the religious leaders.

14 In the middle of the festival, Jesus marched directly into the temple and started to teach. 15 Some of the Jews who heard Him were amazed at Jesus’ ability, and people questioned repeatedly:

Jews: How can this man be so wise about the Hebrew Scriptures? He has never had a formal education.

Jesus: 16 I do not claim ownership of My words; they are a gift from the One who sent Me. 17 If anyone is willing to act according to His purposes and is open to hearing truth, he will know the source of My teaching. Does it come from God or from Me? 18 If a man speaks his own words, constantly quoting himself, he is after adulation. But I chase only after glory for the One who sent Me. My intention is authentic and true. You’ll find no wrong motives in Me.

19 Moses gave you the law, didn’t he? Then how can you blatantly ignore the law and look for an opportunity to murder Me?

Notice how Jesus changes in tone and subject. This shift seems abrupt because the Pharisees’ plotting is yet to be exposed.

Crowd: 20 You must be possessed with a demon! Who is trying to kill You?

Jesus: 21 Listen, all it took was for Me to do one thing, heal a crippled man, and you all were astonished. 22 Don’t you remember how Moses passed down circumcision as a tradition of our ancestors? When you pick up a knife to circumcise on the Sabbath, isn’t that work? 23 If a male is circumcised on the Sabbath to keep the law of Moses intact, how can making one man whole on the Sabbath be a cause for your violent rage? 24 You should not judge by outward appearance. When you judge, search for what is right and just.

Some People of Jerusalem: 25 There is the man they are seeking to kill; surely He must be the one. 26 But here He is, speaking out in the open to the crowd, while they have not spoken a word to stop or challenge Him. Do these leaders now believe He is the Anointed One? 27 But He can’t be; we know where this man comes from, but the true origin of the Anointed will be a mystery to all of us.

Jesus (speaking aloud as He teaches on the temple’s porch): 28 You think you know Me and where I have come from, but I have not come here on My own. I have been sent by the One who embodies truth. You do not know Him. 29 I know Him because I came from Him. He has sent Me.

30 Some were trying to seize Him because of His words, but no one laid as much as a finger on Him—His time had not yet arrived. 31 In the crowd, there were many in whom faith was taking hold.

Believers in the Crowd: When the Anointed arrives, will He perform any more signs than this man has done?

32 Some Pharisees were hanging back in the crowd, overhearing the gossip about Him. The temple authorities and the Pharisees took action and sent officers to arrest Jesus.

Jesus: 33 I am going to be with you for a little while longer; then I will return to the One who sent Me. 34 You will look for Me, but you will not be able to find Me. Where I am, you are unable to come.

Some Jews in the Crowd (to each other): 35 Where could He possibly go that we could not find Him? You don’t think He’s about to go into the Dispersion[a] and teach our people scattered among the Greeks, do you? 36 What do you think He means, “You will look for Me, but you will not be able to find Me,” and, “Where I am, you are unable to come”?

37 On the last day, the biggest day of the festival, Jesus stood again and spoke aloud.

Jesus: If any of you is thirsty, come to Me and drink. 38 If you believe in Me, the Hebrew Scriptures say that rivers of living water will flow from within you.[b]

39 Jesus was referring to the realities of life in the Spirit made available to everyone who believes in Him. But the Spirit had not yet arrived because Jesus had not been glorified.

The Holy Spirit connects believers to the Father and His Son. So any fear about being disconnected from God may be abandoned; the Creator of the Universe dwells within His people, sustains them, and will accomplish the impossible through them.

Some of the Crowd: 40 This man is definitely the Prophet.

Others: 41 This is God’s Anointed, the Liberating King!

Still Others: Is it possible for the Anointed to come from Galilee? 42 Don’t the Hebrew Scriptures say that He will come from Bethlehem,[c] King David’s village, and be a descendant of King David?

43 Rumors and opinions about the true identity of Jesus divided the crowd. 44 Some wanted to arrest Him, but no one dared to touch Him.

