Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. The Spirit led Jesus into the desert
where the devil tempted Jesus for forty days. Jesus ate nothing during that time, and when those days were ended, he was very hungry.
The devil said to Jesus, "If you are the Son of God, tell this rock to become bread."
Jesus answered, "It is written in the Scriptures: 'A person does not live by eating only bread.'"
Then the devil took Jesus and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in an instant.
The devil said to Jesus, "I will give you all these kingdoms and all their power and glory. It has all been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish.
If you worship me, then it will all be yours."
Jesus answered, "It is written in the Scriptures: 'You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.'"
Then the devil led Jesus to Jerusalem and put him on a high place of the Temple. He said to Jesus, "If you are the Son of God, jump down.
It is written in the Scriptures: 'He has put his angels in charge of you to watch over you.'
It is also written: 'They will catch you in their hands so that you will not hit your foot on a rock.'"
Jesus answered, "But it also says in the Scriptures: 'Do not test the Lord your God.'"
After the devil had tempted Jesus in every way, he left him to wait until a better time.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit, and stories about him spread all through the area.
He began to teach in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
Jesus traveled to Nazareth, where he had grown up. On the Sabbath day he went to the synagogue, as he always did, and stood up to read.
The book of Isaiah the prophet was given to him. He opened the book and found the place where this is written:
"The Lord has put his Spirit in me, because he appointed me to tell the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to tell the captives they are free and to tell the blind that they can see again.
God sent me to free those who have been treated unfairly and to announce the time when the Lord will show his kindness."
Jesus closed the book, gave it back to the assistant, and sat down. Everyone in the synagogue was watching Jesus closely.
He began to say to them, "While you heard these words just now, they were coming true!"
All the people spoke well of Jesus and were amazed at the words of grace he spoke. They asked, "Isn't this Joseph's son?"
Jesus said to them, "I know that you will tell me the old saying: 'Doctor, heal yourself.' You want to say, 'We heard about the things you did in Capernaum. Do those things here in your own town!'"
Then Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, a prophet is not accepted in his hometown.
But I tell you the truth, there were many widows in Israel during the time of Elijah. It did not rain in Israel for three and one-half years, and there was no food anywhere in the whole country.
But Elijah was sent to none of those widows, only to a widow in Zarephath, a town in Sidon.
And there were many with skin diseases living in Israel during the time of the prophet Elisha. But none of them were healed, only Naaman, who was from the country of Syria."
When all the people in the synagogue heard these things, they became very angry.
They got up, forced Jesus out of town, and took him to the edge of the cliff on which the town was built. They planned to throw him off the edge,
but Jesus walked through the crowd and went on his way.
Jesus went to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and on the Sabbath day, he taught the people.
They were amazed at his teaching, because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue a man who had within him an evil spirit shouted in a loud voice,
"Jesus of Nazareth! What do you want with us? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are -- God's Holy One!"
Jesus commanded the evil spirit, "Be quiet! Come out of the man!" The evil spirit threw the man down to the ground before all the people and then left the man without hurting him.
The people were amazed and said to each other, "What does this mean? With authority and power he commands evil spirits, and they come out."
And so the news about Jesus spread to every place in the whole area.
Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Simon's mother-in-law was sick with a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her.
He came to her side and commanded the fever to leave. It left her, and immediately she got up and began serving them.
When the sun went down, the people brought those who were sick to Jesus. Putting his hands on each sick person, he healed every one of them.
Demons came out of many people, shouting, "You are the Son of God." But Jesus commanded the demons and would not allow them to speak, because they knew Jesus was the Christ.
At daybreak, Jesus went to a lonely place, but the people looked for him. When they found him, they tried to keep him from leaving.
But Jesus said to them, "I must preach about God's kingdom to other towns, too. This is why I was sent."
Then he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.