When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons1 and to cure diseases,2
and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God3 and to heal the sick.
He told them: "Take nothing for the journey--no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.4
Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town.
If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them."5
So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
Now Herod6 the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John7 had been raised from the dead,8
others that Elijah had appeared,9 and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life.10
But Herod said, "I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?" And he tried to see him.11
When the apostles12 returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida,13
but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God,14 and healed those who needed healing.
Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, "Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here."
He replied, "You give them something to eat." They answered, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish--unless we go and buy food for all this crowd."
(About five thousand men were there.) But he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each."
The disciples did so, and everybody sat down.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them.15 Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people.
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Once when Jesus was praying16 in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist;17 others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life."18