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The Preaching of John the Baptist

(Matthew 3.1-12; Luke 3.1-18; John 1.19-28)

This is the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.[a] (A) It began just as God had said in the book written by Isaiah the prophet,

“I am sending my messenger
to get the way ready
    for you.
(B) In the desert
    someone is shouting,
‘Get the road ready
    for the Lord!
Make a straight path
    for him.’ ”

So John the Baptist showed up in the desert and told everyone, “Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven.”

From all Judea and Jerusalem crowds of people went to John. They told how sorry they were for their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

(C) John wore clothes made of camel's hair. He had a leather strap around his waist and ate grasshoppers and wild honey.

John also told the people, “Someone more powerful is going to come. And I am not good enough even to stoop down and untie his sandals.[b] I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”

The Baptism of Jesus

(Matthew 3.13-17; Luke 3.21,22)

About that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 As soon as Jesus came out of the water, he saw the sky open and the Holy Spirit coming down to him like a dove. 11 (D) A voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you.”

Jesus and Satan

(Matthew 4.1-11; Luke 4.1-13)

12 At once God's Spirit made Jesus go into the desert. 13 He stayed there for 40 days while Satan tested him. Jesus was with the wild animals, but angels took care of him.

Jesus Begins His Work

(Matthew 4.12-17; Luke 4.14,15)

14 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee and told the good news that comes from God.[c] 15 (E) He said, “The time has come! God's kingdom will soon be here.[d] Turn back to God and believe the good news!”

Jesus Chooses Four Fishermen

(Matthew 4.18-22; Luke 5.1-11)

16 As Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were fishermen and were casting their nets into the lake. 17 Jesus said to them, “Follow me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” 18 Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him.

19 Jesus walked on and soon saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat, mending their nets. 20 At once Jesus asked them to come with him. They left their father in the boat with the hired workers and went with him.

A Man with an Evil Spirit

(Luke 4.31-37)

21 Jesus and his disciples went to the town of Capernaum. Then on the next Sabbath he went into the synagogue and started teaching. 22 (F) Everyone was amazed at his teaching. He taught with authority, and not like the teachers of the Law of Moses. 23 Suddenly a man with an evil spirit[e] in him entered the synagogue and yelled, 24 “Jesus from Nazareth, what do you want with us? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are! You are God's Holy One.”

25 Jesus told the evil spirit, “Be quiet and come out of the man!” 26 The spirit shook him. Then it gave a loud shout and left.

27 Everyone was completely surprised and kept saying to each other, “What is this? It must be some new kind of powerful teaching! Even the evil spirits obey him.” 28 News about Jesus quickly spread all over Galilee.

Jesus Heals Many People

(Matthew 8.14-17; Luke 4.38-41)

29 As soon as Jesus left the synagogue with James and John, they went home with Simon and Andrew. 30 When they got there, Jesus was told that Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed with fever. 31 Jesus went to her. He took hold of her hand and helped her up. The fever left her, and she served them a meal.

32 That evening after sunset,[f] all who were sick or had demons in them were brought to Jesus. 33 In fact, the whole town gathered around the door of the house. 34 Jesus healed all kinds of terrible diseases and forced out a lot of demons. But the demons knew who he was, and he did not let them speak.

35 Very early the next morning before daylight, Jesus got up and went to a place where he could be alone and pray. 36 Simon and the others started looking for him. 37 And when they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you!”

38 Jesus replied, “We must go to the nearby towns, so that I can tell the good news to those people. This is why I have come.” 39 (G) Then Jesus went to their synagogues everywhere in Galilee, where he preached and forced out demons.

Jesus Heals a Man

(Matthew 8.1-4; Luke 5.12-16)

40 A man with leprosy[g] came to Jesus and knelt down.[h] He begged, “You have the power to make me well, if only you wanted to.”

41 Jesus felt sorry for[i] the man. So he put his hand on him and said, “I want to! Now you are well.” 42 At once the man's leprosy disappeared, and he was well.

43 After Jesus strictly warned the man, he sent him on his way. 44 (H) He said, “Don't tell anyone about this. Just go and show the priest that you are well. Then take a gift to the temple as Moses commanded, and everyone will know that you have been healed.”[j]

45 The man talked about it so much and told so many people, that Jesus could no longer go openly into a town. He had to stay away from the towns, but people still came to him from everywhere.

