Some Women Accompany Jesus
8 1 He continued according to plan, traveled to town after town, village after village, preaching God's kingdom, spreading the Message. The Twelve were with him. 2 There were also some women in their company who had been healed of various evil afflictions and illnesses: Mary, the one called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; 3 Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's manager; and Susanna - along with many others who used their considerable means to provide for the company.
The Parable of the Sower
4 As they went from town to town, a lot of people joined in and traveled along. He addressed them, using this story: 5 "A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some of it fell on the road; it was tramped down and the birds ate it. 6 Other seed fell in the gravel; it sprouted, but withered because it didn't have good roots. 7 Other seed fell in the weeds; the weeds grew with it and strangled it. 8 Other seed fell in rich earth and produced a bumper crop. "Are you listening to this? Really listening?" 9 His disciples asked, "Why did you tell this story?" 10 He said, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom - you know how it works. There are others who need stories. But even with stories some of them aren't going to get it: Their eyes are open but don't see a thing, Their ears are open but don't hear a thing. 11 "This story is about some of those people. The seed is the Word of God. 12 The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won't believe and be saved. 13 "The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn't go very deep. It's only another fad, and the moment there's trouble it's gone. 14 "And the seed that fell in the weeds - well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun. 15 "But the seed in the good earth - these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there's a harvest.
A Light under a Vessel
16 "No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way. 17 We're not keeping secrets; we're telling them. We're not hiding things; we're bringing everything out into the open. 18 So be careful that you don't become misers of what you hear. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes."
Jesus' Mother and Brethren
19 His mother and brothers showed up but couldn't get through to him because of the crowd. 20 He was given the message, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside wanting to see you." 21 He replied, "My mother and brothers are the ones who hear and do God's Word. Obedience is thicker than blood."
Jesus Calms a Storm
22 One day he and his disciples got in a boat. "Let's cross the lake," he said. And off they went. 23 It was smooth sailing, and he fell asleep. A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize. 24 They woke Jesus: "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" Getting to his feet, he told the wind, "Silence!" and the waves, "Quiet down!" They did it. The lake became smooth as glass. 25 Then he said to his disciples, "Why can't you trust me?" They were in absolute awe, staggered and stammering, "Who is this, anyway? He calls out to the winds and sea, and they do what he tells them!"
The Gadarene Demoniac Healed
26 They sailed on to the country of the Gerasenes, directly opposite Galilee. 27 As he stepped out onto land, a madman from town met him; he was a victim of demons. He hadn't worn clothes for a long time, nor lived at home; he lived in the cemetery. 28 When he saw Jesus he screamed, fell before him, and bellowed, "What business do you have messing with me? You're Jesus, Son of the High God, but don't give me a hard time!" 29 (The man said this because Jesus had started to order the unclean spirit out of him.) Time after time the demon threw the man into convulsions. He had been placed under constant guard and tied with chains and shackles, but crazed and driven wild by the demon, he would shatter the bonds. 30 Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" 31 And they begged Jesus desperately not to order them to the bottomless pit. 32 A large herd of pigs was browsing and rooting on a nearby hill. The demons begged Jesus to order them into the pigs. He gave the order. 33 It was even worse for the pigs than for the man. Crazed, they stampeded over a cliff into the lake and drowned. 34 Those tending the pigs, scared to death, bolted and told their story in town and country. 35 People went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had been sent, sitting there at Jesus' feet, wearing decent clothes and making sense. It was a holy moment, and for a short time they were more reverent than curious. 36 Then those who had seen it happen told how the demoniac had been saved. 37 Later, a great many people from the Gerasene countryside got together and asked Jesus to leave - too much change, too fast, and they were scared. So Jesus got back in the boat and set off. 38 The man whom he had delivered from the demons asked to go with him, but he sent him back, saying, 39 "Go home and tell everything God did in you." So he went back and preached all over town everything Jesus had done in him.
