Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9:1-17

1 At about this time, Herod, the regional ruler, heard what was being said about Jesus. 2 He said to his servants, "This has to be John the Baptizer come back from the dead. That's why he's able to work miracles!" 3 Herod had arrested John, put him in chains, and sent him to prison to placate Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. 4 John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias "adultery." 5 Herod wanted to kill him, but he was afraid because so many people revered John as a prophet of God. 6 But at his birthday celebration, he got his chance. Herodias's daughter provided the entertainment, dancing for the guests. She swept Herod away. 7 In his drunken enthusiasm, he promised her on oath anything she wanted. 8 Already coached by her mother, she was ready: "Give me, served up on a platter, the head of John the Baptizer." 9 That sobered the king up fast. Unwilling to lose face with his guests, he did it 10 - ordered John's head cut off 11 and presented to the girl on a platter. She in turn gave it to her mother. 12 Later, John's disciples got the body, gave it a reverent burial, and reported to Jesus. 13 When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully - someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. 14 When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick. 15 Toward evening the disciples approached him. "We're out in the country and it's getting late. Dismiss the people so they can go to the villages and get some supper." 16 But Jesus said, "There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper." 17 "All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish," they said. 18 Jesus said, "Bring them here." 19 Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. 20 They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. 21 About five thousand were fed. 22 As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. 23 With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. 24 Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. 25 At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. 26 They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror. 27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. "Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid." 28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water." 29 He said, "Come ahead." 30 But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!" 31 Jesus didn't hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, "Faint-heart, what got into you?" 32 The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. 33 The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, "This is it! You are God's Son for sure!" 34 On return, they beached the boat at Gennesaret. 35 When the people got wind that he was back, they sent out word through the neighborhood and rounded up all the sick, 36 who asked for permission to touch the edge of his coat. And whoever touched him was healed.
1 He left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. 2 On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. "We had no idea he was this good!" they said. "How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?" 3 But in the next breath they were cutting him down: "He's just a carpenter - Mary's boy. We've known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?" They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further. 4 Jesus told them, "A prophet has little honor in his hometown, among his relatives, on the streets he played in as a child." 5 Jesus wasn't able to do much of anything there - he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that's all. 6 He couldn't get over their stubbornness. He left and made a circuit of the other villages, teaching. 7 Jesus called the Twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. 8 He sent them off with these instructions: "Don't think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple. 9 10 "And no luxury inns. Get a modest place and be content there until you leave. 11 "If you're not welcomed, not listened to, quietly withdraw. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way." 12 Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; 13 right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits. 14 King Herod heard of all this, for by this time the name of Jesus was on everyone's lips. He said, "This has to be John the Baptizer come back from the dead - that's why he's able to work miracles!" 15 Others said, "No, it's Elijah." Others said, "He's a prophet, just like one of the old-time prophets." 16 But Herod wouldn't budge: "It's John, sure enough. I cut off his head, and now he's back, alive." 17 Herod was the one who had ordered the arrest of John, put him in chains, and sent him to prison at the nagging of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. 18 For John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias "adultery." 19 Herodias, smoldering with hate, wanted to kill him, but didn't dare 20 because Herod was in awe of John. Convinced that he was a holy man, he gave him special treatment. Whenever he listened to him he was miserable with guilt - and yet he couldn't stay away. Something in John kept pulling him back. 21 But a portentous day arrived when Herod threw a birthday party, inviting all the brass and bluebloods in Galilee. 22 Herodias's daughter entered the banquet hall and danced for the guests. She dazzled Herod and the guests. 23 Carried away, he kept on, "I swear, I'll split my kingdom with you if you say so!" 24 She went back to her mother and said, "What should I ask for?" "Ask for the head of John the Baptizer." 25 Excited, she ran back to the king and said, "I want the head of John the Baptizer served up on a platter. And I want it now!" 26 That sobered the king up fast. But unwilling to lose face with his guests, he caved in and let her have her wish. 27 The king sent the executioner off to the prison with orders to bring back John's head. He went, cut off John's head, 28 brought it back on a platter, and presented it to the girl, who gave it to her mother. 29 When John's disciples heard about this, they came and got the body and gave it a decent burial. 30 The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. 31 Jesus said, "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest." For there was constant coming and going. They didn't even have time to eat. 32 So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. 33 Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke - like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them. 35 When his disciples thought this had gone on long enough - it was now quite late in the day - they interrupted: "We are a long way out in the country, and it's very late. 36 Pronounce a benediction and send these folks off so they can get some supper." 37 Jesus said, "You do it. Fix supper for them." They replied, "Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?" 38 But he was quite serious. "How many loaves of bread do you have? Take an inventory." That didn't take long. "Five," they said, "plus two fish." 39 Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred - they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! 40 41 He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. 42 They all ate their fill. 43 The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. 44 More than five thousand were at the supper. 45 As soon as the meal was finished, Jesus insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead across to Bethsaida while he dismissed the congregation. 46 After sending them off, he climbed a mountain to pray. 47 Late at night, the boat was far out at sea; Jesus was still by himself on land. 48 He could see his men struggling with the oars, the wind having come up against them. At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. He intended to go right by them. 49 But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and screamed, scared out of their wits. 50 Jesus was quick to comfort them: "Courage! It's me. Don't be afraid." 51 As soon as he climbed into the boat, the wind died down. They were stunned, shaking their heads, wondering what was going on. 52 They didn't understand what he had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts. 53 They beached the boat at Gennesaret and tied up at the landing. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, word got around fast. 55 People ran this way and that, bringing their sick on stretchers to where they heard he was. 56 Wherever he went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat - that's all. And whoever touched him became well.
1 Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. 2 He commissioned them to preach the news of God's kingdom and heal the sick. 3 He said, "Don't load yourselves up with equipment. 4 Keep it simple; you are the equipment. And no luxury inns - get a modest place and be content there until you leave. 5 If you're not welcomed, leave town. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on." 6 Commissioned, they left. They traveled from town to town telling the latest news of God, the Message, and curing people everywhere they went. 7 Herod, the ruler, heard of these goings on and didn't know what to think. There were people saying John had come back from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, still others that some prophet of long ago had shown up. 9 Herod said, "But I killed John - took off his head. So who is this that I keep hearing about?" Curious, he looked for a chance to see him in action. 10 The apostles returned and reported on what they had done. Jesus took them away, off by themselves, near the town called Bethsaida. 11 But the crowds got wind of it and followed. Jesus graciously welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God. Those who needed healing, he healed. 12 As the day declined, the Twelve said, "Dismiss the crowd so they can go to the farms or villages around here and get a room for the night and a bite to eat. We're out in the middle of nowhere." 13 "You feed them," Jesus said. 14 (There were more than five thousand people in the crowd.) 15 They did what he said, and soon had everyone seated. 16 He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread and fish to the disciples to hand out to the crowd. 17 After the people had all eaten their fill, twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered up.