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Instructions for the twelve apostles

1Jesus called together his twelve apostles and gave them complete power over all demons and diseases.

2Then he sent them to tell about God's kingdom and to heal the sick.

3He told them, “Don't take anything with you! Don't take a walking stick or a travelling bag or food or money or even a change of clothes.

4When you are welcomed into a home, stay there until you leave that town.

5If people won't welcome you, leave the town and shake the dust from your feet as a warning to them.”

6The apostles left and went from village to village, telling the good news and healing people everywhere.

Herod is worried

7Herod the ruler heard about all that was happening, and he was worried. Some people were saying that John the Baptist had come back to life.

8Others were saying that Elijah had come or that one of the prophets from long ago had come back to life.

9But Herod said, “I had John's head cut off! Who is this I hear so much about?” Herod was eager to meet Jesus.

Jesus feeds five thousand

10The apostles came back and told Jesus everything they had done. He then took them with him to the village of Bethsaida, where they could be alone.

11But a lot of people found out about this and followed him. Jesus welcomed them. He spoke to them about God's kingdom and healed everyone who was sick.

12Late in the afternoon the twelve apostles came to Jesus and said, “Send the crowd to the villages and farms around here. They need to find a place to stay and something to eat. There is nothing in this place. It is like a desert!”

13Jesus answered, “You give them something to eat.” But they replied, “We have only five small loaves of bread and two fish. If we are going to feed all these people, we will have to go and buy food.”

14There were about five thousand men in the crowd. Jesus said to his disciples, “Tell the people to sit in groups of fifty.”

15They did this, and all the people sat down.

16Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up towards heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and fish and handed them to his disciples to give to the people.

17Everyone ate all they wanted. What was left over filled twelve baskets.

Who is Jesus?

18When Jesus was alone praying, his disciples came to him, and he asked them, “What do people say about me?”

19They answered, “Some say that you are John the Baptist or Elijah or a prophet from long ago who has come back to life.”

20Jesus then asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah sent from God.”

21Jesus strictly warned his disciples not to tell anyone about this.

Jesus speaks about his suffering and death

22Jesus told his disciples, “The nation's leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. They will reject him and kill him, but three days later he will rise to life.”

23Then Jesus said to all the people: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me.

24If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it.

25What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself or waste your life?

26If you are ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his glory and in the glory of his Father and the holy angels.

27You can be sure that some of the people standing here will not die before they see God's kingdom.

The true glory of Jesus

28About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James with him and went up on a mountain to pray.

29While he was praying, his face changed, and his clothes became shining white.

30Suddenly Moses and Elijah were there speaking with him.

31They appeared in heavenly glory and talked about all that Jesus' death in Jerusalem would mean.

32Peter and the other two disciples had been sound asleep. All at once they woke up and saw how glorious Jesus was. They also saw the two men who were with him.

33Moses and Elijah were about to leave, when Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here! Let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But Peter did not know what he was talking about.

34While Peter was still speaking, a shadow from a cloud passed over them, and they were frightened as the cloud covered them.

35From the cloud a voice spoke, “This is my chosen Son. Listen to what he says!”

36After the voice had spoken, Peter, John, and James saw only Jesus. For some time they kept quiet and did not say anything about what they had seen.

Jesus heals a boy

37The next day Jesus and his three disciples came down from the mountain and were met by a large crowd.

38Just then someone in the crowd shouted, “Teacher, please do something for my son! He is my only child!

39A demon often attacks him and makes him scream. It shakes him until he foams at the mouth, and it won't leave him until it has completely worn the boy out.

40I begged your disciples to force out the demon, but they couldn't do it.”

41Jesus said to them, “You people are stubborn and don't have any faith! How much longer must I be with you? Why do I have to put up with you?” Then Jesus said to the man, “Bring your son to me.”

42While the boy was being brought, the demon attacked him and made him shake all over. Jesus ordered the demon to stop. Then he healed the boy and gave him back to his father.

43Everyone was amazed at God's great power.

Jesus again speaks about his death

While everyone was still amazed at what Jesus was doing, he said to his disciples,

44“Pay close attention to what I am telling you! The Son of Man will be handed over to his enemies.”

45But the disciples did not know what he meant. The meaning was hidden from them. They could not understand it, and they were afraid to ask.

Who is the greatest?

46Jesus' disciples were arguing about which one of them was the greatest.

47Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he had a child stand there beside him.

48Then he said to his disciples, “When you welcome even a child because of me, you welcome me. And when you welcome me, you welcome the one who sent me. Whichever one of you is the most humble is the greatest.”

For or against Jesus

49John said, “Master, we saw a man using your name to force demons out of people. But we told him to stop, because he isn't one of us.”

50“Don't stop him!” Jesus said. “Anyone who isn't against you is for you.”

A Samaritan village refuses to receive Jesus

51Not long before it was time for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind to go to Jerusalem.

52He sent some messengers on ahead to a Samaritan village to get things ready for him.

53But he was on his way to Jerusalem, so the people there refused to welcome him.

54When the disciples James and John saw what was happening, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy these people?”

55But Jesus turned and corrected them for what they had said.

56Then they all went on to another village.

Three people who wanted to be followers

57Along the way someone said to Jesus, “I'll go anywhere with you!”

58Jesus said, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man doesn't have a place to call his own.”

59Jesus told someone else to come with him. But the man said, “Lord, let me wait until I bury my father.”

60Jesus answered, “Let the dead take care of the dead, while you go and tell about God's kingdom.”

61Then someone said to Jesus, “I want to go with you, Lord, but first let me go back and take care of things at home.”

62Jesus answered, “Anyone who starts ploughing and keeps looking back isn't worth a thing to God's kingdom!”

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