After this, Jesus traveled around from one town and village to another. He announced the good news of God's kingdom. The Twelve were with him.
So were some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses. One was Mary Magdalene. Seven demons had come out of her.
Another was Joanna, the wife of Cuza. He was the manager of Herod's household. Susanna and many others were there also. These women were helping to support Jesus and the Twelve with their own money.
A large crowd gathered together. People came to Jesus from town after town. As they did, he told a story. He said,
"A farmer went out to plant his seed. He scattered the seed on the ground. Some fell on a path. People walked on it, and the birds of the air ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky places. When it grew, the plants dried up because they had no water.
Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up with it and crowded out the plants.
Still other seed fell on good soil. It grew up and produced a crop 100 times more than the farmer planted." When Jesus said this, he called out, "Those who have ears should listen."
His disciples asked him what the story meant.
He said, "You have been given the chance to understand the secrets of God's kingdom. But to outsiders I speak by using stories. In that way, " 'They see, but they will not know what they are seeing. They hear, but they will not understand what they are hearing.' #1(Isaiah 6:9)#2
"Here is what the story means. The seed is God's message.
People on the path are those who hear. But then the devil comes. He takes away the message from their hearts. He does it so they won't believe. Then they can't be saved.
Those on the rock are the ones who hear the message and receive it with joy. But they have no roots. They believe for a while. But when they are put to the test, they fall away from the faith.
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear the message. But as they go on their way, they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures. So they do not reach full growth.
"But the seed on good soil stands for those with an honest and good heart. They hear the message. They keep it in their hearts. They remain faithful and produce a good crop.
"People do not light a lamp and then hide it in a jar or put it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand. Then those who come in can see its light.
What is hidden will be seen. And what is out of sight will be brought into the open and made known.
"So be careful how you listen. If you have something, you will be given more. If you have nothing, even what you think you have will be taken away from you."
Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him. But they could not get near him because of the crowd.
Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside. They want to see you."
He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and do what it says."
One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and left.
As they sailed, Jesus fell asleep. A storm came down on the lake. It was so bad that the boat was about to sink. They were in great danger.
The disciples went and woke Jesus up. They said, "Master! Master! We're going to drown!" He got up and ordered the wind and the huge waves to stop. The storm quieted down. It was completely calm.
"Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. They were amazed and full of fear. They asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the waves, and they obey him."
Jesus and his disciples sailed to the area of the Gerasenes across the lake from Galilee.
When Jesus stepped on shore, he was met by a man from the town. The man was controlled by demons. For a long time he had not worn clothes or lived in a house. He lived in the tombs.
When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet. He shouted at the top of his voice, "Jesus, Son of the Most High God, what do you want with me? I beg you, don't hurt me!"
This was because Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times the spirit had taken hold of him. His hands and feet were chained, and he was kept under guard. But he had broken his chains. And then the demon had forced him to go out into lonely places in the countryside.
Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him.
And they begged Jesus again and again not to order them to go into the Abyss.
A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs. And he allowed it.
When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs. Then the herd rushed down the steep bank. They ran into the lake and drowned.
Those who were tending the pigs saw what had happened. They ran off and reported it in the town and countryside.
The people went out to see what had happened. Then they came to Jesus. They found the man who was now free of the demons. He was sitting at Jesus' feet. He was dressed and thinking clearly. All this made the people afraid.
Those who had seen it told the others how the man who had been controlled by demons was now healed.
Then all the people who lived in the area of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them. They were filled with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
The man who was now free of the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him away. He said to him,
"Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away. He told people all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
When Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him. They were all expecting him.
Then a man named Jairus came. He was a synagogue ruler. He fell at Jesus' feet. He begged Jesus to come to his house.
His only daughter was dying. She was about 12 years old. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.
A woman was there who had a sickness that made her bleed. Her sickness had lasted for 12 years. No one could heal her.
She came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his clothes. Right away her bleeding stopped.
"Who touched me?" Jesus asked. They all said they didn't do it. Then Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pushing against you."
But Jesus said, "Someone touched me. I know that power has gone out from me."
The woman realized that people would notice her. Shaking with fear, she came and fell at his feet. In front of everyone, she told why she had touched him. She also told how she had been healed in an instant.
Then he said to her, "Dear woman, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."
While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus. Jairus was the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," the messenger said. "Don't bother the teacher anymore."
Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just believe. She will be healed."
When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let everyone go in with him. He took only Peter, John and James, and the child's father and mother.
During this time, all the people were crying and sobbing loudly over the child. "Stop crying!" Jesus said. "She is not dead. She is sleeping."
They laughed at him. They knew she was dead.
But he took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!"
Her spirit returned, and right away she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.
Her parents were amazed. But Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.