3 The Year of Popularity
3.1 The Calling of the First Disciples
While Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two brothers. One was Simon, also known as Peter, and the other was Andrew. They were fishermen, and they were casting their net into the lake. Jesus said to them, “Come with me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him.
Jesus walked on until he saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat with their
father, mending their nets. Jesus asked them to come with him too. Right away they left the boat and their father and went with Jesus.17
Jesus was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, teaching the people as they crowded around him to hear God’s message. Near the shore he saw two boats left there by some fishermen who had gone to wash their nets. Jesus got into the boat that belonged to Simon and asked him to row it out a little way from the shore. Then Jesus sat down in the boat to teach the crowd.
When Jesus had finished speaking, he told Simon, “Row the boat out into the deep water and let your nets down to catch some fish.”
“Master,” Simon answered, “we have worked hard all night long and have not caught a thing. But if you tell me to, I will let the nets down.” They did it and caught so many fish that their nets began ripping apart. Then they signaled for their partners in the other boat to come and help them. The men came, and together they filled the two boats so full that they both began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this happen, he knelt down in front of Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t come near me! I am a sinner.” Peter and everyone with him were completely surprised at all the fish they had caught. His partners James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were surprised too.
Jesus told Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you will bring in people instead of fish.” The men pulled their boats up on the shore. Then they left everything and went with Jesus.18
3.2 Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit
Jesus and his disciples went to the town of Capernaum. Then on the next Sabbath he went into the Jewish meeting place and started teaching. Everyone was amazed at his teaching. He taught with authority, and not like the teachers of the Law of Moses. Suddenly a man with an evil spirit in him entered the meeting place and yelled, “Jesus from Nazareth, what do you want with us? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are! You are God’s Holy One.”
Jesus told the evil spirit, “Be quiet and come out of the man!” The spirit shook him. Then it gave a loud shout and left.
Everyone was completely surprised and kept saying to each other, “What is this? It must be some new kind of powerful teaching! Even the evil spirits obey him.” News about Jesus quickly spread all over Galilee.
3.3 Jesus Heals the Sick
Jesus went all over Galilee, teaching in the Jewish meeting places and preaching the good news about God’s kingdom. He also healed every kind of disease and sickness. News about him spread all over Syria, and people with every kind of sickness or disease were brought to him. Some of them had a lot of demons in them, others were thought to be crazy, and still others could not walk. But Jesus healed them all.
Large crowds followed Jesus from Galilee and the region around the ten cities known as Decapolis. They also came from Jerusalem, Judea, and from across the Jordan River.
3.4 A Man With Leprosy
A man with leprosy came to Jesus and knelt down. He begged, “You have the power to make me well, if only you wanted to.”
Jesus felt sorry for the man. So he put his hand on him and said, “I want to! Now you are well.” At once the man’s leprosy disappeared, and he was well.
After Jesus strictly warned the man, he sent him on his way. He said, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Just go and show the priest that you are well. Then take a gift to the temple as Moses commanded, and everyone will know that you have been healed.”
The man talked about it so much and told so many people that Jesus could no longer go openly into a town. He had to stay away from the towns, but people still came to him from everywhere.
3.5 Jesus Heals a Crippled Man
Jesus went back to Capernaum, and a few days later people heard that he was at home. Then so many of them came to the house that there wasn’t even standing room left in front of the door.
Jesus was still teaching when four people came up, carrying a crippled man on a mat. But because of the crowd, they could not get him to Jesus. So they made a hole in the roof above him and let the man down in front of everyone. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the crippled man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.”
Some of the teachers of the Law of Moses were sitting there. They started wondering, “Why would he say such a thing? He must think he is God! Only God can forgive sins.”
Right away, Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said, “Why are you thinking such things? Is it easier for me to tell this crippled man that his sins are forgiven or to tell him to get up and pick up his mat and go on home? I will show you that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth.” So Jesus said to the man, “Get up! Pick up your mat and go on home.”
The man got right up. He picked up his mat and went out while everyone watched in amazement.
They praised God and said, “We have never seen anything like this!”
3.6 The Healing at the Pool
Later, Jesus went to Jerusalem for another Jewish festival. In the city near the sheep gate was a pool with five porches, and its name in Hebrew was Bethzatha.
Many sick, blind, lame, and crippled people were lying close to the pool.
