The People arrive for the Passover

Nothing seemed more important to the crowd than the outcome of a hotly-contested championship basketball game being played in O. C. Lewis Gymnasium in Anderson, Indiana. With three minutes to go and the visitors leading by two points, a foul was called on one of the hometown play … More


From this point on, the Sanhedrin had reached their final verdict concerning Jesus. They wanted to find a way to have him killed (v. 53). Jesus was later tried before the religious leaders 3 times. These “trials” however were only a formality, meant to give the appearance of justice. He was always going to be found worthy of death in their eyes. 

Jesus, knowing their intentions, withdrew himself to Ephraim, about fifteen miles north of Jerusalem, where He stayed with His disciples (v. 54). This little village provided a place for rest, and it was close to the wilderness of Judea in case it was necessary to escape. At the same time the pilgrims were coming to Jerusalem for the Passover. The Law of Moses required any who were ritually unclean to purify themselves for one week before participating in the feast (Num. 9:6-14). It’s estimated that the population of Jerusalem on a normal day was around 25,000 people. During the Passover feast, however, there would have been an additional 85,000 to 125,000 people. 


There was much excitement over the ministry of Jesus (v. 55). As the crowd was gathering in Jerusalem, the people wondered if Jesus would attend, even though his life was in danger. The last time Jesus had been to Jerusalem, the religious leaders had threatened to stone him. The common people liked Jesus, but the religious authorities had made it clear that any who saw Him must report it so they might arrest Him (vv. 56-57).



Do we get excited for the right reasons? Are we happy to associate with Jesus only on our own terms? It’s easy for me to look back and judge the people of Jesus’s day, thinking that if I had been there, I would have reacted differently. Except for Grace, however, I would be just like them, focusing on the wrong things and missing the real message of Jesus. 

John 11:53-57 (English Standard Version)

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