Jesus Heals a Man Who Could Not Walk

(Matthew 9.1-8; Luke 5.17-26)

Jesus went back to Capernaum, and a few days later people heard that he was at home.[k] Then so many of them came to the house that there wasn't even standing room left in front of the door.

Jesus was still teaching when four people came up, carrying a man on a mat because he could not walk. But because of the crowd, they could not get him to Jesus. So they made a hole in the roof[l] above him and let the man down in front of everyone.

When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.”

Some of the teachers of the Law of Moses were sitting there. They started wondering, “Why would he say such a thing? He must think he is God! Only God can forgive sins.”

At once, Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said, “Why are you thinking such things? Is it easier for me to tell this man his sins are forgiven or to tell him to get up and pick up his mat and go on home? 10 I will show you that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth.” So Jesus said to the man, 11 “Get up! Pick up your mat and go on home.”

12 The man got right up. He picked up his mat and went out while everyone watched in amazement. They praised God and said, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Jesus Chooses Levi

(Matthew 9.9-13; Luke 5.27-32)

13 Once again, Jesus went to the shore of Lake Galilee. A large crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus. Levi was sitting at the place for paying taxes, and Jesus said to him, “Follow me!” So he got up and went with Jesus.

15 Later, Jesus and his disciples were having dinner at Levi's house.[m] Many tax collectors[n] and other sinners had become followers of Jesus, and they were also guests at the dinner.

16 Some of the teachers of the Law of Moses were Pharisees, and they saw Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors. So they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 Jesus heard them and answered, “Healthy people don't need a doctor, but sick people do. I didn't come to invite good people to be my followers. I came to invite sinners.”

People Ask about Going without Eating

(Matthew 9.14-17; Luke 5.33-39)

18 The followers of John the Baptist and the Pharisees often went without eating.[o] Some people came and asked Jesus, “Why do the followers of John and those of the Pharisees often go without eating, while your disciples never do?”

19 Jesus answered:

The friends of a bridegroom don't go without eating while he is still with them. 20 But the time will come when he will be taken from them. Then they will go without eating.

21 No one patches old clothes by sewing on a piece of new cloth. The new piece would shrink and tear a bigger hole.

22 No one pours new wine into old wineskins. The wine would swell and burst the old skins.[p] Then the wine would be lost, and the skins would be ruined. New wine must be put into new wineskins.

A Question about the Sabbath

(Matthew 12.1-8; Luke 6.1-5)

23 (I) One Sabbath Jesus and his disciples were walking through some wheat fields. His disciples were picking grains of wheat as they went along.[q] 24 Some Pharisees asked Jesus, “Why are your disciples picking grain on the Sabbath? They are not supposed to do that!”

25 (J) Jesus answered, “Haven't you read what David did when he and his followers were hungry and in need? 26 (K) It was during the time of Abiathar the high priest. David went into the house of God and ate the sacred loaves of bread that only priests are allowed to eat. He also gave some to his followers.”

27 Jesus finished by saying, “People were not made for the good of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for the good of people. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath.”

A Man with a Paralyzed Hand

(Matthew 12.9-14; Luke 6.6-11)

The next time Jesus went into the synagogue, a man with a paralyzed hand was there. The Pharisees[r] wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong, and they kept watching to see if Jesus would heal him on the Sabbath.

Jesus told the man to stand up where everyone could see him. Then he asked, “On the Sabbath should we do good deeds or evil deeds? Should we save someone's life or destroy it?” But no one said a word.

Jesus was angry as he looked around at the people. Yet he felt sorry for them because they were so stubborn. Then he told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did, and his bad hand was healed.

The Pharisees left. And at once they started making plans with Herod's followers[s] to kill Jesus.

Large Crowds Come to Jesus

Jesus led his disciples down to the shore of the lake. Large crowds followed him from Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. People came from Idumea, as well as other places east of the Jordan River. They also came from the region around the towns of Tyre and Sidon. All of these crowds came because they had heard what Jesus was doing. (L) He even had to tell his disciples to get a boat ready to keep him from being crushed by the crowds.

10 After Jesus had healed many people, the other sick people begged him to let them touch him. 11 And whenever any evil spirits saw Jesus, they would fall to the ground and shout, “You are the Son of God!” 12 But Jesus warned the spirits not to tell who he was.

