Jesus called the Twelve together. He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to heal sicknesses.
Then he sent them out to preach about God's kingdom and to heal those who were sick.
He told them, "Don't take anything for the journey. Do not take a walking stick or a bag. Do not take any bread, money or extra clothes.
When you are invited into a house, stay there until you leave town.
Some people may not welcome you. If they don't, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town. This will be a witness against the people living there."
So the Twelve left. They went from village to village. They preached the good news and healed people everywhere.
Now Herod, the ruler of Galilee, heard about everything that was going on. He was bewildered, because some were saying that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead.
Others were saying that Elijah had appeared. Still others were saying that a prophet of long ago had come back to life.
But Herod said, "I had John's head cut off. So who is it that I hear such things about?" And he tried to see Jesus.
The apostles returned. They told Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him. They went off by themselves to a town called Bethsaida.
But the crowds learned about it and followed Jesus. He welcomed them and spoke to them about God's kingdom. He also healed those who needed to be healed.
Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him. They said, "Send the crowd away. They can go to the nearby villages and countryside. There they can find food and a place to stay. There is nothing here."
Jesus replied, "You give them something to eat." The disciples answered, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish. We would have to go and buy food for all this crowd."
About 5,000 men were there. But Jesus said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each."
The disciples did so, and everyone sat down.
Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up to heaven and gave thanks. He broke them into pieces. Then he gave them to the disciples to set in front of the people.
All of them ate and were satisfied. The disciples picked up 12 baskets of leftover pieces.
One day Jesus was praying alone. Only his disciples were with him. He asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. Still others say that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life."
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "The Christ of God."
Jesus strongly warned them not to tell this to anyone.
He said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things. The elders will not accept him. The chief priests and teachers of the law will not accept him either. He must be killed and on the third day rise from the dead."
Then he said to all of them, "If anyone wants to follow me, he must say no to himself. He must pick up his cross every day and follow me.
If he wants to save his life, he will lose it. But if he loses his life for me, he will save it.
What good is it if someone gains the whole world but loses or gives up his very self?
"Suppose you are ashamed of me and my words. The Son of Man will come in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. Then he will be ashamed of you.
"What I'm about to tell you is true. Some who are standing here will not die before they see God's kingdom."
About eight days after Jesus said this, he went up on a mountain to pray. He took Peter, John and James with him.
As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed. His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Two men, Moses and Elijah,
appeared in shining glory. Jesus and the two of them talked together. They spoke about his coming death. He was going to die soon in Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions had been very sleepy. But then they became completely awake. They saw Jesus' glory and the two men standing with him.
As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter spoke up. "Master," he said to him, "it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters. One will be for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He didn't really know what he was saying.
While Jesus was speaking, a cloud appeared. It surrounded them. The disciples were afraid as they entered the cloud.
A voice came from the cloud. It said, "This is my Son, and I have chosen him. Listen to him."
When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept quiet about this. They didn't tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
The next day Jesus and those who were with him came down from the mountain. A large crowd met Jesus.
A man in the crowd called out. "Teacher," he said, "I beg you to look at my son. He is my only child.
A spirit takes hold of him, and he suddenly screams. It throws him into fits so that he foams at the mouth. It hardly ever leaves him. It is destroying him.
I begged your disciples to drive it out. But they couldn't do it."
"You unbelieving and evil people!" Jesus replied. "How long do I have to stay with you? How long do I have to put up with you?" Then he said to the man, "Bring your son here."
Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him into a fit. The boy fell to the ground. But Jesus ordered the evil spirit to leave the boy. Then Jesus healed him and gave him back to his father.
They were all amazed at God's greatness. Everyone was wondering about all that Jesus did. Then Jesus said to his disciples,
"Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you. The Son of Man is going to be handed over to men."
But they didn't understand what this meant. That was because it was hidden from them. And they were afraid to ask Jesus about it.
The disciples began to argue about which one of them would be the most important person.
Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he took a little child and had the child stand beside him.
Then he spoke to them. "Anyone who welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me," he said. "And anyone who welcomes me welcomes the One who sent me. The least important person among all of you is the most important."
"Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name. We tried to stop him, because he is not one of us."
"Do not stop him," Jesus said. "Anyone who is not against you is for you."
The time grew near for Jesus to be taken up to heaven. So he made up his mind to go to Jerusalem.
He sent messengers on ahead. They went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him.
But the people there did not welcome Jesus. That was because he was heading for Jerusalem.
The disciples James and John saw this. They asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy them?"
But Jesus turned and commanded them not to do it.
They went on to another village.
Once Jesus and those who were with him were walking along the road. A man said to Jesus, "I will follow you no matter where you go."
Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes. Birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
Jesus said to him, "Let dead people bury their own dead. You go and tell others about God's kingdom."
Still another man said, "I will follow you, Lord. But first let me go back and say good-by to my family."
Jesus replied, "Suppose you start to plow and then look back. If you do, you are not fit for service in God's kingdom."