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Jesus commissions the twelve to preach and heal

1-5 Then he called the twelve together and gave them power over all evil spirits and the ability to heal disease. He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick, with these words, “Take nothing for your journey—neither a stick nor a purse nor food nor money, nor even extra clothes! When you come to stay at a house, remain there until you go on your way again. And where they will not welcome you, leave that town, and shake the dust off your feet as a protest against them!”

So they set out, and went from village to village preaching the Gospel and healing people everywhere.

Herod’s uneasy conscience after his execution of John

7-8 “All these things came to the ears of Herod the tetrarch and caused him acute anxiety, because some people were saying that John had risen from the dead, some maintaining that the prophet Elijah had appeared, and others that one of the old-time prophets had come back.

“I beheaded John,” said Herod. “Who can this be that I hear all these things about?” And he tried to find a way of seeing Jesus.”

The twelve return and tell their story

10 Then the apostles returned, and when they had made their report to Jesus of what they had done, he took them with him privately and retired into a town called Bethsaida.

Jesus welcomes the crowds, teaches, heals and feeds them

11-12 But the crowds observed this and followed him. And he welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God, and cured those who were in need of healing. As the day drew to its close the twelve came to him and said, “Please dismiss the crowd now so that they can go to the villages and country round about and find some food and shelter, for we’re quite in the wilds here.”

13-14 “You give them something to eat!” returned Jesus. “But we’ve nothing here,” they replied, “except five loaves and two fish, unless you want us to go and buy food for all this crowd?” (There were approximately five thousand men there). Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Get them to sit down in groups of about fifty.”

15-17 This they did, making them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish and looked up to Heaven, blessed them, broke them into pieces and passed them to his disciples to serve to the crowds. Everybody ate and was satisfied. Afterwards they collected twelve baskets full of broken pieces which were left over.

Jesus asks a question and receives Peter’s momentous answer

18 Then came this incident. While Jesus was praying by himself, having only the disciples near him, he asked them this question: “Who are the crowd saying that I am?”

19 “Some say that you are John the Baptist,” they replied. “Others that you are Elijah, and others think that one of the old-time prophets has come to life again.”

20 Then he said, “And who do you say that I am?” “God’s Christ! said Peter.

Jesus foretells his own suffering: the paradox of losing life to find it

21-22 But Jesus expressly told them not to say a word to anybody, at the same time warning them of the inevitability of the Son of Man’s great suffering, of his repudiation by the elders, chief priests and scribes, and of his death and of being raised to life again on the third day.

23-27 Then he spoke to them all. “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me. For the man who wants to save his life will lose it, but the man who loses his life for my sake will save it. For what is the use of a man gaining the whole world if he loses or forfeits his own soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him, when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels. I tell you the simple truth—there are men standing here today who will not taste death until they have seen the kingdom of God!”

Peter, John and James are allowed to see the glory of Jesus

28-35 About eight days after these sayings, Jesus took Peter, James and John and went off to the hill-side to pray. And then, while he was praying, the whole appearance of his face changed and his clothes became white and dazzling. And two men were talking with Jesus. They were Moses and Elijah—revealed in heavenly splendour, and their talk was about the way he must take and the end he must fulfil in Jerusalem. But Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep and it was as they struggled into wakefulness that they saw the glory of Jesus and the two men standing with him. Just as they were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is wonderful for us to be here! Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still talking, a cloud overshadowed them and awe swept over them as it enveloped them. A voice came out of the cloud, saying “This is my Son, my chosen! Listen to him!”

36 And while the voice was speaking, they found there was no one there at all but Jesus. The disciples were reduced to silence, and in those days never breathed a word to anyone to what they had seen.

Jesus heals an epileptic boy

37-40 Then on the following day, as they came down the hill-side, a great crowd met him. Suddenly a man from the crowd shouted out, “Master, please come and look at my son! He’s my only child, and without any warning some spirit gets hold of him and he calls out suddenly. Then it convulses him until he foams at the mouth, and only after a fearful struggle does it go away and leave him bruised all over. I begged your disciples to get rid of it, but they couldn’t.”

41 “You really are an unbelieving and difficult people,” replied Jesus. “How long must I be with you, how long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.”

42-43a But even while the boy was on his way, the spirit hurled him to the ground in a dreadful convulsion. Then Jesus reprimanded the evil spirit, healed the lad and handed him back to his father. And everybody present was amazed at this demonstration of the power of God.

The realism of Jesus in the midst of enthusiasm

43b-44 And while everybody was full of wonder at all the things they saw him do, Jesus was saying to the disciples, “Store up in your minds what I tell you nowadays, for the Son of Man is going to be handed over to the power of men.”

45 But they made no sense of this saying—something made it impossible for them to understand it, and they were afraid to ask him what he meant.

Jesus and “greatness”

46-48 Then an argument arose among them as to who should be the greatest. But Jesus, knowing what they were arguing about, took a little child and made him stand by his side. And then he said to them, “Anyone who accepts a little child in my name is really accepting me, and the man who accepts me is really accepting the one who sent me. It is the humblest among you all who is really the greatest.”

49 Then John broke in, “Master, we saw a man driving out evil spirits in your name, but we stopped him, for he is not one of us who follow you.”

50 But Jesus told him, “You must not stop him. The man who is not against you is on your side.”

He sets off for Jerusalem to meet inevitable death

51-54 Now as the days before he should be taken back into Heaven were running out, he resolved to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers in front of him. They set out and entered a Samaritan village to make preparations for him. But the people there refused to welcome him because he was obviously intending to go to Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Master, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and burn them all up?”

55-56 But Jesus turned and reproved them, and they all went on to another village.

57 As the little company made its way along the road, a man said to him, “I’m going to follow you wherever you go.”

58 And Jesus replied, “Foxes have earths, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere that he can call his own.”

59 But he said to another man, “Follow me.” And he replied, “Let me go and bury my father first.”

60 But Jesus told him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. You must come away and preach the kingdom of God.”

61 Another man said to him, “I am going to follow you, Lord, but first let me bid farewell to my people at home.”

62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts his hand to the plough and then looks behind him is useless for the kingdom of God.”