The Apostles Sent as Missionaries
(Matt 9:35 to 11:1, Mark 6:7-13, Luke 9:1-6)
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his twelve apostles, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they malign those of his household.
So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
And whoever is not willing to be fully committed and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
And he sent them out, two by two, instructing them, “‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics nor sandals nor a staff, for the labourer deserves his food.
And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgement for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.'”
John the Baptist’s Martyrdom
(Matt 14:6-12; Mark 6:21-29)
Now Herod the Tetrarch, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.
And when Herodias’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.”
So she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?”
And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.”
And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” Herod was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.
So immediately the king sent for an executioner, with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother, Herodias.
Herod Hears of Jesus’ Fame
(Matt 14:1-2; Mark 6:14-16, Luke 9:7-9)
Not long after, Herod the Tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, for his name had become well known.
He was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, and that was why these miraculous powers were at work in him. And by some that Elijah had appeared. And by others that one of the prophets of old had risen.
Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
(Matt 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-14)
Now when the twelve apostles returned from their missionary work, they told Jesus all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in a boat to a town called Bethsaida, by the Sea of Galilee. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his apostles.
Many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things and heal the sick.
Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. When it was evening, the Twelve came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowd away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”
Andrew, Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” And Jesus said, “Bring them here to me.”
Then he ordered the crowd, which numbered about five thousand, not counting women and children, to sit down on the grass in groups of about fifty each. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and they gave them and the fish to the crowd.
And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”
So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves and two fish left by those who had eaten.
Jesus and Peter Walk on Water
(Matt 14:22-36, Mark 6:45-56, John 6:15-27)
Perceiving then that the crowd was about to come and take him by force to make him king, immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Capernaum, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
When night came, he was there alone, and the boat by this time was only three or four miles from the land, being beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.
But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves and fish, and their hearts were hardened.
And Peter answered him, “Master, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Master, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
On the next day, the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea knew that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.
Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they were amazed and said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labour for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
Then Jesus and the Twelve sailed a little further to Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was.
And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
Jesus, the Bread of Life from Heaven
Now the people, who had been in the crowd of five thousand, asked Jesus, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He [Moses] gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” [Psalm#78:24,25]
Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
They said to him, “Rabbi, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven?'”
Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ [Isaiah#54:13] Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me; not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offence at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”
Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.
[Not through cowardice, but because his time had not yet come to die.]