Beside the pool was a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw the man and
realized that he had been crippled for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be healed?”
The man answered, “Lord, I don’t have anyone to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up. I try to get in, but someone else always gets there first.”
Jesus told him, “Pick up your mat and walk!” Right then the man was healed. He picked up his mat and started walking around. The day on which this happened was a Sabbath.
When the Jewish leaders saw the man carrying his mat, they said to him, “This is the Sabbath! No one is allowed to carry a mat on the Sabbath.”
But he replied, “The man who healed me told me to pick up my mat and walk.”
They asked him, “Who is this man that told you to pick up your mat and walk?” But he did not know who Jesus was, and Jesus had left because of the crowd.
Later, Jesus met the man in the temple and told him, “You are now well. But don’t sin anymore or something worse might happen to you.” The man left and told the leaders that Jesus was the one who had healed him. They started making a lot of trouble for Jesus because he did things like this on the Sabbath.
But Jesus said, “My Father has never stopped working, and that is why I keep on working.” Now the leaders wanted to kill Jesus for two reasons.
First, he had broken the law of the Sabbath. But even worse, he had said that God was his Father, which made him equal with God.
3.7 Testimonies About Jesus
Jesus told the people:
If I speak for myself, there is no way to prove I am telling the truth. But there is someone else who speaks for me, and I know what he says is true. You sent messengers to John, and he told them the truth. I don’t depend on what people say about me, but I tell you these things so that you may be saved. John was a lamp that gave a lot of light, and you were glad to enjoy his light for a while.
But something more important than John speaks for me. I mean the things that the Father has given me to do! All of these speak for me and prove that the Father sent me.
The Father who sent me also speaks for me, but you have never heard his voice or seen him face to face. You have not believed his message, because you refused to have faith in the one he sent.
You search the Scriptures, because you think you will find eternal life in them. The Scriptures tell about me, but you refuse to come to me for eternal life.
I don’t care about human praise, but I do know that none of you love God. I have come with my Father’s authority, and
you have not welcomed me. But you will welcome people who come on their own. How could you possibly believe? You like to have your friends praise you, and you don’t care about praise that the only God can give!
Don’t think that I will be the one to accuse you to the Father. You have put your hope in Moses, yet he is the very one who will accuse you. Moses wrote about me, and if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me. But if you don’t believe what Moses wrote, how can you believe what I say?
3.8 Lord of the Sabbath
Jesus left and went into one of the Jewish meeting places, where there was a man whose hand was crippled. Some Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong, and they asked him, “Is it right to heal someone on the Sabbath?”
Jesus answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a ditch on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you lift it out? People are worth much more than sheep, and so it is right to do good on the Sabbath.” Then Jesus told the man,
“Hold out your hand.” The man did, and it became as healthy as the other one.
The Pharisees left and started making plans to kill Jesus.
3.9 Crowds Follow Jesus
Jesus led his disciples down to the shore of the lake. Large crowds followed him from Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. People came from Idumea, as well
as other places east of the Jordan River. They also came from the region around the cities of Tyre and Sidon. All of these crowds came because they had heard what Jesus was doing. He even had to tell his disciples to get a boat ready to keep him from being crushed by the crowds.
After Jesus had healed many people, the other sick people begged him to let them touch him. And whenever any evil spirits saw Jesus, they would fall to the ground and shout, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus warned the spirits not to tell who he was.22
So God’s promise came true, just as Isaiah the prophet had said, “Here is my chosen servant! I love him, and he pleases me. I will give him my Spirit, and he will bring justice to the nations. He won’t shout
or yell or call out in the streets. He won’t break off a bent reed or put out a dying flame, but he will make sure that justice is done. All nations will place their hope in him.”23
3.10 The Appointing of the Twelve Apostles
About that time Jesus went off to a mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night there. The next morning he called his disciples together and chose twelve of them to be his apostles,24 so that they could be with him. He also wanted to send them out to preach and to force out demons. Simon was one of the twelve, and Jesus named him Peter. There were also James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. Jesus called them Boanerges, which means “Thunderbolts.” Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles. The others were Simon, known as the Eager One, and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus.25
The Sermon on the Mount (3.11-25)
3.11 Who Can Be Blessed by God?
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the side of a mountain and sat down. Jesus’ disciples gathered around him, and he taught them:
God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven! God blesses those people who grieve. They will find comfort!
