1Jesus left there and went to his home town, accompanied by his disciples.2When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?3Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,* Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him.4Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’5He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few people who were ill and heal them.
Jesus sends out the Twelve
6He was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.7Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.8These were his instructions: ‘Take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.9Wear sandals but not an extra shirt.10Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.11And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’12They went out and preached that people should repent.13They drove out many demons and anointed with oil many people who were ill and healed them.
John the Baptist beheaded
14King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying,* ‘John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’15Others said, ‘He is Elijah.’ And still others claimed, ‘He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.’16But when Herod heard this, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!’17For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married.18For John had been saying to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’19So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to,20because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled*; yet he liked to listen to him.21Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.22When the daughter of* Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.’23And he promised her with an oath, ‘Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.’24She went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask for?’ ‘The head of John the Baptist,’ she answered.25At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: ‘I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a dish.’26The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.27So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison,28and brought back his head on a dish. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother.29On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Jesus feeds the five thousand
30The apostles gathered round Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.31Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’32So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.33But many who saw them leaving recognised them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.34When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.35By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. ‘This is a remote place,’ they said, ‘and it’s already very late.36Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.’37But he answered, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘That would take more than half a year’s wages*! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?’38‘How many loaves do you have?’ he asked. ‘Go and see.’ When they found out, they said, ‘Five – and two fish.’39Then Jesus told them to make all the people sit down in groups on the green grass.40So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties.41Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.42They all ate and were satisfied,43and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.44The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
Jesus walks on the water
45Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.46After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.47Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.48He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them,49but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out,50because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’51Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed,52for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.53When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there.54As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognised Jesus.55They ran throughout that whole region and carried those who were ill on mats to wherever they heard he was.56And wherever he went – into villages, towns or countryside – they placed those who were ill in the market-places. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.