When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
He told them: "Take nothing for the journey--no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town.
If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them."
So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead,
others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life.
But Herod said, "I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?" And he tried to see him.
When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida,
but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, "Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here."
He replied, "You give them something to eat." They answered, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish--unless we go and buy food for all this crowd."
(About five thousand men were there.) But he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each."
The disciples did so, and everybody sat down.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people.
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life."
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "The Christ of God."
Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone.
And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.
As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Two men, Moses and Elijah,
appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him."
When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.
The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.
A man in the crowd called out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.
A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him.
I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not."
"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here."
Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.
And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples,
"Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men."
But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.
Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him.
Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest."
"Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us."
"Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;
but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them ?"
But Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they went to another village.
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."
Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
"When you enter a house, first say, `Peace to this house.'
If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.
Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
"When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.
Heal the sick who are there and tell them, `The kingdom of God is near you.'
But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say,
`Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.'
I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.
And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.
"He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."
He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
He answered: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, `Love your neighbor as yourself.' "
"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.
The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. `Look after him,' he said, `and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,
but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.