As soon as Jesus heard the news, he went off by himself in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed by land from many villages.
A vast crowd was there as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
That evening the disciples came to him and said, "This is a desolate place, and it is getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves."
But Jesus replied, "That isn't necessary -- you feed them."17
"Impossible!" they exclaimed. "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish!"
18"Bring them here," he said.
Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. And he took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and asked God's blessing on the food. Breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave some of the bread and fish to each disciple, and the disciples gave them to the people.
They all ate as much as they wanted, and they picked up twelve baskets of leftovers.
About five thousand men had eaten from those five loaves, in addition to all the women and children!
Immediately after this, Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home.
Afterward he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.
About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water.
When the disciples saw him, they screamed in terror, thinking he was a ghost.
But Jesus spoke to them at once. "It's all right," he said. "I am here! Don't be afraid."28
Then Peter called to him, "Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water."
29"All right, come," Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.
But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted.
Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him. "You don't have much faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?" 32
And when they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
Then the disciples worshiped him. "You really are the Son of God!" they exclaimed.
After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret.
The news of their arrival spread quickly throughout the whole surrounding area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed.
The sick begged him to let them touch even the fringe of his robe, and all who touched it were healed.
Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to interview Jesus.
"Why do your disciples disobey our age-old traditions?" they demanded. "They ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat."
Jesus replied, "And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? 4For instance, God says, 'Honor your father and mother,' and 'Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.' 5But you say, 'You don't need to honor your parents by caring for their needs if you give the money to God instead.' 6And so, by your own tradition, you nullify the direct commandment of God. 7You hypocrites! Isaiah was prophesying about you when he said,8'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. 9Their worship is a farce, for they replace God's commands with their own man-made teachings.'"10
Then Jesus called to the crowds and said, "Listen to what I say and try to understand. 11You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do."12
Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?"
Jesus replied, "Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be rooted up, 14so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch."15
Then Peter asked Jesus, "Explain what you meant when you said people aren't defiled by what they eat."
16"Don't you understand?" Jesus asked him.
17"Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes out of the body. 18But evil words come from an evil heart and defile the person who says them. 19For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all other sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands could never defile you and make you unacceptable to God!"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)