A modern English blending of the New Testament

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Jesus - A blending of the New Testament - Ch. 15 - Jesus sets out for Jerusalem
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Jesus sets out for Jerusalem  -  he is accused of being mad  -  "living water" for those who thirst  -  an adulteress is forgiven  -  Jesus debates with the Pharisees  -  a beggar born blind is healed  -  the parable of the good shepherd.


The Jews' Feast of the Tabernacles was approaching, and Jesus' brothers, who didn't believe him, came to him.

"Let's go to Judea," they said, "so that your followers there may see what you're doing. Surely no one who wants to be publicly known keeps what he's doing secret. If you really can do all this marvelous things, why not let the whole world know?"

"No," he said. "The time isn't yet ripe for me. It is for you, though - it always is. The world has no reason to hate you, but it despises me because I indict its very way of life. You go on ahead. I'll come later at the appropriate time." The brothers left for Jerusalem.

The time was drawing closer for his return to heaven, and knowing that he must soon go to Jerusalem, Jesus settled it in his mind to go. He did not, however, travel in a caravan, but privately, sending some of the apostles on ahead to make arrangements for overnight accommodation. During a journey they came to a samaritan village where, seeing that he was headed to Jerusalem, the villagers refused to let him stay the night. James and John were outraged.

"Teacher," they fumed, "shall we call down fire from heaven and incinerate them?"

Jesus rebuked them for their attitude, and they continued on to the next town.

In Jerusalem, the feast was being celebrated and word spread quickly that Jesus was coming. The residents of the city inquired after him everywhere.He was the principal topic of conversation and the subject of much argument.

"He's a good man," it was said.

"A good man, nothing! He's leading the people astray."

None of his advocates defended him openly because they were afraid of the authorities.

The festival was at it's heighest when he arrived.He went directly to the temple and began to teach. The crowd listened and afterward buzzed with excitement.

"How can he possibly know all these things?" they said to each other."He's never studied."

"Let me tell you how," Jesus said. "It's because the views I present are not mine but are the wisdom of the one who sent me. If you're prepared to do his bidding, you'll know immediately that they're my thoughts or God's. The teacher who puts forward only his own ideas is after personal glory, but the man whose object is to honor God tells the truth without deceit. Moses gave you the Law, didn't he? But is there one of you who observes it fully? Then why do you want to kill me because I don't keep it? "

"You're crazy!" a man shouted. "Nobody's trying to kill you.

"Then why do you get so upset when I heal a man on a sabbath?" Jesus said." Consider this: Moses established the rite of circumcision among you (actually it pre-dated Moses) and to avoid disobeying that commandment you circumcize a boy on a sabbath when it's necessary. And yet to get angry at me when I make a man well in all of his body on a sabbath. Stop judging things by appearances, pay attention to what matters.

"Some of the people of Jerusalem began to raise questions among themselves. "He's the man they're out to kill, isn't he? Then how is it that he's teaching here in the temple 'right in the open, and they don't do a thing? is it possible that the authorities believe he is the Christ?"

Others countered the argument. "Look," they said, "we know where this fellow comes from. When the Messiah comes, nobody will know where he's from."

Jesus overheard the discussion and raised the subject while teaching in the temple.

"You know two things about me," he said, "You know who I am and where I come from. What you don't know is that I'm not here by my own choice; I've been sent here by someone I know, the true one, someone you don't know. I'm his representative and his messenger."

Many of the people who heard him believed in him. "Look at it this way," they said. "When the Messiah does come, will he do more miraculous things than this man has been doing?"

The Pharisees and the chief priests got reports of all this and dispatched a detachment of temple-guards to arrest Jesus.

He told the crowd, "I'll be with you for a while yet, then I'm going to return to the one who sent me. You'll search for me but you won't find me because you won't be able to go where I'm going."

The people puzzled over this. "Where will he go that we won't be able to find him? May he'll be go to the Greeks and refugees of the Dispersion. Maybe he's going to teach there? What does he mean?"

On the final and the climactic day of the festival, Jesus stood up in the temple and cried out: "Is there anyone here who is thirsty? Let him come to me and drink. Put your faith in me and, just as the scriptures say, you'll have a source of living water within you." This was a reference to the holy spirit, who would be given to believers after Jesus returned to heaven.

His teaching had divided the crowd. They began to argue about him.

"Surely this man is a prophet. In truth he is!"

"He is. He's the Christ."

"A Christ from Galilee? We know better than that! The scriptures teach that the Christ will come from Bethlehem - 'King David's Town' - and will be a descendent of David." This difference of opinion of people spread even to those who had been sent to arrest Jesus. And none of the guards took any action.

When they reported in, the chief priests and the Pharisees asked, "Where is he? Why haven't you arrested him?"

"But we've never heard anyone like him," they replied." The way he talks . . ."

"Have you been duped, too?"they said." Look, ask yourselves; do any of the authorities believe in him? Do any of the Pharisees? As for the rabble, what do they know about the Law; they're already damned."

Nicodemus - the member of Council who had gone to see Jesus previously - spoke up.

"Do we, under our Law, convict a man before hearing his defense or hearing charges?"

They turned on him, "Are you too from Galilee? Go search the scriptures. You'll find that the prophet does not come from Galilee!"

The meeting broke up.

Jesus spend the night on the mount of Olives, and early the next morning went to the temple. He sat down in the midst of a crowed and began to teach. The scribes and the Pharisees, looking for a way to trap him so that they would have grounds to lay charges, brought a woman to him and had her stand at the front.

"Now, Teacher, "they said, "what have you to say about this woman? She's an adulteress caught in the very act. Moses' Law says to stone such a woman, what do you say?"

Jesus bent over and began to write in the dust. They kept after him: "Moses says stone her, what do you say?"

He straightened up. "Go ahead," he said, "stone her. But let the first stone be throwned by a man who has never sinned.

"Again he bent over and traced words in the dust. One by one the men slipped away, from the eldest to the youngest, and Jesus and the woman were left alone. He straightened up.

"Where are your accusers, woman?" he said. "Is there no one to condemn you?"

"No one sir."

"Nor do I. Go now, and don't sin again."

Later addressing the crowd near the Treasury, he said, "I am the world's light. Follow me and you'll have the light of life. Never again will you have to walk in the dark."

One of the Pharisees taunted him. "You recommend yourself," he said. "Who would trust that?"

"Even if I do, "he replied, "that doesn't alter the fact that my words are true and that I know where I've come from and where I'm going. You know nieter and yet you judge as men judge. I judge no one, but if I did it it would be a fair judgement because it would be made in company with the Father who sent me and is with me. Your law states that a fact is authenticated through the testimony of two witnesses. All right then, I'm a witness for myself and so is my Father."

"Where is this Father of yours?"

"You don't know him or me because if you knew me you'd know him."

Later he repeated a statement he had made earlier: "I'm going to leave you, "he said. "You'll go looking for me, but because you can't go where I'm going, You'll die in your sins."

"What does he mean," They said, "that we can't go where he's going? Does he means that he is going to commit suicide?"

"There is a fundamental difference between us," he said. "I'm from above and you are from below. You're from this world and I'm not. The reason I say you'll die in your sins simply because, unless you believe that I am who I am, you will."

"But who are you?"

"I am who I've said I am all along. I might say any number of things to you - just as I might condemn many things in you - but that is not my purpose: my purpose is only those things I have been told to speak by him - by 'the real one.'"

"Since it was obvious that they did not realize he was talking about God, he continued."When you have lifted me up [on the cross] you will realize who I am and that nothing I have done has been done on my own, rather it has all been in obedience to my Father. He is with me, always, and my only desire is to please him.

"Hearing this, many people came to believe in him. To them, he said, "Stay true to what you've been taught and you will truly be my disciples. You will understand the truth and that truth will set you free."

"But we're descendants of Abraham," one of them objected. "We've never been a slave to any man. What do you mean we'll be set free?"

"The fact is, "he replied," that anyone who commits a sin is the slave of sin. A slave isn't a member of the household whereas the son is, so if the son tells you you're free, you really are. I know you are the descendants of Abraham, but that doesn't keep you from wanting to kill me because my teaching isn't palatable to you. I say what I've learned from my Father: you make it quiet clear what you've learned from your father!"

"Abraham is our father."

"If he really was, you'd do what he did. Instead, you're out to kill me, simply because I tell you the truth, truth I got from God. Abraham wouldn't do that. You follow your father, all right!"

"We're not illegitimate. We have one father ... God!"

"If God was your Father you'd love me because I came from him and have been sent by him. Do you know why you don't understand my teaching? It's because you can't bear to. Your father is the devil and what he wants done you choose to do. He's a murderer from the beginning. He has never had anything to do with the truth because it's foreign to his nature. When he lies it's to be expected; he's a born liar and the father of lies. It is precisely because I speak the truth that you don't believe me. I put it to you: can any one of you charge me with any sin? Then why, when I tell you the truth, don't you believe me? The man of god accepts the words of God; that precisely why you don't!"

"Speaking of the truth," someone called out, "isn't the real truth that you're a Samaritan and possessed by the devil!"

"No, I don't have a devil. My purpose is to honor my Father, yours is to dishonor me. I'm not after praise - someone else looks after that, and he's the judge. The fact remains that anyone who does what I say will never die."

"Now we know you're crazy! Abraham is dead, the prophets are dead, and here you are saying that if a man will do what you say he'll never die. Are you greater than Abraham? Well, he died. The prophets died. Who do you think you are?"

"What would be the use of my praising myself?" Jesus replied. "My Father does that, and you tell me he's your God. You don't even know him. But I do. If I said I didn't, I'd be as great a liar as you are. Not only do I know him but I obey him. Your father Abraham rejoiced in anticipation of my coming, and now that he's seen it, he's glad."

"Sure, sure. Here you are, not yet fifty years old, and you've seen Abraham. . ."

"The truth is," Jesus said, "that I existed before Abraham was born."

