The Mission of the Twelve
9 1 Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. 2 He commissioned them to preach the news of God's kingdom and heal the sick. 3 He said, "Don't load yourselves up with equipment. 4 Keep it simple; you are the equipment. And no luxury inns - get a modest place and be content there until you leave. 5 If you're not welcomed, leave town. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on." 6 Commissioned, they left. They traveled from town to town telling the latest news of God, the Message, and curing people everywhere they went.
The Death of John the Baptist
7 Herod, the ruler, heard of these goings on and didn't know what to think. There were people saying John had come back from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, still others that some prophet of long ago had shown up. 9 Herod said, "But I killed John - took off his head. So who is this that I keep hearing about?" Curious, he looked for a chance to see him in action.
The Feeding of the Five Thousand
10 The apostles returned and reported on what they had done. Jesus took them away, off by themselves, near the town called Bethsaida. 11 But the crowds got wind of it and followed. Jesus graciously welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God. Those who needed healing, he healed. 12 As the day declined, the Twelve said, "Dismiss the crowd so they can go to the farms or villages around here and get a room for the night and a bite to eat. We're out in the middle of nowhere." 13 "You feed them," Jesus said. 14 (There were more than five thousand people in the crowd.) 15 They did what he said, and soon had everyone seated. 16 He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread and fish to the disciples to hand out to the crowd. 17 After the people had all eaten their fill, twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered up.