45 The officers who had been sent by the chief priests and Pharisees to take Jesus into custody returned empty-handed, and they faced some hard questions.

Chief Priest and Pharisees: Where is Jesus? Why didn’t you capture Him?

Officers: 46 We listened to Him. Never has a man spoken like this man.

Pharisees: 47 So you have also been led astray? 48 Can you find one leader or educated Pharisee who believes this man? Of course not. 49 This crowd is plagued by ignorance about the teachings of the law; that is why they will listen to Him. That is also why they are under God’s curse.

50 Nicodemus, the Pharisee who approached Jesus under the cloak of darkness, was present when the officers returned empty-handed. He addressed the leaders.

Nicodemus: 51 Does our law condemn someone without first giving him a fair hearing and learning something about him?

Pharisees (ignoring Nicodemus’s legal point): 52 Are you from Galilee too? Look it up for yourself; no real prophet is supposed to come from Galilee.

[53 The time came for everyone to go home.


  1. 7:35 Literally, the Diaspora (Greek for “scattering”). The Diaspora refers to those Jews who were exiled or settled outside the traditional lands of Israel.
  2. 7:38 Isaiah 44:3; 55:1; 58:11
  3. 7:42 Micah 5:1–2

Jesus Goes to the Festival of Tabernacles

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want[a] to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders(A) there were looking for a way to kill him.(B) But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles(C) was near, Jesus’ brothers(D) said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.(E)

Therefore Jesus told them, “My time(F) is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me(G) because I testify that its works are evil.(H) You go to the festival. I am not[b] going up to this festival, because my time(I) has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.

10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus(J) and asking, “Where is he?”

12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”

Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.”(K) 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.(L)

Jesus Teaches at the Festival

14 Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach.(M) 15 The Jews(N) there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning(O) without having been taught?”(P)

16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.(Q) 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out(R) whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory,(S) but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19 Has not Moses given you the law?(T) Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”(U)

20 “You are demon-possessed,”(V) the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”

21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle,(W) and you are all amazed. 22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision(X) (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs),(Y) you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. 23 Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? 24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”(Z)

Division Over Who Jesus Is

25 At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?(AA) 26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities(AB) really concluded that he is the Messiah?(AC) 27 But we know where this man is from;(AD) when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”

28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts,(AE) cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from.(AF) I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true.(AG) You do not know him, 29 but I know him(AH) because I am from him and he sent me.”(AI)

30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him,(AJ) because his hour had not yet come.(AK) 31 Still, many in the crowd believed in him.(AL) They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs(AM) than this man?”

32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.

33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time,(AN) and then I am going to the one who sent me.(AO) 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”(AP)

35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered(AQ) among the Greeks,(AR) and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”(AS)

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival,(AT) Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.(AU) 38 Whoever believes(AV) in me, as Scripture has said,(AW) rivers of living water(AX) will flow from within them.”[c](AY) 39 By this he meant the Spirit,(AZ) whom those who believed in him were later to receive.(BA) Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.(BB)

40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”(BC)

41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.”

Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee?(BD) 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants(BE) and from Bethlehem,(BF) the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided(BG) because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.(BH)

Unbelief of the Jewish Leaders

45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”

46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,”(BI) the guards replied.

47 “You mean he has deceived you also?”(BJ) the Pharisees retorted. 48 “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him?(BK) 49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”

50 Nicodemus,(BL) who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51 “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”(BM)

[The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53—8:11. A few manuscripts include these verses, wholly or in part, after John 7:36, John 21:25, Luke 21:38 or Luke 24:53.]

53 Then they all went home,


  1. John 7:1 Some manuscripts not have authority
  2. John 7:8 Some manuscripts not yet
  3. John 7:38 Or me. And let anyone drink 38 who believes in me.” As Scripture has said, “Out of him (or them) will flow rivers of living water.”