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John Prepares for Jesus

This is the beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God,[a] as the prophet Isaiah wrote:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way.” Malachi 3:1
“This is a voice of one
    who calls out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way for the Lord.
    Make the road straight for him.’” Isaiah 40:3

John was baptizing people in the desert and preaching a baptism of changed hearts and lives for the forgiveness of sins. All the people from Judea and Jerusalem were going out to him. They confessed their sins and were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothes made from camel’s hair, had a leather belt around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. This is what John preached to the people: “There is one coming after me who is greater than I; I am not good enough even to kneel down and untie his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus Is Baptized

At that time Jesus came from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan River. 10 Immediately, as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven open. The Holy Spirit came down on him like a dove, 11 and a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with you.”

12 Then the Spirit sent Jesus into the desert. 13 He was in the desert forty days and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels came and took care of him.

Jesus Chooses Some Followers

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, preaching the Good News from God. 15 He said, “The right time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Change your hearts and lives and believe the Good News!”

16 When Jesus was walking by Lake Galilee, he saw Simon[b] and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the lake because they were fishermen. 17 Jesus said to them, “Come follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 18 So Simon and Andrew immediately left their nets and followed him.

19 Going a little farther, Jesus saw two more brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat, mending their nets. 20 Jesus immediately called them, and they left their father in the boat with the hired workers and followed Jesus.

Jesus Forces Out an Evil Spirit

21 Jesus and his followers went to Capernaum. On the Sabbath day He went to the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught like a person who had authority, not like their teachers of the law. 23 Just then, a man was there in the synagogue who had an evil spirit in him. He shouted, 24 “Jesus of Nazareth! What do you want with us? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are—God’s Holy One!”

25 Jesus commanded the evil spirit, “Be quiet! Come out of the man!” 26 The evil spirit shook the man violently, gave a loud cry, and then came out of him.

27 The people were so amazed they asked each other, “What is happening here? This man is teaching something new, and with authority. He even gives commands to evil spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And the news about Jesus spread quickly everywhere in the area of Galilee.

Jesus Heals Many People

29 As soon as Jesus and his followers left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon[c] and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever, and the people told Jesus about her. 31 So Jesus went to her bed, took her hand, and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began serving them.

32 That evening, after the sun went down, the people brought to Jesus all who were sick and had demons in them. 33 The whole town gathered at the door. 34 Jesus healed many who had different kinds of sicknesses, and he forced many demons to leave people. But he would not allow the demons to speak, because they knew who he was.

35 Early the next morning, while it was still dark, Jesus woke and left the house. He went to a lonely place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his friends went to look for Jesus. 37 When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you!”

38 Jesus answered, “We should go to other towns around here so I can preach there too. That is the reason I came.” 39 So he went everywhere in Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and forcing out demons.

Jesus Heals a Sick Man

40 A man with a skin disease came to Jesus. He fell to his knees and begged Jesus, “You can heal me if you will.”

41 Jesus felt sorry for the man, so he reached out his hand and touched him and said, “I will. Be healed!” 42 Immediately the disease left the man, and he was healed.

43 Jesus told the man to go away at once, but he warned him strongly, 44 “Don’t tell anyone about this. But go and show yourself to the priest. And offer the gift Moses commanded for people who are made well.[d] This will show the people what I have done.” 45 The man left there, but he began to tell everyone that Jesus had healed him, and so he spread the news about Jesus. As a result, Jesus could not enter a town if people saw him. He stayed in places where nobody lived, but people came to him from everywhere.

Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man

A few days later, when Jesus came back to Capernaum, the news spread that he was at home. Many people gathered together so that there was no room in the house, not even outside the door. And Jesus was teaching them God’s message. Four people came, carrying a paralyzed man. Since they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd, they dug a hole in the roof right above where he was speaking. When they got through, they lowered the mat with the paralyzed man on it. When Jesus saw the faith of these people, he said to the paralyzed man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

Some of the teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this man say things like that? He is speaking as if he were God. Only God can forgive sins.”

Jesus knew immediately what these teachers of the law were thinking. So he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to tell this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to tell him, ‘Stand up. Take your mat and walk’? 10 But I will prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So Jesus said to the paralyzed man, 11 “I tell you, stand up, take your mat, and go home.” 12 Immediately the paralyzed man stood up, took his mat, and walked out while everyone was watching him.

