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The People of Nazareth Turn against Jesus

(Matthew 13.53-58; Luke 4.16-30)

Jesus left and returned to his hometown[a] with his disciples. The next Sabbath he taught in the synagogue. 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 upset because of what he was doing.

(A) 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

(Matthew 10.5-15; Luke 9.1-6)

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. (B) 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 (C) 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 (D) 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

(Matthew 14.1-12; Luke 9.7-9)

14 (E) 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 (F) 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, “Here and now on a serving plate I want the head of John the Baptist!”

26 Herod 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 serving plate 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

(Matthew 14.13-21; Luke 9.10-17; John 6.1-14)

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 (G) 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's 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 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 tell the people to sit down on the green grass. 40 They sat down in groups of 100 and groups of 50.

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 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 5,000 men who ate the food.

Jesus Walks on the Water

(Matthew 14.22-33; John 6.15-21)

45 At once, 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 goodbye and went up on the side of a mountain to pray.

47 Later in the 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 this 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

(Matthew 14.34-36)

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.

The Teaching of the Ancestors

(Matthew 15.1-9)

Some Pharisees and several teachers of the Law of Moses from Jerusalem came and gathered around Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples ate without first washing their hands.[m]

The Pharisees and many others obey the teachings of their ancestors. They always wash their hands in the proper way[n] before eating. None of them will eat anything they buy in the market until it is washed. They also follow a lot of other teachings, such as washing cups, pitchers, and bowls.[o]

The Pharisees and teachers asked Jesus, “Why don't your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? Why do they eat without washing their hands?”

(H) Jesus replied:

You are nothing but show-offs! The prophet Isaiah was right when he wrote that God had said,

“All of you praise me
    with your words,
but you never really
    think about me.
It is useless for you
    to worship me,
when you teach rules
    made up by humans.”

You disobey God's commands in order to obey what humans have taught. You are good at rejecting God's commands so that you can follow your own teachings! 10 (I) Didn't Moses command you to respect your father and mother? Didn't he tell you to put to death all who curse their parents? 11 But you let people get by without helping their parents when they should. You let them say that what they own has been offered to God.[p] 12 You won't let those people help their parents. 13 And you ignore God's commands in order to follow your own teaching. You do a lot of other things just as bad.

What Really Makes People Unclean

(Matthew 15.10-20)

14 Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 15-16 The food that you put into your mouth doesn't make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”[q]

17 After Jesus and his disciples had left the crowd and gone into the house, they asked him what these sayings meant. 18 He answered, “Don't you know what I am talking about by now? You surely know that the food you put into your mouth cannot make you unclean. 19 It doesn't go into your heart, but into your stomach, and then out of your body.” By saying this, Jesus meant that all foods were fit to eat.

20 Then Jesus said:

What comes from your heart is what makes you unclean. 21 Out of your heart come evil thoughts, vulgar deeds, stealing, murder, 22 unfaithfulness in marriage, greed, meanness, deceit, indecency, envy, insults, pride, and foolishness. 23 All of these come from your heart, and they are what make you unfit to worship God.

A Woman's Faith

(Matthew 15.21-28)

24 Jesus left and went to the region near the town of Tyre, where he stayed in someone's home. He did not want people to know he was there, but they found out anyway. 25 A woman whose daughter had an evil spirit in her heard where Jesus was. And at once she came and knelt down at his feet. 26 The woman was Greek and had been born in the part of Syria known as Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to force the demon out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus said, “The children must first be fed! It isn't right to take away their food and feed it to dogs.”[r]

28 The woman replied, “Lord, even puppies eat the crumbs that children drop from the table.”

29 Jesus answered, “That's true! You may go now. The demon has left your daughter.” 30 When the woman got back home, she found her child lying on the bed. The demon had gone.

Jesus Heals a Man Who Was Deaf and Could Hardly Talk

31 Jesus left the region around Tyre and went by way of Sidon toward Lake Galilee. He went through the land near the ten cities known as Decapolis.[s] 32 Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk. They begged Jesus just to touch him.

33 After Jesus had taken him aside from the crowd, he stuck his fingers in the man's ears. Then he spit and put it on the man's tongue. 34 Jesus looked up toward heaven, and with a groan he said, “Effatha!”[t] which means “Open up!” 35 At once the man could hear, and he had no more trouble talking clearly.

36 Jesus told the people not to say anything about what he had done. But the more he told them, the more they talked about it. 37 They were completely amazed and said, “Everything he does is good! He even heals people who cannot hear or talk.”


  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 “200 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.
  13. 7.2 without first washing their hands: The Jewish people had strict laws about washing their hands before eating, especially if they had been out in public.
  14. 7.3 in the proper way: The Greek text has “with the fist,” but the exact meaning is not clear. It could mean “to the wrist” or “to the elbow.”
  15. 7.4 bowls: Some manuscripts add “and sleeping mats.”
  16. 7.11 has been offered to God: According to Jewish custom, when anything was offered to God, it could not be used for anyone else, not even for a person's parents.
  17. 7.15,16 unclean: Some manuscripts add, “If you have ears, pay attention.”
  18. 7.27 feed it to dogs: Some Jewish people referred to Gentiles as dogs.
  19. 7.31 the ten cities known as Decapolis: See the note at 5.20.
  20. 7.34 Effatha: This word is in Aramaic, a language spoken in Palestine during the time of Jesus.

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