56 – Festival of Booths
Jesus decided to go to the Festival of Booths, but not to “show off” his authority. For the first three days of the festival Jesus and the disciples taught and healed, and lived on, and around, the Mount of Olives [today] (to the east of Jerusalem). This was the traditional gathering place for Jews from Galilee when they came to Jerusalem.
Jesus now took time to once again guide the disciples in their prayer life. He told them to be persistent in prayer, knowing that the Father gives good gifts, and encouraged the disciples to remain focused. Jesus often spoke in parables to the people yet to the disciples he would explain more fully, if they asked. Yet Jesus still only hinted at the truth in order to get the disciples to think and to have faith.
Some of the people viewed Jesus as a prophet of old, who was authorized to judge cases, but Jesus did not see this as part of his mission.
Always Jesus emphasized the greater importance of the spiritual over the physical, and encouraged people to keep their priorities straight. One should be ready at any time for the coming judgment and so commit themselves to God’s will. A decision, a choice, is required which will even divide families. Choose to follow Jesus.
On Wednesday, the fourth day of the festival, Jesus and his followers went into the Temple complex through the eastern gate [model]. There, Jesus offered the appropriate sacrifices and then stayed around to teach under the Portico of Solomon [model].The religious leaders were very surprised when they heard what Jesus taught over the next couple of days. They had been told to expect a fiery, rabble-rouser from Galilee, because he had not come to any of the temple schools to be “properly” educated. Yet this man was intimately familiar with the scripture. He had insight and vision, and spoke thoughtfully and quietly, like he knew the spirit behind the scripture.
Folks remembered how a lame man had been healed on the Sabbath, at the pools of Bethesda [model] during the Festival of Pentecost last year. The Pharisees were using that incident as the rational to challenge Jesus (but the rumor was that they wanted to kill him). Such an attitude of opposition disappointed Jesus. Obviously they did not know God’s will or understand the Sabbath, and he warned the crowds about the religious leaders.
Most folks believed that those who were “well off” in this life were being blessed by God, and that those who were suffering in this life were being punished by God. Jesus told them that it was not that way. Even good folks could suffer in this life, as did the Galileans killed by Pilate. God had not struck them down. All, in the end, will be judged based on their faith and their response to their faith.
On the last day of the festival, the Pharisees sent the temple guard to bring Jesus in for questioning, but the guards were afraid to “arrest” Jesus because he spoke with such authority, the crowds seemed to back him, and they did not want to start ANY incident that would bring in the Roman troops.
No questions have been asked yet.