The people were amazed and praised God. They said, “We have never seen anything like this!”

13 Jesus went to the lake again. The whole crowd followed him there, and he taught them. 14 While he was walking along, he saw a man named Levi son of Alphaeus, sitting in the tax collector’s booth. Jesus said to him, “Follow me,” and he stood up and followed Jesus.

15 Later, as Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating there with Jesus and his followers. Many people like this followed Jesus. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw Jesus eating with the tax collectors and “sinners,” they asked his followers, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 Jesus heard this and said to them, “It is not the healthy people who need a doctor, but the sick. I did not come to invite good people but to invite sinners.”

Jesus’ Followers Are Criticized

18 Now the followers of John[e] and the Pharisees often fasted[f] for a certain time. Some people came to Jesus and said, “Why do John’s followers and the followers of the Pharisees often fast, but your followers don’t?”

19 Jesus answered, “The friends of the bridegroom do not fast while the bridegroom is still with them. As long as the bridegroom is with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and then they will fast.

21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth over a hole in an old coat. Otherwise, the patch will shrink and pull away—the new patch will pull away from the old coat. Then the hole will be worse. 22 Also, no one ever pours new wine into old leather bags. Otherwise, the new wine will break the bags, and the wine will be ruined along with the bags. But new wine should be put into new leather bags.”

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

23 One Sabbath day, as Jesus was walking through some fields of grain, his followers began to pick some grain to eat. 24 The Pharisees said to Jesus, “Why are your followers doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath day?”

25 Jesus answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and those with him were hungry and needed food? 26 During the time of Abiathar the high priest, David went into God’s house and ate the holy bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And David also gave some of the bread to those who were with him.”

27 Then Jesus said to the Pharisees, “The Sabbath day was made to help people; they were not made to be ruled by the Sabbath day. 28 So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.”

Jesus Heals a Man’s Hand

Another time when Jesus went into a synagogue, a man with a crippled hand was there. Some people watched Jesus closely to see if he would heal the man on the Sabbath day so they could accuse him.

Jesus said to the man with the crippled hand, “Stand up here in the middle of everyone.”

Then Jesus asked the people, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath day: to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?” But they said nothing to answer him.

Jesus was angry as he looked at the people, and he felt very sad because they were stubborn. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” The man held out his hand and it was healed. Then the Pharisees left and began making plans with the Herodians[g] about a way to kill Jesus.

Many People Follow Jesus

Jesus left with his followers for the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed him. Also many people came from Judea, from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from the lands across the Jordan River, and from the area of Tyre and Sidon. When they heard what Jesus was doing, many people came to him. When Jesus saw the crowds, he told his followers to get a boat ready for him to keep people from crowding against him. 10 He had healed many people, so all the sick were pushing toward him to touch him. 11 When evil spirits saw Jesus, they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” 12 But Jesus strongly warned them not to tell who he was.

Jesus Chooses His Twelve Apostles

13 Then Jesus went up on a mountain and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 Jesus chose twelve and called them apostles.[h] He wanted them to be with him, and he wanted to send them out to preach 15 and to have the authority to force demons out of people. 16 These are the twelve men he chose: Simon (Jesus named him Peter), 17 James and John, the sons of Zebedee (Jesus named them Boanerges, which means “Sons of Thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who later turned against Jesus.

Some People Say Jesus Has a Devil

20 Then Jesus went home, but again a crowd gathered. There were so many people that Jesus and his followers could not eat. 21 When his family heard this, they went to get him because they thought he was out of his mind. 22 But the teachers of the law from Jerusalem were saying, “Beelzebul is living inside him! He uses power from the ruler of demons to force demons out of people.”

23 So Jesus called the people together and taught them with stories. He said, “Satan will not force himself out of people. 24 A kingdom that is divided cannot continue, 25 and a family that is divided cannot continue. 26 And if Satan is against himself and fights against his own people, he cannot continue; that is the end of Satan. 27 No one can enter a strong person’s house and steal his things unless he first ties up the strong person. Then he can steal things from the house. 28 I tell you the truth, all sins that people do and all the things people say against God can be forgiven. 29 But anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of a sin that continues forever.”

30 Jesus said this because the teachers of the law said that he had an evil spirit inside him.

Jesus’ True Family

31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to tell him to come out. 32 Many people were sitting around Jesus, and they said to him, “Your mother and brothers[i] are waiting for you outside.”

