Not long afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby cities and villages to announce the Good News concerning the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him,
along with some women he had healed and from whom he had cast out evil spirits. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons;
Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.
One day Jesus told this story to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him:
"A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds came and ate it.
Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. This seed began to grow, but soon it withered and died for lack of moisture.
Other seed fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades.
Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop one hundred times as much as had been planted." When he had said this, he called out, "Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!"
His disciples asked him what the story meant.
He replied, "You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. But I am using these stories to conceal everything about it from outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: 'They see what I do, but they don't really see; they hear what I say, but they don't understand.' "
"This is the meaning of the story: The seed is God's message.
The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the message, but then the Devil comes and steals it away and prevents them from believing and being saved.
The rocky soil represents those who hear the message with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don't go very deep. They believe for a while, but they wilt when the hot winds of testing blow.
The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity.
But the good soil represents honest, good-hearted people who hear God's message, cling to it, and steadily produce a huge harvest."
"No one would light a lamp and then cover it up or put it under a bed. No, lamps are mounted in the open, where they can be seen by those entering the house.
For everything that is hidden or secret will eventually be brought to light and made plain to all.
So be sure to pay attention to what you hear. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening, even what they think they have will be taken away from them."
Once when Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, they couldn't get to him because of the crowds.
Someone told Jesus, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to see you."
Jesus replied, "My mother and my brothers are all those who hear the message of God and obey it."
One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's cross over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and started out.
On the way across, Jesus lay down for a nap, and while he was sleeping the wind began to rise. A fierce storm developed that threatened to swamp them, and they were in real danger.
The disciples woke him up, shouting, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" So Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm!
Then he asked them, "Where is your faith?" And they were filled with awe and amazement. They said to one another, "Who is this man, that even the winds and waves obey him?"
So they arrived in the land of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee.
As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. Homeless and naked, he had lived in a cemetery for a long time.
As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell to the ground before him, screaming, "Why are you bothering me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don't torture me!"
For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was shackled with chains, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon's power.
"What is your name?" Jesus asked. "Legion," he replied -- for the man was filled with many demons.
The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the Bottomless Pit.
A large herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons pleaded with him to let them enter into the pigs. Jesus gave them permission.
So the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake, where they drowned.
When the herdsmen saw it, they fled to the nearby city and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran.
A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, for they wanted to see for themselves what had happened. And they saw the man who had been possessed by demons sitting quietly at Jesus' feet, clothed and sane. And the whole crowd was afraid.
Then those who had seen what happened told the others how the demon-possessed man had been healed.
And all the people in that region begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them. So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake.
The man who had been demon possessed begged to go, too, but Jesus said,
"No, go back to your family and tell them all the wonderful things God has done for you." So he went all through the city telling about the great thing Jesus had done for him.
On the other side of the lake the crowds received Jesus with open arms because they had been waiting for him.
And now a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell down at Jesus' feet, begging him to come home with him.
His only child was dying, a little girl twelve years old. As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds.
And there was a woman in the crowd who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had spent everything she had on doctors and still could find no cure.
She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.
"Who touched me?" Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, "Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you."
But Jesus told him, "No, someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me."
When the woman realized that Jesus knew, she began to tremble and fell to her knees before him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed.
"Daughter," he said to her, "your faith has made you well. Go in peace."
While he was still speaking to her, a messenger arrived from Jairus's home with the message, "Your little girl is dead. There's no use troubling the Teacher now."
But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just trust me, and she will be all right."
When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn't let anyone go in with him except Peter, James, John, and the little girl's father and mother.
The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, "Stop the weeping! She isn't dead; she is only asleep."
But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died.
Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, "Get up, my child!"
And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up! Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.
Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened.