Teaching at Nazareth
1Jesus left there and came to His hometown [Nazareth]; and His disciples followed Him. 2When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and many who listened to Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things [this knowledge and spiritual insight]? What is this wisdom [this confident understanding of the Scripture] that has been given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? 3Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are His sisters not here with us?” And they were [deeply] offended by Him [and their disapproval blinded them to the fact that He was anointed by God as the Messiah]. 4Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor (respect) except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5And He could not do a miracle there at all [because of their unbelief] except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6He wondered at their unbelief.
And He was going around in the villages teaching.
The Twelve Sent Out
7And He called the twelve [disciples] and began to send them out [as His special messengers] two by two, and gave them authority and power over the unclean spirits. 8He told them to take nothing for the journey except a mere walking stick—no bread, no [traveler’s] bag, no money in their belts— 9but to wear sandals; and [He told them] not to wear two tunics. 10And He told them, “Wherever you go into a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11Any place that does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet as a testimony against them [breaking all ties with them because they rejected My message].” 12So they went out and preached that men should repent [that is, think differently, recognize sin, turn away from it, and live changed lives]. 13And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many who were sick, and healing them.
John’s Fate Recalled
14King Herod [Antipas] heard about this, for Jesus’ name and reputation had become well known. People were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.” 15But others were saying, “He is Elijah!” And others were saying, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets [of old].” 16But when Herod heard [of it], he kept saying, “John, whom I beheaded, has risen [from the dead]!”
17For Herod himself had sent [guards] and had John arrested and shackled in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his [half-] brother Philip, because he (Herod) had married her. 18For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful [under Mosaic Law] for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not, 20because Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he continually kept him safe. When he heard John [speak], he was very perplexed; but he enjoyed listening to him. 21But an opportune time [finally] came [for Herodias]. Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his officials (nobles, courtiers) and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22Now [Salome] the daughter of Herodias came in and danced [for the men]. She pleased and beguiled Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” 23And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give it to you; up to half of my kingdom.” 24She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” And Herodias replied, “The head of John the Baptist!” 25And she rushed back to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter!” 26The king was deeply grieved, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests [who might have regarded him as weak], he was unwilling to [break his word and] refuse her. 27So the king immediately sent for an executioner and commanded him to bring back John’s head. And he went and had John beheaded in the prison, 28and brought back his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29When his disciples heard about this, they came and took away John’s body and laid it in a tomb.
Five Thousand Fed
30The apostles [who had been sent out on a mission] gathered together with Jesus and told Him everything that they had done and taught. 31He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while”—for there were many [people who were continually] coming and going, and they could not even find time to eat. 32And they went away by themselves in the boat to a secluded place. 33Many [people] saw them leaving, and recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the [surrounding] cities, and got there ahead of them. 34When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd [waiting], and He was moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd [lacking guidance]; and He began to teach them many things. 35When the day was nearly gone, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is an isolated place, and it is already late; 36send the crowds away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37But He replied, “You give them something to eat!” And they asked Him, “Shall we go and buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!” And when they found out, they said, “Five [loaves], and two fish.” 39Then Jesus commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass. 40They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties [so that the crowd resembled an orderly arrangement of colorful garden plots]. 41Taking the five loaves and two fish, He looked up to heaven and said a blessing [of praise and thanksgiving to the Father]. Then He broke the loaves and [repeatedly] gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and He divided up the two fish among them all. 42They all ate and were satisfied. 43And the disciples picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces [of the loaves], and of the fish. 44Those who ate the loaves were five thousand men [not counting the women and children].
Jesus Walks on the Water
45Jesus immediately insisted that His disciples get into the boat and go ahead [of Him] to the other side to Bethsaida, while He was dismissing the crowd. 46And after He said goodbye to them, He went to the mountain to pray.
47Now when evening had come, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and Jesus was alone on the land. 48Seeing the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night (3:00-6:00 a.m.) He came to them, walking on the sea. And [acted as if] He intended to pass by them. 49But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost, and cried out [in horror]; 50for they all saw Him and were shaken and terrified. But He immediately spoke with them and said, “Take courage! It is I (I AM)! Stop being afraid.” 51Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased [as if exhausted by its own activity]; and they were completely overwhelmed, 52because they had not understood [the miracle of] the loaves [how it revealed the power and deity of Jesus]; but [in fact] their heart was hardened [being oblivious and indifferent to His amazing works].
Healing at Gennesaret
53When they had crossed over [the sea], they reached the land of Gennesaret and anchored at the shore. 54They got out of the boat and immediately people recognized Him, 55and ran throughout that surrounding countryside and began to carry around on their mats those who were sick, to any place where they heard He was. 56And wherever He came into villages, or cities, or the countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places and pleading with Him [to allow them] just to touch the fringe (tassel with a blue cord) of His robe; and all who touched it were healed.