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Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

At the Feast of Tabernacles

Matthew viii: 19 to 22;
Luke ix: 57 to 62; x: 38 to 42; xvii: 11 to 19;
John vii: 2 to 52.

dropcap image N the fall of every year there was held at Jerusalem "The Feast of Tabernacles." It was kept to remind the people of the time when the Israelites came out of Egypt and lived for forty years in the wilderness, more than a thousand years before the days when Jesus was on the earth. At this feast the people from all parts of the land came up to Jerusalem, and worshipped in the Temple. And as the Israelites had lived in tents in the wilderness, the people during the feast did not sleep in-doors, but made arbors and huts from green boughs on the roofs of the houses, and on the hills around the city, and slept in them at night.

Jesus and his disciples went from Galilee to Jerusalem to attend this feast. Just as Jesus was leaving, a man who had heard Jesus said to him, "Master, I will follow thee wherever thou goest."

And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has not a place where he can lay his head."

There was another man to whom Jesus had said, "Follow me." This man said, "Lord, let me go and bury my father, who is very old and must die very soon, and then I will follow thee."

Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but do you go and preach the kingdom of God."

And another said, "Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go home and say 'good-bye' to those who are in my house."

Jesus said to him, "No man who has put his hand to the plow, and looks back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

On his way to Jerusalem Jesus went through the country of Samaria, where the people hated the Jews. In one place the Samaritans would not let Jesus and his disciples come into their village, because they saw that they were Jews going up to Jerusalem. The disciples were very angry at such treatment of their Master; and James and John said to him, "Lord, shall we call down fire from heaven, to destroy this village, as Elijah the prophet did once?"

But Jesus would not allow them to do this to their enemies. He said to them, "Your spirit is not the spirit of my kingdom. The Son of man has not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."

And they went to another village to find a resting place. At one town they met outside the gate ten men with the dreadful disease of leprosy, of which we read in the story of Naaman (Story 86). These men had heard of Jesus and his power to heal; and when they saw him they cried out aloud, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"

Jesus said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests."

If ever a leper became well, he went to the priest, and offered a sacrifice, and then was allowed to go to his home. These men obeyed the word of Jesus, believing that he would cure them; and as soon as they started to go to the priests they found that they were already well. All but one of the men went on their way, but one turned, and came back to Jesus, and fell at his feet, giving praise to God; and this man was not a Jew, but a Samaritan. Jesus said as he saw him, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there none who came back to give glory to God, except this stranger?"

Then he said to the man, "Rise up, and go your way; your faith has saved you."

Jesus came to Jerusalem not on the first day of the feast, but in the middle, for the feast was held for a week. He stood in the Temple, and taught the people, and all wondered at his words. On the last and greatest day of the feast, when they were bringing water and pouring it out in the Temple, Jesus cried aloud, "If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink! He that believes on me, out of him shall flow rivers of living water."

While Jesus was teaching in Jerusalem he often went out of the city to the village of Bethany, on the Mount of Olives. There he stayed with the family of Martha, her sister Mary, and their brother Lazarus. These were friends of Jesus, and he loved to be with them. One day, while Jesus was at the house, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to his words; but Martha was busy with work, and full of cares. Martha came to Jesus, and said, "Master, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to come to help me!"


Jesus at the home of Mary and Martha.

But Jesus said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. Only one thing is needful; for Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her."