God blesses those people who are humble.
The earth will belong to them! God blesses those people who want to obey him more than to eat or drink. They will be given what they want! God blesses those people who are merciful. They will be treated with mercy! God blesses those people whose hearts are pure. They will see him! God blesses those people who make peace. They will be called his children!
God blesses those people who are treated badly for doing right. They belong to the kingdom of heaven! God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago.
3.12 Jesus Calls Disciples Salt and Light
You are like salt for everyone on earth.
But if salt no longer tastes like salt, how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on.
You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.
3.13 Jesus on Murder
You know that our ancestors were told, “Do not murder” and “A murderer must be brought to trial.” But I promise you that if you are angry with someone, you will have to stand trial. If you call someone a fool, you will be taken to court. And if you say that someone is worthless, you will be in danger of the fires of hell.
So if you are about to place your gift on the altar and remember that someone is angry with you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. Make peace with that person, then come back and offer your gift to God.
Before you are dragged into court, make friends with the person who has accused you of doing wrong. If you don’t, you will be handed over to the judge and then to the officer who will put you in jail. I promise you that you will not get out until you have paid the last cent you owe.
3.14 Jesus on Adultery
You know the commandment which says, “Be faithful in marriage.” But I tell you that if you look at another woman and want her, you are already unfaithful in your thoughts. If your right eye causes you to sin, poke it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to end up in hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, chop it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
3.15 Jesus on Promises
You know that our ancestors were told, “Don’t use the Lord’s name to make a promise unless you are going to keep it.” But I tell you not to swear by anything when you make a promise! Heaven is God’s throne,
so don’t swear by heaven. The earth is God’s footstool, so don’t swear by the earth. Jerusalem is the city of the great king, so don’t swear by it. Don’t swear by your own head. You cannot make one hair white or black. When you make a promise, say only
“Yes” or “No.” Anything else comes from the devil.
3.16 Jesus on Revenge
You know that you have been taught, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I tell you not to try to get even with a person who has done something to you.
When someone slaps your right cheek, turn and let that person slap your other cheek.
If someone sues you for your shirt, give up your coat as well. If a soldier forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles. When people ask you for something, give it to them. When they want to borrow money, lend it to them.
3.17 Jesus on the Poor
When you do good deeds, don’t try to show off. If you do, you won’t get a reward from your Father in heaven.
When you give to the poor, don’t blow a loud horn. That’s what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward.
When you give to the poor, don’t let anyone know about it. Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you.
3.18 Jesus on Prayer
When you pray, don’t be like those show- offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners.
They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward.
When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you.
When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Don’t be likethem. Your Father knows what you need before you ask.
You should pray like this:
“Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name. Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven.
Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others.
Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.”
If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
3.19 Jesus on What is Valuable
Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves
can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will always be where your treasure is.
Your eyes are like a window for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you surely are in the dark.
You cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
3.20 Jesus on Worry
I tell you not to worry about your life.
Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing? Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds?
Can worry make you live longer? Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don’t work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn’t as well clothed as one of them. God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith?
Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?” Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your
Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put
God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.
Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.
3.21 Jesus on Condemning Others
Don’t condemn others, and God won’t condemn you. God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them.
You can see the speck in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the log in your own eye. How can you say, “My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you don’t see the log in your own eye? You’re nothing but show-offs! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend’s eye.
3.22 How to Treat Others
Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. Would any of you give your hungry child a stone if the child asked for some bread? Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask.
Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about.
3.23 The Narrow and Wide Gates
Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.
3.24 A Good Person is Known by Good Deeds
Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thorn bushes. A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burned. You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds.
Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in. On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, “We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and worked many miracles.” But I will tell them, “I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people!”
3.25 The Best Foundation
Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock.
Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn’t obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash.
When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. He taught them like someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses. As Jesus came down the mountain, he was followed by large crowds.26
3.26 The Faith of the Military Officer
When Jesus was going into the town of Capernaum, an army officer came up to him and said, “Lord, my servant is at home in such terrible pain that he can’t even move.”
“I will go and heal him,” Jesus replied.
