Just a Carpenter 6 1He left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. 2On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?” 3But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?” They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further. 4Jesus told them, “A prophet has little honor in his hometown, among his relatives, on the streets he played in as a child.” 5Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there—he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that’s all. 6He couldn’t get over their stubbornness. He left and made a circuit of the other villages, teaching. The Twelve 7Jesus called the Twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. 898-9He sent them off with these instructions: “Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple. 10“And no luxury inns. Get a modest place and be content there until you leave. 11“If you’re not welcomed, not listened to, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.” 12Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; 13right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits. The Death of John 14King Herod heard of all this, for by this time the name of Jesus was on everyone’s lips. He said, “This has to be John the Baptizer come back from the dead—that’s why he’s able to work miracles!” 15Others said, “No, it’s Elijah.” Others said, “He’s a prophet, just like one of the old–time prophets.” 16But Herod wouldn’t budge: “It’s John, sure enough. I cut off his head, and now he’s back, alive.” 17Herod was the one who had ordered the arrest of John, put him in chains, and sent him to prison at the nagging of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. 18For John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias “adultery.” 19Herodias, smoldering with hate, wanted to kill him, but didn’t dare 20because Herod was in awe of John. Convinced that he was a holy man, he gave him special treatment. Whenever he listened to him he was miserable with guilt—and yet he couldn’t stay away. Something in John kept pulling him back. 21But a portentous day arrived when Herod threw a birthday party, inviting all the brass and bluebloods in Galilee. 22Herodias’s daughter entered the banquet hall and danced for the guests. She dazzled Herod and the guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me anything. I’ll give you anything you want.” 23Carried away, he kept on, “I swear, I’ll split my kingdom with you if you say so!” 24She went back to her mother and said, “What should I ask for?” “Ask for the head of John the Baptizer.” 25Excited, she ran back to the king and said, “I want the head of John the Baptizer served up on a platter. And I want it now!” 26That sobered the king up fast. But unwilling to lose face with his guests, he caved in and let her have her wish. 27The king sent the executioner off to the prison with orders to bring back John’s head. He went, cut off John’s head, 28brought it back on a platter, and presented it to the girl, who gave it to her mother. 29When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and got the body and gave it a decent burial. Supper for Five Thousand 30The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. 31Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat. 32So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. 33Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. 34When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke—like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them. 35When his disciples thought this had gone on long enough—it was now quite late in the day—they interrupted: “We are a long way out in the country, and it’s very late. 36Pronounce a benediction and send these folks off so they can get some supper.” 37Jesus said, “You do it. Fix supper for them.” They replied, “Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?” 38But he was quite serious. “How many loaves of bread do you have? Take an inventory.” That didn’t take long. “Five,” they said, “plus two fish.” 394039-40Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred—they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! 41He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. 42They all ate their fill. 43The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. 44More than five thousand were at the supper. Walking on the Sea 45As soon as the meal was finished, Jesus insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead across to Bethsaida while he dismissed the congregation. 46After sending them off, he climbed a mountain to pray. 47Late at night, the boat was far out at sea; Jesus was still by himself on land. 48He could see his men struggling with the oars, the wind having come up against them. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. He intended to go right by them. 49But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and screamed, scared out of their wits. 50Jesus was quick to comfort them: “Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” 51As soon as he climbed into the boat, the wind died down. They were stunned, shaking their heads, wondering what was going on. 52They didn’t understand what he had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts. 53They beached the boat at Gennesaret and tied up at the landing. 54As soon as they got out of the boat, word got around fast. 55People ran this way and that, bringing their sick on stretchers to where they heard he was. 56Wherever he went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat—that’s all. And whoever touched him became well.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About