I left there and went to my hometown, accompanied by my disciples. 2When the Sabbath came, I began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard me were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! 3Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at me.
4I said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” 5I could not do any miracles there, except lay my hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6And I was amazed at their lack of faith.
Then I went around teaching from village to village. 7Calling the Twelve to me, I sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
8These were my instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. 10Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust of your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”
12They went out and preached that people should repent. 13They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
14King Herod heard about this, for my name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
15Others said, “He is Elijah.”
And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”
16But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
17For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philips’ wife, whom he had married. 18For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.
21Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.
The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
24She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”
“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.
25At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
26The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
30The apostles gathered around me and reported to me all they had done and taught. 31Then, because so many people were coming and going that we did not even have a chance to eat, I said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32So we went away by ourselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33But many who saw us leaving recognized us and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of us. 34When I landed and saw a large crowd, I had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So I began teaching them many things.
35By this time it was late in the day, so my disciples came to me. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
37But I answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to me, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
38”How many loaves do you have?” I asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five – and two fish.”
39Then I directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, I gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then I gave them to my disciples to set before the people. I also divided the two fish among them all. 42We all ate and were satisfied, 43and my disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
45Immediately I made my disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of me to Bethsaida, while I dismissed the crowd. 46After leaving them, I went up on a mountainside to pray.
47When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and I was alone on land. 48I saw my disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night I went out to them, walking on the lake. I was about to pass by them, 49but when they saw me walking on the lake, they thought I was a ghost. They cried out, 50because they all saw me and were terrified.
Immediately I spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51Then I climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
53When we had crossed over, we landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54As soon as we got out of the boat, people recognized me. 55They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard I was. 56And wherever I went – into villages, towns or countryside – they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged me to let them touch even the edge of my cloak, and all who touched me were healed.