Jesus Chooses His Twelve Apostles

(Matthew 10.1-4; Luke 6.12-16)

13 Jesus decided to ask some of his disciples to go up on a mountain with him, and they went. 14 Then he chose twelve of them to be his apostles,[t] so they could be with him. He also wanted to send them out to preach 15 and to force out demons. 16 Simon was one of the twelve, and Jesus named him Peter. 17 There were also James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. Jesus called them Boanerges, which means “Thunderbolts.” 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles. The others were Simon, known as the Eager One,[u] 19 and Judas Iscariot,[v] who later betrayed Jesus.

Jesus and the Ruler of Demons

(Matthew 12.22-32; Luke 11.14-23; 12.10)

20 Jesus went back home,[w] and once again such a large crowd gathered that there was no chance even to eat. 21 When Jesus' family heard what he was doing, they thought he was crazy and went to get him under control.

22 (M) Some teachers of the Law of Moses came from Jerusalem and said, “This man is under the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons! He is even forcing out demons with the help of Beelzebul.”

23 Jesus told the people to gather around him. Then he spoke to them in riddles and said:

How can Satan force himself out? 24 A nation whose people fight each other won't last very long. 25 And a family that fights won't last long either. 26 So if Satan fights against himself, that will be the end of him.

27 How can anyone break into the house of a strong man and steal his things, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can take everything.

28 I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. 29 (N) But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you forever.

30 Jesus said this because the people were saying that he had an evil spirit in him.

Jesus' Mother and Brothers

(Matthew 12.46-50; Luke 8.19-21)

31 Jesus' mother and brothers came and stood outside. Then they sent someone with a message for him to come out to them. 32 The crowd sitting around Jesus told him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters[x] are outside and want to see you.”

33 Jesus asked, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” 34 Then he looked at the people sitting around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 35 Anyone who obeys God is my brother or sister or mother.”


  1. 1.1 the Son of God: These words are not in some manuscripts.
  2. 1.7 untie his sandals: This was the duty of a slave.
  3. 1.14 that comes from God: Or “that is about God.”
  4. 1.15 will soon be here: Or “is already here.”
  5. 1.23 evil spirit: A Jewish person who had an evil spirit was considered “unclean” and was not allowed to eat or worship with other Jewish people.
  6. 1.32 after sunset: The Sabbath was over, and a new day began at sunset.
  7. 1.40 leprosy: In biblical times the word “leprosy” was used for many different kinds of skin diseases.
  8. 1.40 and knelt down: These words are not in some manuscripts.
  9. 1.41 felt sorry for: Some manuscripts have “was angry with.”
  10. 1.44 everyone will know that you have been healed: People with leprosy had to be examined by a priest and told that they were well (that is, “clean”) before they could once again live a normal life in the Jewish community. The gift that Moses commanded was the sacrifice of some lambs together with flour mixed with olive oil.
  11. 2.1 at home: Or “in the house” (perhaps Simon Peter's home).
  12. 2.4 roof: In Palestine the houses usually had a flat roof. Stairs on the outside led up to the roof that was made of beams and boards covered with packed earth.
  13. 2.15 Levi's house: Or “Jesus' house.”
  14. 2.15 tax collectors: These were usually Jewish people who paid the Romans for the right to collect taxes. They were hated by other Jews who thought of them as traitors to their country and to their religion.
  15. 2.18 without eating: The Jewish people sometimes went without eating (also called “fasting”) to show their love for God or to show sorrow for their sins.
  16. 2.22 swell and burst the old skins: While the juice from grapes was becoming wine, it would swell and stretch the skins in which it had been stored. If the skins were old and stiff, they would burst.
  17. 2.23 went along: It was the custom to let hungry travelers pick grains of wheat.
  18. 3.2 Pharisees: The Greek text has “they” (but see verse 6).
  19. 3.6 Herod's followers: People who were political followers of the family of Herod the Great and his son Herod Antipas.
  20. 3.14 to be his apostles: These words are not in some manuscripts.
  21. 3.18 known as the Eager One: The Greek text has “Cananaean,” which probably comes from a Hebrew word meaning “zealous” (see Luke 6.15). “Zealot” was the name later given to the members of a Jewish group that resisted and fought against the Romans.
  22. 3.19 Iscariot: This may mean “a man from Kerioth” (a place in Judea). But more probably it means “a man who was a liar” or “a man who was a betrayer.”
  23. 3.20 went back home: Or “entered a house” (perhaps the home of Simon Peter).
  24. 3.32 and sisters: These words are not in some manuscripts.

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