At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus,
and he said to his attendants, "This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him."
Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife,
for John had been saying to him: "It is not lawful for you to have her."
Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet.
On Herod's birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much
that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.
Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted
and had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.
John's disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus. -- Mt 15:32-38
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."
Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.
"Bring them here to me," he said.
And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,
but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret.
And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him
and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked,
"Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!"
Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?
For God said, `Honor your father and mother' and `Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'
But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, `Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,'
he is not to `honor his father ' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
"`These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' "
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand.
What goes into a man's mouth does not make him `unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him `unclean.'"
Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?"
He replied, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.
Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."
Peter said, "Explain the parable to us."
"Are you still so dull?" Jesus asked them.
"Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man `unclean.'
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
These are what make a man `unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him `unclean.'"
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.
He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down.
Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.
The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way."
His disciples answered, "Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?"
"How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked. "Seven," they replied, "and a few small fish."
He told the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.
They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
The number of those who ate was four thousand, besides women and children.
After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied, "When evening comes, you say, `It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,'
and in the morning, `Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.
When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread.
"Be careful," Jesus said to them. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
They discussed this among themselves and said, "It is because we didn't bring any bread."
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, "You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?
Do you still not understand? Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?
Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?
How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"
Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
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.
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