But the officer said, “Lord, I’m not good enough for you to come into my house. Just give the order, and my servant will get well. I have officers who give orders to me, and I have soldiers who take orders from me. I can say to one of them, ‘Go!’ and he goes. I can say to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes. I can say to my servant, ‘Do this!’ and he will do it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was so surprised that he turned and said to the crowd following him, “I tell you that in all of Israel I’ve never found anyone with this much faith! Many people will come from everywhere to enjoy the feast in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But the ones
who should have been in the kingdom will be thrown out into the dark. They will cry and grit their teeth
in pain.” Then Jesus said to the officer, “You may go home now. Your faith has made it happen.”
Right then his servant was healed.27
3.27 Jesus Gives Life to the Widow’s Son
Soon Jesus and his disciples were on their way to the town of Nain, and a big crowd was going along with them. As they came near the gate of the town, they saw people carrying out the body of a widow’s only son. Many people from the town were walking along with her.
When the Lord saw the woman, he felt sorry for her and said, “Don’t cry!”
Jesus went over and touched the stretcher on which the people were carrying the dead boy. They stopped, and Jesus said, “Young man, get up!” The boy sat up and began to speak. Jesus then gave him back to his mother.
Everyone was frightened and praised God. They said, “A great prophet is here with us! God has come to his people.” News about Jesus spread all over Judea and everywhere else in that part of the country.
3.28 Jesus and John the Baptizer
John’s followers told John everything that was being said about Jesus. So he sent two of them to ask the Lord, “Are you the one we should be looking for? Or must we wait for someone else?”
When these messengers came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the one we should be looking for? Or are we supposed to wait for someone else?’ ”
At that time Jesus was healing many people who were sick or in pain or were troubled by evil spirits, and he was giving sight to a lot of blind people. Jesus said to the messengers sent by John, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard. Blind people are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People who have leprosy are being healed, and the deaf can now hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. God will bless everyone who doesn’t reject me because of what I do.”
Everyone had been listening to John. Even the tax collectors had obeyed God and had done what was right by letting John baptize them. But the Pharisees and the experts in the Law of Moses refused to obey God and be baptized by John.
Jesus went on to say, “John the Baptist did not go around eating and drinking, and you said, ‘John has a demon in him!’ But because the Son of Man goes around eating and drinking, you say, ‘Jesus eats and drinks too much! He is even a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ Yet Wisdom is shown to be right by what its followers do.”28
3.29 Jesus and Your Burdens
At that moment Jesus said:
My Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
I am grateful that you hid all this from wise and educated people and showed it to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that is what pleased you.
My Father has given me everything, and he is the only one who knows the Son. The only one who truly knows the Father is the Son. But the Son wants to tell others about the Father, so that they can know him too.
If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.29
3.30 Jesus in Galilee
Soon after this, Jesus was going through towns and villages, telling the good news about God’s kingdom. His twelve apostles were with him, and so were some women who had been healed of evil spirits and all sorts of diseases. One of the women
was Mary Magdalene, who once had seven demons in her. Joanna, Susanna, and many others had also used what they owned to help Jesus and his disciples. 30
3.31 Jesus is Verbally Attacked
Some people brought to Jesus a man who was blind and could not talk because he had a demon in him. Jesus healed the man, and then he was able to talk and see. The crowds were so amazed that they asked, “Could Jesus be the Son of David?”
When the Pharisees heard this, they said, “He forces out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons!”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said to them:
Any kingdom where people fight each other will end up ruined. And a town or family that fights will soon destroy itself. So if Satan fights against himself, how can his kingdom last? If I use the power of Beelzebul to force out demons, whose power do your own followers use to force
them out? Your followers are the ones who will judge you. But when I force out demons by the power of God’s Spirit, it proves that God’s kingdom has already come to you.
How can anyone break into a strong man’s house and steal his things, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can take everything.
If you are not on my side, you are against me. If you don’t gather in the harvest with me, you scatter it. I tell you that any sinful thing you do or say can be forgiven. Even
if you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven, either in this life or in the life to come.
A good tree produces only good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces. You are a bunch of evil snakes, so how can you say anything good? Your words show what is in your hearts. Good people bring good things out of their hearts, but evil people bring evil things out of their hearts. I promise you that on the day of judgment, everyone will have to account for every careless word they have spoken. On that day they will be told that they are either innocent or guilty because of the things they have said.
3.32 Jesus’ True Brothers and Sisters
While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and brothers came and stood outside because they wanted to talk with him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to talk with you.”
