Jesus left there and went to his hometown, and his followers went with him.
On the Sabbath day he taught in the synagogue. Many people heard him and were amazed, saying, "Where did this man get these teachings? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? And where did he get the power to do miracles?
He is just the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters are here with us." So the people were upset with Jesus.
Jesus said to them, "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his hometown and with his own people and in his own home."
So Jesus was not able to work any miracles there except to heal a few sick people by putting his hands on them.
He was amazed at how many people had no faith. Then Jesus went to other villages in that area and taught.
He called his twelve followers together and got ready to send them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
This is what Jesus commanded them: "Take nothing for your trip except a walking stick. Take no bread, no bag, and no money in your pockets.
Wear sandals, but take only the clothes you are wearing.
When you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.
If the people in a certain place refuse to welcome you or listen to you, leave that place. Shake its dust off your feetn as a warning to them."
So the followers went out and preached that people should change their hearts and lives.
They forced many demons out and put olive oil on many sick people and healed them.
King Herod heard about Jesus, because he was now well known. Some people said, "He is John the Baptist, who has risen from the dead. That is why he can work these miracles."
Others said, "He is Elijah." Other people said, "Jesus is a prophet, like the prophets who lived long ago."
When Herod heard this, he said, "I killed John by cutting off his head. Now he has risen from the dead!"
Herod himself had ordered his soldiers to arrest John and put him in prison in order to please his wife, Herodias. She had been the wife of Philip, Herod's brother, but then Herod had married her.
John had been telling Herod, "It is not lawful for you to be married to your brother's wife."
So Herodias hated John and wanted to kill him. But she couldn't,
because Herod was afraid of John and protected him. He knew John was a good and holy man. Also, though John's preaching always bothered him, he enjoyed listening to John.
Then the perfect time came for Herodias to cause John's death. On Herod's birthday, he gave a dinner party for the most important government leaders, the commanders of his army, and the most important people in Galilee.
When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and the people eating with him. So King Herod said to the girl, "Ask me for anything you want, and I will give it to you."
He promised her, "Anything you ask for I will give to you -- up to half of my kingdom."
The girl went to her mother and asked, "What should I ask for?" Her mother answered, "Ask for the head of John the Baptist."
At once the girl went back to the king and said to him, "I want the head of John the Baptist right now on a platter."
Although the king was very sad, he had made a promise, and his dinner guests had heard it. So he did not want to refuse what she asked.
Immediately the king sent a soldier to bring John's head. The soldier went and cut off John's head in the prison
and brought it back on a platter. He gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother.
When John's followers heard this, they came and got John's body and put it in a tomb.
The apostles gathered around Jesus and told him about all the things they had done and taught.
Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat. He said to them, "Come away by yourselves, and we will go to a lonely place to get some rest."
So they went in a boat by themselves to a lonely place.
But many people saw them leave and recognized them. So from all the towns they ran to the place where Jesus was going, and they got there before him.
When he arrived, he saw a great crowd waiting. He felt sorry for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things.
When it was late in the day, his followers came to him and said, "No one lives in this place, and it is already very late.
Send the people away so they can go to the countryside and towns around here to buy themselves something to eat."
But Jesus answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "We would all have to work a month to earn enough money to buy that much bread!"
Jesus asked them, "How many loaves of bread do you have? Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five loaves and two fish."
Then Jesus told his followers to have the people sit in groups on the green grass.
So they sat in groups of fifty or a hundred.
Jesus took the five loaves and two fish and, looking up to heaven, he thanked God for the food. He divided the bread and gave it to his followers for them to give to the people. Then he divided the two fish among them all.
All the people ate and were satisfied.
The followers filled twelve baskets with the leftover pieces of bread and fish.
There were five thousand men who ate.
Immediately Jesus told his followers to get into the boat and go ahead of him to Bethsaida across the lake. He stayed there to send the people home.
After sending them away, he went into the hills to pray.
That night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on the land.
He saw his followers struggling hard to row the boat, because the wind was blowing against them. Between three and six o'clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the water, and he wanted to walk past the boat.
But when they saw him walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost and cried out.
They all saw him and were afraid. But quickly Jesus spoke to them and said, "Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid."
Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind became calm. The followers were greatly amazed.
They did not understand about the miracle of the five loaves, because their minds were closed.
When they had crossed the lake, they came to shore at Gennesaret and tied the boat there.
When they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized Jesus.
They ran everywhere in that area and began to bring sick people on mats wherever they heard he was.
And everywhere he went -- into towns, cities, or countryside -- the people brought the sick to the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch just the edge of his coat, and all who touched it were healed.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.