Ministry of the Twelve
1Now Jesus called together the twelve [disciples] and gave them [the right to exercise] power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2Then He sent them out [on a brief journey] to preach the kingdom of God and to perform healing. 3And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey [that might encumber you]—neither a walking stick, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. 4Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city [to go to another]. 5And as for all those who do not welcome you, when you leave that city, shake the dust off your feet [breaking all ties with them] as a testimony against them [that they rejected My message].” 6So they began going from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing the sick everywhere.
7Now Herod [Antipas] the tetrarch [who governed a portion of Palestine including Galilee and Perea] heard about all that was being done [by Jesus], and he was thoroughly perplexed, because it was said by some that John [the Baptist whom he had ordered beheaded] had been raised from the dead, 8and by others that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the [other] prophets of old had been resurrected. 9Herod said, “I personally had John beheaded. Who is this man about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see Jesus.
10When the apostles returned, they told Him all that they had done. He took them with Him and He privately withdrew [across the Jordan] to a city called Bethsaida. 11But when the crowds learned of it, they followed Him; and He welcomed them and He began talking to them about the kingdom of God, and healing those who needed to be healed.
Five Thousand Fed
12Now the day was ending, and the twelve [disciples] came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging, and get provisions; because here we are in an isolated place.” 13But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.” 14(For there were about 5,000 men.) And He said to His disciples, “Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each.” 15They did so, and had them all sit down. 16Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and He looked up to heaven [and gave thanks] and blessed them, and broke them and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17They all ate and were [completely] satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were [abundant and were] picked up—twelve baskets full.
18Now it happened that as Jesus was praying privately, the disciples were with Him, and He asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19They answered, “John the Baptist, and some say, Elijah; but others, that one of the ancient prophets has come back to life.” 20And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “The Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) of God!” 21But He strictly warned and admonished them not to tell this to anyone, 22saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected [as the Messiah] by the elders and chief priests and scribes (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), and be put to death, and on the third day be raised up [from death to life].”
23And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. 24For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake, he is the one who will save it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God]. 25For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], and loses or forfeits himself? 26For whoever is ashamed [here and now] 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 [heavenly] Father and of the holy angels. 27But I tell you truthfully, there are some among those standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
28Now about eight days after these teachings, He took along Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29As He was praying, the appearance of His face became different [actually transformed], and His clothing became white and flashing with the brilliance of lightning. 30And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 31who appeared in glory, and were speaking of His departure [from earthly life], which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and those who were with him had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and splendor and majesty, and the two men who were standing with Him. 33And as these [men, Moses and Elijah] were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is delightful and good for us to be here; we should make three [sacred] tents; one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying. 34But even as he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were [greatly] afraid as they entered the cloud. 35Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, My Chosen One; listen and obey and yield to Him!” 36When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found there alone. And they kept silent, and told no one at that time any of the things which they had seen [concerning the divine manifestation].
37On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him. 38And a man from the crowd shouted for help, “Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, because he is my only child; 39and a spirit seizes him, and suddenly he cries out, and it throws him into a convulsion so that he foams at the mouth; and only with [great] difficulty does it leave him, mauling and bruising him as it leaves. 40I begged Your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” 41Jesus answered, “You unbelieving and perverted generation! How long shall I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here [to Me].” 42Even while the boy was coming, the demon slammed him down and threw him into a [violent] convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43They were all amazed [practically overwhelmed] at the [evidence of the] greatness of God and His majesty and His wondrous work.
But while they were still awed by everything Jesus was doing, He said to His disciples, 44“Let these words sink into your ears: the Son of Man is going to be betrayed and handed over to men [who are His enemies].” 45However, they did not understand this statement. Its meaning was kept hidden from them so that they would not grasp it; and they were afraid to ask Him about it.
The Test of Greatness
46An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest [surpassing the others in esteem and authority]. 47But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and had him stand beside Him, 48and He told them, “Whoever welcomes this child in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me [also] welcomes Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you [that is, the one who is genuinely humble—the one with a realistic self-view]—he is the one who is [truly] great.”
49John replied, “Master, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name; and we tried to stop him because he does not follow along with us.” 50But Jesus told him, “Do not stop him; for he who is not against you is for you.”
51Now when the time was approaching for Him to be taken up [to heaven], He was determined to go to Jerusalem [to fulfill His purpose]. 52He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went into a Samaritan village to make arrangements for Him; 53but the people would not welcome Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. 54When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and destroy them?” 55But He turned and rebuked them [and He said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are; 56for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”] And they journeyed on to another village.
57As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” 58And Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” 59He said to another, “Follow Me [accepting Me as Master and Teacher].” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.” 60But He said to him, “Allow the [spiritually] dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and spread the news about the kingdom of God.” 61Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord [as Your disciple]; but first let me say goodbye to those at my home.” 62But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.”