After this, Jesus traveled from one city and village to another. He spread the Good News about God's kingdom. The twelve apostles were with him.
Also, some women were with him. They had been cured from evil spirits and various illnesses. These women were Mary, also called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out;
Joanna, whose husband Chusa was Herod's administrator; Susanna; and many other women. They provided financial support for Jesus and his disciples.
When a large crowd had gathered and people had come to Jesus from every city, he used this story as an illustration:
"A farmer went to plant his seeds. Some seeds were planted along the road, were trampled, and were devoured by birds.
Others were planted on rocky soil. When the plants came up, they withered because they had no moisture.
Others were planted among thornbushes. The thornbushes grew up with them and choked them.
Others were planted on good ground. When they came up, they produced a hundred times as much as was planted." After he had said this, he called out, "Let the person who has ears listen!"
His disciples asked him what this story meant.
Jesus answered, "Knowledge about the mysteries of the kingdom of God has been given [directly] to you. But it is given to others in stories. When they look, they don't see, and when they hear, they don't understand.
"This is what the story illustrates: The seed is God's word.
Some people are like seeds that were planted along the road. They hear the word, but then the devil comes. He takes the word away from them so that they don't believe and become saved.
Some people are like seeds on rocky soil. They welcome the word with joy whenever they hear it, but they don't develop any roots. They believe for a while, but when their faith is tested, they abandon it.
The seeds that were planted among thornbushes are people who hear the word, but as life goes on the worries, riches, and pleasures of life choke them. So they don't produce anything good.
The seeds that were planted on good ground are people who also hear the word. But they keep it in their good and honest hearts and produce what is good despite what life may bring.
"No one lights a lamp and hides it under a bowl or puts it under a bed. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand so that those who come in will see the light.
There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light.
"So pay attention to how you listen! Those who understand [these mysteries] will be given [more knowledge]. However, some people don't understand [these mysteries]. Even what they think they understand will be taken away from them."
His mother and his brothers came to see him. But they couldn't meet with him because of the crowd.
Someone told Jesus, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside. They want to see you."
He answered them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear and do what God's word says."
One day Jesus and his disciples got into a boat. He said to them, "Let's cross to the other side of the lake." So they started out.
As they were sailing along, Jesus fell asleep. A violent storm came across the lake. The boat was taking on water, and they were in danger.
They went to him, woke him up, and said, "Master! Master! We're going to die!" Then he got up and ordered the wind and the waves to stop. The wind stopped, and the sea became calm.
He asked them, "Where is your faith?" Frightened and amazed, they asked each other, "Who is this man? He gives orders to the wind and the water, and they obey him!"
They landed in the region of the Gerasenes across from Galilee.
When Jesus stepped out on the shore, a certain man from the city met him. The man was possessed by demons and had not worn clothes for a long time. He would not stay in a house but lived in the tombs.
When he saw Jesus, he shouted, fell in front of him, and said in a loud voice, "Why are you bothering me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you not to torture me!"
Jesus ordered the evil spirit to come out of the man. (The evil spirit had controlled the man for a long time. People had kept him under guard. He was chained hand and foot. But he would break the chains. Then the demon would force him to go into the desert.)
Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He answered, "Legion [Six Thousand]." (Many demons had entered him.)
The demons begged Jesus not to order them to go into the bottomless pit.
A large herd of pigs was feeding on a mountainside. The demons begged Jesus to let them enter those pigs. So he let them do this.
The demons came out of the man and went into the pigs. Then the herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned.
When those who had taken care of the pigs saw what had happened, they ran away. They reported everything in the city and countryside.
The people went to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone out. Dressed and in his right mind, he was sitting at Jesus' feet. The people were frightened.
Those who had seen this told the people how Jesus had restored the demon-possessed man to health.
Then all the people from the surrounding region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave because they were terrified. Jesus got into a boat and started back.
The man from whom the demons had gone out begged him, "Let me go with you." But Jesus sent the man away and told him,
"Go home to your family, and tell them how much God has done for you." So the man left. He went through the whole city and told people how much Jesus had done for him.
When Jesus came back, a crowd welcomed him. Everyone was expecting him.
A man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, arrived and quickly bowed down in front of Jesus. He begged Jesus to come to his home.
His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying. As Jesus went, the people were crowding around him.
A woman who had been suffering from chronic bleeding for twelve years was in the crowd. No one could cure her.
She came up behind Jesus, touched the edge of his clothes, and her bleeding stopped at once.
Jesus asked, "Who touched me?" After everyone denied touching him, Peter said, "Teacher, the people are crowding you and pressing against you."
Jesus said, "Someone touched me. I know power has gone out of me."
The woman saw that she couldn't hide. Trembling, she quickly bowed in front of him. There, in front of all the people, she told why she touched him and how she was cured at once.
Jesus told her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace!"
While Jesus was still speaking to her, someone came from the synagogue leader's home. He said, "Your daughter is dead. Don't bother the teacher anymore."
When Jesus heard this, he told the synagogue leader, "Don't be afraid! Just believe, and she will get well."
Jesus went into the house. He allowed no one to go with him except Peter, John, James, and the child's parents.
Everyone was crying and showing how sad they were. Jesus said, "Don't cry! She's not dead. She's just sleeping."
They laughed at him because they knew she was dead.
But Jesus took her hand and called out, "Child, get up!"
She came back to life and got up at once. He ordered her parents to give her something to eat.
They were amazed. Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.
Jesus called the twelve apostles together and gave them power and authority over every demon and power and authority to cure diseases.
He sent them to spread the message about the kingdom of God and to cure the sick.
He told them, "Don't take anything along on the trip. Don't take a walking stick, traveling bag, any food, money, or a change of clothes.
When you go into a home, stay there until you're ready to leave.
If people don't welcome you, leave that city, and shake its dust off your feet as a warning to them."
The apostles went from village to village, told the Good News, and cured the sick everywhere.
Herod the ruler heard about everything that was happening. He didn't know what to make of it. Some people were saying that John had come back to life.
Others said that Elijah had appeared, and still others said that one of the prophets from long ago had come back to life.
Herod said, "I had John's head cut off. Who is this person I'm hearing so much about?" So Herod wanted to see Jesus.
The apostles came back and told Jesus everything they had done. He took them with him to a city called Bethsaida so that they could be alone.
But the crowds found out about this and followed him. He welcomed them, talked to them about the kingdom of God, and cured those who were sick.
Toward the end of the day, the twelve apostles came to him. They said to him, "Send the crowd to the closest villages and farms so that they can find some food and a place to stay. No one lives around here."
Jesus replied, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "We have five loaves of bread and two fish. Unless we go to buy food for all these people, that's all we have."
(There were about five thousand men.) Then he told his disciples, "Have them sit in groups of about fifty."
So they did this.
Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, and blessed the food. He broke the loaves apart and kept giving them to the disciples to give to the crowd.
All of them ate as much as they wanted. When they picked up the leftover pieces, they filled twelve baskets.
Once when Jesus was praying privately and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do people say I am?"
They answered, "Some say you are John the Baptizer, others Elijah, and still others say that one of the prophets from long ago has come back to life."
He asked them, "But who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, whom God has sent."
He ordered them not to tell this to anyone.
Jesus said that the Son of Man would have to suffer a lot. He would be rejected by the leaders, the chief priests, and the scribes. He would be killed, but on the third day he would come back to life.
He said to all of them, "Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses every day, and follow me.
Those who want to save their lives will lose them. But those who lose their lives for me will save them.
What good does it do for people to win the whole world but lose their lives by destroying them?
If people are ashamed of me and what I say, the Son of Man will be ashamed of those people when he comes in the glory that he shares with the Father and the holy angels.
"I can guarantee this truth: Some people who are standing here will not die until they see the kingdom of God."
About eight days after he had said this, Jesus took Peter, John, and James with him and went up a mountain to pray.
While Jesus was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.
Suddenly, both Moses and Elijah were talking with him.
They appeared in heavenly glory and were discussing Jesus' approaching death and what he was about to fulfill in Jerusalem.
Peter and the men with him were sleeping soundly. When they woke up, they saw Jesus' glory and the two men standing with him.
As Moses and Elijah were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Teacher, it's good that we're here. Let's put up three tents--one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." Peter didn't know what he was saying.
While he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them. They were frightened as they went into the cloud.
A voice came out of the cloud and said, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen. Listen to him!"
After the voice had spoken, they saw that Jesus was alone. The disciples said nothing, and for some time they told no one about what they had seen.
The next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus.
A man in the crowd shouted, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son. He's my only child.
Whenever a spirit takes control of him, he shrieks, goes into convulsions, and foams at the mouth. After a struggle, the spirit goes away, leaving the child worn out.
I begged your disciples to force the spirit out of him, but they couldn't do it."
Jesus answered, "You unbelieving and corrupt generation! How long must I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here!"
While he was coming [to Jesus], the demon knocked the boy to the ground and threw him into convulsions. Jesus ordered the evil spirit to leave. He cured the boy and gave him back to his father.
Everyone was amazed to see God's wonderful power. Everyone was amazed at all the things that Jesus was doing. So he said to his disciples,
"Listen carefully to what I say. The Son of Man will be betrayed and handed over to people."
They didn't know what he meant. The meaning was hidden from them so that they didn't understand it. Besides, they were afraid to ask him about what he had said.
A discussion started among them about who would be the greatest.
Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he took a little child and had him stand beside him.
Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me. Whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. The one who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest."
John replied, "Master, we saw someone forcing demons out of a person by using the power and authority of your name. We tried to stop him because he was not one of us."
Jesus said to him, "Don't stop him! Whoever isn't against you is for you."
The time was coming closer for Jesus to be taken to heaven. So he was determined to go to Jerusalem.
He sent messengers ahead of him. They went into a Samaritan village to arrange a place for him to stay.
But the people didn't welcome him, because he was on his way to Jerusalem.
James and John, his disciples, saw this. They asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?"
But he turned and corrected them.
So they went to another village.
As they were walking along the road, a man said to Jesus, "I'll follow you wherever you go."
Jesus told him, "Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to sleep."
He told another man, "Follow me!" But the man said, "Sir, first let me go to bury my father."
But Jesus told him, "Let the dead bury their own dead. You must go everywhere and tell about the kingdom of God."
Another said, "I'll follow you, sir, but first let me tell my family goodbye."
Jesus said to him, "Whoever starts to plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God."