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The People of Nazareth Turn against Jesus

Jesus left and returned to his hometown[a] with his disciples. The next Sabbath he taught in the Jewish meeting place. Many of the people who heard him were amazed and asked, “How can he do all this? Where did he get such wisdom and the power to work these miracles? Isn’t he the carpenter,[b] the son of Mary? Aren’t James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon his brothers? Don’t his sisters still live here in our town?” The people were very unhappy because of what he was doing.

But Jesus said, “Prophets are honored by everyone, except the people of their hometown and their relatives and their own family.” Jesus could not work any miracles there, except to heal a few sick people by placing his hands on them. He was surprised that the people did not have any faith.

Instructions for the Twelve Apostles

Jesus taught in all the neighboring villages. Then he called together his twelve apostles and sent them out two by two with power over evil spirits. He told them, “You may take along a walking stick. But don’t carry food or a traveling bag or any money. It’s all right to wear sandals, but don’t take along a change of clothes. 10 When you are welcomed into a home, stay there until you leave that town. 11 If any place won’t welcome you or listen to your message, leave and shake the dust from your feet[c] as a warning to them.”

12 The apostles left and started telling everyone to turn to God. 13 They forced out many demons and healed a lot of sick people by putting olive oil[d] on them.

The Death of John the Baptist

14 Jesus became so well-known that Herod the ruler[e] heard about him. Some people thought he was John the Baptist, who had come back to life with the power to work miracles. 15 Others thought he was Elijah[f] or some other prophet who had lived long ago. 16 But when Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “This must be John! I had his head cut off, and now he has come back to life.”

17-18 Herod had earlier married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. But John had told him, “It isn’t right for you to take your brother’s wife!” So, in order to please Herodias, Herod arrested John and put him in prison.

19 Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she could not do it 20 because Herod was afraid of John and protected him. He knew that John was a good and holy man. Even though Herod was confused by what John said,[g] he was glad to listen to him. And he often did.

21 Finally, Herodias got her chance when Herod gave a great birthday celebration for himself and invited his officials, his army officers, and the leaders of Galilee. 22 The daughter of Herodias[h] came in and danced for Herod and his guests. She pleased them so much that Herod said, “Ask for anything, and it’s yours! 23 I swear that I will give you as much as half of my kingdom, if you want it.”

24 The girl left and asked her mother, “What do you think I should ask for?”

Her mother answered, “The head of John the Baptist!”

25 The girl hurried back and told Herod, “Right now on a platter I want the head of John the Baptist!”

26 The king was very sorry for what he had said. But he did not want to break the promise he had made in front of his guests. 27 At once he ordered a guard to cut off John’s head there in prison. 28 The guard put the head on a platter and took it to the girl. Then she gave it to her mother.

29 When John’s followers learned that he had been killed, they took his body and put it in a tomb.

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

30 After the apostles returned to Jesus,[i] they told him everything they had done and taught. 31 But so many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go to a place[j] where we can be alone and get some rest.” 32 They left in a boat for a place where they could be alone. 33 But many people saw them leave and figured out where they were going. So people from every town ran on ahead and got there first.

34 When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the large crowd that was like sheep without a shepherd. He felt sorry for the people and started teaching them many things.

35 That evening the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This place is like a desert, and it is already late. 36 Let the crowds leave, so they can go to the farms and villages near here and buy something to eat.”

37 Jesus replied, “You give them something to eat.”

But they asked him, “Don’t you know that it would take almost a year’s wages[k] to buy all of these people something to eat?”

38 Then Jesus said, “How much bread do you have? Go and see!”

They found out and answered, “We have five small loaves of bread[l] and two fish.” 39 Jesus told his disciples to have the people sit down on the green grass. 40 They sat down in groups of a hundred and groups of fifty.

41 Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and handed it to his disciples to give to the people. He also divided the two fish, so that everyone could have some.

42 After everyone had eaten all they wanted, 43 Jesus' disciples picked up twelve large baskets of leftover bread and fish.

44 There were five thousand men who ate the food.

Jesus Walks on the Water

45 Right away, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and start back across to Bethsaida. But he stayed until he had sent the crowds away. 46 Then he told them good-by and went up on the side of a mountain to pray.

47 Later that evening he was still there by himself, and the boat was somewhere in the middle of the lake. 48 He could see that the disciples were struggling hard, because they were rowing against the wind. Not long before morning, Jesus came toward them. He was walking on the water and was about to pass the boat.

49 When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost, and they started screaming. 50 All of them saw him and were terrified. But at that same time he said, “Don’t worry! I am Jesus. Don’t be afraid.” 51 He then got into the boat with them, and the wind died down. The disciples were completely confused. 52 Their minds were closed, and they could not understand the true meaning of the loaves of bread.

Jesus Heals Sick People in Gennesaret

53 Jesus and his disciples crossed the lake and brought the boat to shore near the town of Gennesaret. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, the people recognized Jesus. 55 So they ran all over that part of the country to bring their sick people to him on mats. They brought them each time they heard where he was. 56 In every village or farm or marketplace where Jesus went, the people brought their sick to him. They begged him to let them just touch his clothes, and everyone who did was healed.


  1. 6.1 hometown: Nazareth.
  2. 6.3 carpenter: The Greek word may also mean someone who builds or works with stone or brick.
  3. 6.11 shake the dust from your feet: This was a way of showing rejection.
  4. 6.13 olive oil: The Jewish people used olive oil as a way of healing people. Sometimes olive oil is a symbol for healing by means of a miracle (see James 5.14).
  5. 6.14 Herod the ruler: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
  6. 6.15 Elijah: Many of the Jewish people expected the prophet Elijah to come and prepare the way for the Messiah.
  7. 6.20 was confused by what John said: Some manuscripts have “did many things because of what John said.”
  8. 6.22 Herodias: Some manuscripts have “Herod.”
  9. 6.30 the apostles returned to Jesus: From the mission on which he had sent them (see 6.7,12,13).
  10. 6.31 a place: This was probably northeast of Lake Galilee (see verse 45).
  11. 6.37 almost a year’s wages: The Greek text has “two hundred silver coins.” Each coin was the average day’s wage for a worker.
  12. 6.38 small loaves of bread: These would have been flat and round or in the shape of a bun.

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