33 Jesus asked, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 Then he looked at those sitting around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants.”

A Story About Planting Seed

Again Jesus began teaching by the lake. A great crowd gathered around him, so he sat down in a boat near the shore. All the people stayed on the shore close to the water. Jesus taught them many things, using stories. He said, “Listen! A farmer went out to plant his seed. While he was planting, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground where there wasn’t much dirt. That seed grew very fast, because the ground was not deep. But when the sun rose, the plants dried up because they did not have deep roots. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds, which grew and choked the good plants. So those plants did not produce a crop. Some other seed fell on good ground and began to grow. It got taller and produced a crop. Some plants made thirty times more, some made sixty times more, and some made a hundred times more.”

Then Jesus said, “Let those with ears use them and listen!”

Jesus Tells Why He Used Stories

10 Later, when Jesus was alone, the twelve apostles and others around him asked him about the stories.

11 Jesus said, “You can know the secret about the kingdom of God. But to other people I tell everything by using stories 12 so that:

‘They will look and look, but they will not learn.
    They will listen and listen, but they will not understand.
If they did learn and understand,
    they would come back to me and be forgiven.’” Isaiah 6:9–10

Jesus Explains the Seed Story

13 Then Jesus said to his followers, “Don’t you understand this story? If you don’t, how will you understand any story? 14 The farmer is like a person who plants God’s message in people. 15 Sometimes the teaching falls on the road. This is like the people who hear the teaching of God, but Satan quickly comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them. 16 Others are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching and quickly accept it with joy. 17 But since they don’t allow the teaching to go deep into their lives, they keep it only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they quickly give up. 18 Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching, 19 but the worries of this life, the temptation of wealth, and many other evil desires keep the teaching from growing and producing fruit[j] in their lives. 20 Others are like the seed planted in the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and produce fruit—sometimes thirty times more, sometimes sixty times more, and sometimes a hundred times more.”

Use What You Have

21 Then Jesus said to them, “Do you hide a lamp under a bowl or under a bed? No! You put the lamp on a lampstand. 22 Everything that is hidden will be made clear and every secret thing will be made known. 23 Let those with ears use them and listen!

24 “Think carefully about what you hear. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you, but God will give you even more. 25 Those who have understanding will be given more. But those who do not have understanding, even what they have will be taken away from them.”

Jesus Uses a Story About Seed

26 Then Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like someone who plants seed in the ground. 27 Night and day, whether the person is asleep or awake, the seed still grows, but the person does not know how it grows. 28 By itself the earth produces grain. First the plant grows, then the head, and then all the grain in the head. 29 When the grain is ready, the farmer cuts it, because this is the harvest time.”

A Story About Mustard Seed

30 Then Jesus said, “How can I show you what the kingdom of God is like? What story can I use to explain it? 31 The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32 But when planted, this seed grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants. It produces large branches, and the wild birds can make nests in its shade.”

33 Jesus used many stories like these to teach the crowd God’s message—as much as they could understand. 34 He always used stories to teach them. But when he and his followers were alone, Jesus explained everything to them.

Jesus Calms a Storm

35 That evening, Jesus said to his followers, “Let’s go across the lake.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him in the boat just as he was. There were also other boats with them. 37 A very strong wind came up on the lake. The waves came over the sides and into the boat so that it was already full of water. 38 Jesus was at the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a cushion. His followers woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are drowning!”

39 Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and it became completely calm.

40 Jesus said to his followers, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 The followers were very afraid and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”


  1. 1:1 the Son of God Some Greek copies do not have this phrase.
  2. 1:16 Simon Simon’s other name was Peter.
  3. 1:29 Simon Simon’s other name was Peter.
  4. 1:44 Moses . . . well Read about this in Leviticus 14:1–32.
  5. 2:18 John John the Baptist, who preached to the Jewish people about Christ’s coming (Mark 1:4–8).
  6. 2:18 fasted The people would give up eating for a special time of prayer and worship to God. It was also done to show sadness and disappointment.
  7. 3:6 Herodians A political group that followed Herod and his family.
  8. 3:14 and called them apostles Some Greek copies do not have this phrase.
  9. 3:32 brothers Some Greek copies continue, “and sisters.”
  10. 4:19 producing fruit To produce fruit means to have in your life the good things God wants.

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