WHILE JESUS was still in Capernaum, the fall of the year came on, and with it the time drew near for the Jewish Feast of Tents, or Feast of Tabernacles. In the Bible, the word “tabernacles” always means “tents.” This feast was called “the Feast of the Tents” because every year the people who went up to Jerusalem to attend it lived for a week in little tents or huts made of green branches; to keep in mind the forty years, long before, when, after coming out of Egypt, the Israelites lived in the desert in tents, moving from place to place.
The younger brothers of Jesus, the sons of Joseph and Mary, heard that Jesus was in Capernaum; and they came to see him. At this time these brothers of Jesus did not believe in him as their King and Saviour; although afterward they were among his followers. These men said to Jesus :
“Why do you not go to Judea and Jerusalem and let your disciples see there what you can do? . No one who wishes to be known stays in a place apart from the people. Since you can do these great works, you should show yourself to the world.”
“My time,” said Jesus, “has not come yet; but your time is always here. The world is not against you, but it is against me, because I speak against its evil deeds. Go yourselves up to the feast; I am not going as yet up to this feast, because my time has not yet come.”
Jesus did not wish to have as his companions at the feast men who did not believe in him, even though they were his brothers. So, while his brothers went on to Jerusalem, he stayed a little longer in Galilee. Before he left the city of Capernaum he gave one last call and warning to its people and those in the cities near by. He spoke to those who lived in Chorazin, a town only a few miles from Capernaum; and those in Bethsaida, five miles away, at the head of the lake. He said to these cities :
“Woe unto you, Chorazin! and woe to you, Bethsaida ! If the mighty works that were done in you had been done in the cities of Tyre and Sidon, long before this time they would have turned from sin to God, weeping in rough garments, with ashes on their heads ! I tell you that when God comes to judge the lands, it will be harder for Chorazin and Bethsaida that for Tyre and Sidon. And you, O Capernaum, shall you be lifted up to heaven? No, you will sink down to death. For if the great works that were done in you had been done in Sodom, that city would have lasted until today. But I say to you, it will be easier for Sodom in God’s day of judgment than for you, O Capernaum!”
At the same time Jesus spoke these words also :
I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the wise and the learned, and for making them known to those who are child-like in spirit. Yes, Father, I praise thee that this has been the way that thou hast chosen.
“All power has been given to me by the Father; and no one can fully know the Son except the Father; and no one fully knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son will make him known.
“Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy-laden with your troubles; and I will give you rest. Take upon you the yoke that I bear, and learn from me how to live; for I am gentle and lowly-minded, and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my load is light.”
With these words Jesus left Capernaum and Galilee for the last time.