The Twelve Commissioned and Sent Out
And summoning the twelve, he gave them power and authority over all the demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. And he said to them, “Take along nothing for the journey—neither a staff, nor a traveler’s bag, nor bread, nor money, nor to have two tunics apiece. And into whatever house you enter, stay there and depart from there. And as for all those who do not welcome you—when you depart from that town, shake off the dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” So they departed and went throughout the villages, proclaiming the good news and healing everywhere.
Herod Perplexed About Jesus
Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed, because it was said by some that John has been raised from the dead, and by some that Elijah had appeared, and others that some prophet of ancient times had risen. And Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he was wanting to see him.
The Feeding of Five Thousand
And when they returned, the apostles described to him all that they had done. And he took them along and withdrew privately to a town called Bethsaida. But when the crowds found out, they followed him, and welcoming them, he began to speak to them about the kingdom of God, and he cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to be far spent, and the twelve came up and said to him, “Send away the crowd so that they can go into the surrounding villages and farms to obtain lodging and find provisions, because we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat!” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and purchase food for all these people.” (For there were about five thousand men.) So he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them and began giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied, and what was left over was picked up by them—twelve baskets of broken pieces.
And it happened that while he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, saying, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered and said, “John the Baptist, but others, Elijah, and others, that one of the ancient prophets has risen.” And he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”
Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection
But he warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “It is necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised on the third day.”
Taking Up One’s Cross to Follow Jesus
And he said to them all, “If anyone wants to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life on account of me, this person will save it. For what is a person benefited if he gains the whole world but loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of this person when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some of those standing here who will never experience death until they see the kingdom of God.”
Now it happened that about eight days after these words, he took along Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face became different, and his clothing became white, gleaming like lightning. And behold, two men were talking with him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and were speaking about his departure which he was about to fulfill in Jerusalem.
Now Peter and those with him were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men who were standing with him. And it happened that as they were going away from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here. And let us make three shelters, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah,” not knowing what he was saying. And while he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered into the cloud. And a voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him!” And after the voice had occurred, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
A Demon-possessed Boy Healed
Now it happened that on the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, saying, “Teacher, I beg you to look with concern on my son, because he is my only son! And behold, a spirit seizes him and suddenly he screams, and it convulses him with foam and rarely withdraws from him, battering him severely. And I begged your disciples that they would expel it, and they were not able to do so.” So Jesus answered and said, “O unbelieving and perverted generation! How long will I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here!” And while he was still approaching, the demon threw him down and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And they were all astounded at the impressiveness of God.
Jesus Predicts His Suffering
But while they were all marveling at all the things that he was doing, he said to his disciples, “You take these words to heart, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they could not understand it. And they were afraid to ask him about this statement.
The Question About Who Is Greatest
And an argument developed among them as to who of them might be greatest. But Jesus, because he knew the thoughts of their hearts, took hold of a child and had him stand beside him and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For the one who is least among you all—this one is great.”
Whoever Is Not Against Us Is for Us
And John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone expelling demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him, because he does not follow in company with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, because whoever is not against you is for you.”
Jesus Rejected in a Samaritan Village
Now it happened that when the days were approaching for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers before him, and they went and entered into a village of the Samaritans in order to prepare for him. And they did not welcome him because he was determined to go to Jerusalem. Now when the disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned around and rebuked them, and they proceeded to another village.
And as they were traveling on the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go!” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” And he said to another, “Follow me!” But he said, “Lord, first allow me to go and bury my father.” But he said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead! But you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And another person also said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first allow me to say farewell to those in my house.” But Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand on the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God!”
Questions for Reflection:
- In your own words, answer the question: who is Jesus? What things about Jesus do you most treasure? What things about Jesus would you like to understand better?
- How does knowing that the cross comes before the crown help us in our suffering and difficulties as Christians?
- What attitude adjustment(s) do you think you need most?