They reached for stones to kill him but he slipped away and left the temple.

On one occasion he was out walking with his disciples and they passed a beggar who had been born blind.

"Teacher," they asked, "why was he born like that? Was it because of some sin of his or because his parents had sinned?"

"Neither," he said. "It was so he could be an example of God's power- and we'd better be busy at the Father's work while it's still day.The night isn't far off when you won't be able to do a thing. I give light to the world,but only as long as I am here."

He bent over, spat in the dust, and made some mud which he spread over the beggar's eyes. "Go wash that off in Siloam Pool," he told him. (Siloam means "sent.")

The beggar did, and his vision was perfect.When his neighbors and others who had known him as a beggar saw him, they talked among themselves:

"Isn't that the blind beggar?"

"Sure it is."

"Can't be. But he certainly looks like him."

The beggar said, "It's me, all right."

"But how is it that you can see?"

"The man they call Jesus made some mud and smeared it on my eyes and told me to go wash it off in Siloam Pool. I did and I can see."

"Where is Jesus now?"

"I don't know."

They took the beggar to the Pharisees. (It should be borne in mind that all this happened on a sabbath.) The Pharisees asked him questions about what had happened.

"A man by the name of Jesus put some mud on my eyes," he told them. "I washed it off and I can see. That's it."

One of the Pharisees said, "But the man you're talking about obviously isn't a good man: he doesn't keep the sabbath."

"But how can he do such miraculous things if he's wicked?" one of their group said, and they got into an argument. After a while they turned back to the beggar.

"You are the one whose eyes were opened, what do you think of him?"

"I think he's a prophet."

The Pharisees refused to believe that the beggar had been born blind, so they sent for his parents.

"Is this your son?" they asked.


"Was he born blind?"


"Then how is it that he can see?"

"We don't know."

"Don't you know who opened his eyes?"

The beggar's parents were afraid to tell what they knew because the authorities had agreed that anyone who said Jesus was the Christ would be barred from the synagogue. So instead they said, "No, we don't know. Why don't you ask him? He's of age, he can speak for himself."

The Pharisees turned to the beggar.

"Come now young man," they said." You have your sight now. Give God the credit. We know this Jesus is an evil man."

"I don't know whether he is or isn't," the beggar said. "The one thing I do know is that I used to be blind and now I can see."

"All right then, tell us exactly what happened. What did he do?"

"Look, I've already told you and you didn't listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his followers?"

"You're his follower!" they snapped, "We follow Moses' teaching.We know where Moses got his instructions - he got them from God - we don't even know where this fellow comes from."

"I find all this hard to believe," the beggar said. "You don't know where he comes from and yet he opened my eyes. We do know though - don't we? - that God doesn't listen to evil men but only to those who worship and obey him. Do you know of another instance where a man born blind got his sight? If Jesus weren't from God he simply couldn't have done it."

"You misbegotten little wretch!" they raged. "Do you presume to teach us?" and they threw him out of the synagogue.

Jesus heard what had happened and looking for the beggar.

"Do you believe in the son of man?" he asked him.

"Tell me who he is, sir, so that I may."

"Not only have you seen him, he's talking to you."

"I do believe, sir," the beggar said, and knelt at his feet.

"The very fact that I am in the world creates a judgement," Jesus said. "Thus those who can see become blind."

One of the Pharisees overheard him. "Are you suggesting that we're blind?" he said.

"If you were, you wouldn't be guilty," he said." Your guilt lies in the fact that you insist you can see."

He told a parable. "Here's a sheep pen. It has a gate. So, when you see a man sneak in some way other than by the gate, you presume he's a thief. When the shepherd wants to go in he goes to the gate and the attendant opens it. The sheep recognize his voice, and when he has cut out his sheep, he leads them out. That's why they run from a stranger; they don't recognize his voice."

The disciples did not understand the parable, so he explained it later.

"Understand me now," he said. "I am the gate. Those who came before me are the thieves. The sheep didn't heed them. I am the gate to the kingdom, and anyone who enters through me shall be saved and may go in and out readily to find pasture. The thief comes to the pen for only purpose: to steal and to kill. I too, come for one reason: to bring life in all its fulfilness to my sheep. I'm the true shepherd is willing to sacrifice his life for his sheep whereas a hired hand is not. The hired hand doesn't own the sheep nor does he feel affection for them, so when a wolf comes he runs and the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. But I'm the true shepherd. I know my sheep and they know me in much the same way that I know the Father. I will die for my sheep.

"But I have other sheep, too," he continued, "sheep that aren't part of this flock, and they will hear my voice too. I'll lead them also and make them part of one flock with one shepherd. The reason the Father loves me is that I am willing to die and so to live again. Nobody will take my life; I'll lay it down of my own choice. I have the authority to lay it down and the power to take it up again. That's the task my Father gave me."

There was a great deal of argument among the people when they heard this.

Some said, "He's crazy! He has a devil. Why listen to him?"

Others said, "That isn't the way a man possessed talks. And can a devil make a blind man see?"

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