Jairus' Daughter and the Woman Who Touched Jesus' Garment
40 On his return, Jesus was welcomed by a crowd. They were all there expecting him. 41 A man came up, Jairus by name. He was president of the meeting place. He fell at Jesus' feet and begged him to come to his home 42 because his twelve-year-old daughter, his only child, was dying. Jesus went with him, making his way through the pushing, jostling crowd. 43 In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. 44 She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus' robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. 45 Jesus said, "Who touched me?" When no one stepped forward, Peter said, "But Master, we've got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you." 46 Jesus insisted, "Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me." 47 When the woman realized that she couldn't remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story - why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed. 48 Jesus said, "Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you're healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!" 49 While he was still talking, someone from the leader's house came up and told him, "Your daughter died. No need now to bother the Teacher." 50 Jesus overheard and said, "Don't be upset. Just trust me and everything will be all right." 51 Going into the house, he wouldn't let anyone enter with him except Peter, John, James, and the child's parents. 52 Everyone was crying and carrying on over her. Jesus said, "Don't cry. She didn't die; she's sleeping." 53 They laughed at him. They knew she was dead. 54 Then Jesus, gripping her hand, called, "My dear child, get up." 55 She was up in an instant, up and breathing again! He told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were ecstatic, but Jesus warned them to keep quiet. "Don't tell a soul what happened in this room."
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.
18 One time when Jesus was off praying by himself, his disciples nearby, he asked them, "What are the crowds saying about me, about who I am?" 19 They said, "John the Baptizer. Others say Elijah. Still others say that one of the prophets from long ago has come back." 20 He then asked, "And you - what are you saying about me? Who am I?" Peter answered, "The Messiah of God."
Jesus Foretells His Death
21 Jesus then warned them to keep it quiet. They were to tell no one what Peter had said. 22 He went on, "It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the religious leaders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and on the third day be raised up alive." 23 Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat - I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. 24 Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. 25 What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? 26 If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I'm leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn't, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. 27 Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God."
28 About eight days after saying this, he climbed the mountain to pray, taking Peter, John, and James along. 29 While he was in prayer, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes became blinding white. 30 At once two men were there talking with him. They turned out to be Moses and Elijah - 31 and what a glorious appearance they made! They talked over his exodus, the one Jesus was about to complete in Jerusalem. 32 Meanwhile, Peter and those with him were slumped over in sleep. When they came to, rubbing their eyes, they saw Jesus in his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 When Moses and Elijah had left, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, this is a great moment! Let's build three memorials: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He blurted this out without thinking. 34 While he was babbling on like this, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them. As they found themselves buried in the cloud, they became deeply aware of God. 35 Then there was a voice out of the cloud: "This is my Son, the Chosen! Listen to him." 36 When the sound of the voice died away, they saw Jesus there alone. They were speechless. And they continued speechless, said not one thing to anyone during those days of what they had seen.
Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit
37 When they came down off the mountain the next day, a big crowd was there to meet them. 38 A man called from out of the crowd, "Please, please, Teacher, take a look at my son. He's my only child. 39 Often a spirit seizes him. Suddenly he's screaming, thrown into convulsions, his mouth foaming. And then it beats him black and blue before it leaves. 40 I asked your disciples to deliver him but they couldn't." 41 Jesus said, "What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring your son here." 42 While he was coming, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into convulsions. Jesus stepped in, ordered the vile spirit gone, healed the boy, and handed him back to his father.
43 They all shook their heads in wonder, astonished at God's greatness, God's majestic greatness.
Jesus Again Foretells His Death
44 "Treasure and ponder each of these next words: The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into human hands." 45 They didn't get what he was saying. It was like he was speaking a foreign language and they couldn't make heads or tails of it. But they were embarrassed to ask him what he meant.
Who Is the Greatest?
46 They started arguing over which of them would be most famous. 47 When Jesus realized how much this mattered to them, he brought a child to his side. 48 "Whoever accepts this child as if the child were me, accepts me," he said. "And whoever accepts me, accepts the One who sent me. You become great by accepting, not asserting. Your spirit, not your size, makes the difference."
He That Is Not against Us Is for Us
Jesus Rebukes James and John
51 When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers on ahead. They came to a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his hospitality. 53 But when the Samaritans learned that his destination was Jerusalem, they refused hospitality. 54 When the disciples James and John learned of it, they said, "Master, do you want us to call a bolt of lightning down out of the sky and incinerate them?" 55 Jesus turned on them: "Of course not!" 56 And they traveled on to another village.
The Would-be Followers of Jesus
57 On the road someone asked if he could go along. "I'll go with you, wherever," he said. 58 Jesus was curt: "Are you ready to rough it? We're not staying in the best inns, you know." 59 Jesus said to another, "Follow me." He said, "Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father's funeral." 60 Jesus refused. "First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God's kingdom!" 61 Then another said, "I'm ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home." 62 Jesus said, "No procrastination. No backward looks. You can't put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day."