Jesus answered, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “These are my mother and my brothers! Anyone who obeys my Father in heaven is my brother or sister or mother.”31
While Jesus was still talking, a woman in the crowd spoke up, “The woman who gave birth to you and nursed you is blessed!”
Jesus replied, “That’s true, but the people who are really blessed are the ones who hear and obey God’s message!”
3.33 The Parable of the Four Types of People
That same day Jesus left the house and went out beside Lake Galilee, where he sat down to teach.
Such large crowds gathered around him that he had to sit in a boat, while the people stood on the shore. Then he taught them many things by using stories. He said:
A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn’t very deep. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. Some other seeds fell where thorn bushes grew up and choked the plants. But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants produced a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as was scattered. If you have ears, pay attention!
Now listen to the meaning of the story about the farmer:
The seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message about the kingdom, but don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the message from their hearts. The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it right away. But they don’t have deep roots, and they don’t last very long. As soon as life gets hard or the message gets them in trouble, they give up.
The seeds that fell among the thornbushes are also people who hear the message. But they start worrying about the needs of this life and are fooled by the desire to get rich. So the message gets choked out, and they never produce anything. The seeds that fell on good ground are the people who hear and understand the message. They produce as much as a hundred or sixty or thirty times what was planted.33
3.34 Live in “The Light”
Jesus also said:
You don’t light a lamp and put it under a clay pot or under a bed. Don’t you put a lamp on a lampstand? There is nothing hidden that will not be made public. There is no secret that will not be well known. If you have ears, pay attention!
Listen carefully to what you hear! The way you treat others will be the way you will be treated — and even worse. Everyone who has something will be given more. But people who don’t have anything will lose what little they have.
3.35 The Story of the Net
The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a net is thrown into a lake and catches all kinds of fish. When the net is full, it is dragged to the shore, and the fishermen sit down to separate the fish. They keep the good ones, but throw the bad ones away.
That’s how it will be at the end of time. Angels will come and separate the evil people from the ones who have done right. Then those evil people will be thrown into a flaming furnace, where they will cry and grit their teeth in pain.
Jesus asked his disciples if they understood all these things. They said, “Yes, we do.”
So he told them, “Every student of the Scriptures who becomes a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like someone who brings out new and old treasures from the storeroom.”
When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he left.34
3.36 Jesus Calms the Storm
That evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the east side.” So they left the crowd, and his disciples started across the lake with him in the boat. Some other boats followed along. Suddenly a windstorm struck the lake. Waves started splashing into the boat, and it was about to sink.
Jesus was in the back of the boat with his head on a pillow, and he was asleep. His disciples woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re about to drown?”
Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to be quiet. The wind stopped, and everything was calm.
Jesus asked his disciples, “Why were you afraid?
Don’t you have any faith?”
Now they were more afraid than ever and said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”35
3.37 A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman
Once again Jesus got into the boat and crossed Lake Galilee. Then as he stood on the shore, a large crowd gathered around him. The person in charge of the Jewish meeting place was also there. His name was Jairus, and when he saw Jesus, he went over to him. He knelt at Jesus’ feet and started begging him for help. He said, “My daughter is about to die! Please come and touch her, so she will get well and live.” Jesus went with Jairus. Many people followed along and kept crowding around.
In the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She had gone to many doctors, and they had not done anything except cause her a lot of pain. She had paid them all the money she had. But instead of getting better, she only got worse.
The woman had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him in the crowd and barely touched his clothes. She had said to herself, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well.” As soon as she touched them, her bleeding stopped, and she knew she was well.
At that moment Jesus felt power go out from him.
He turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
His disciples said to him, “Look at all these people crowding around you! How can you ask who touched you?” But Jesus turned to see who had touched him.
The woman knew what had happened to her. She came shaking with fear and knelt down in front of Jesus. Then she told him the whole story.
Jesus said to the woman, “You are now well because of your faith. May God give you peace! You are healed, and you will no longer be in pain.”
While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from Jairus’ home and said, “Your daughter has died! Why bother the teacher anymore?”
Jesus heard what they said, and he said to Jairus, “Don’t worry. Just have faith!”
Jesus did not let anyone go with him except Peter and the two brothers, James and John. They went home with Jairus and saw the people crying and making a lot of noise. Then Jesus went inside and said to them, “Why are you crying and carrying on like this? The child isn’t dead. She is just asleep.” But the people laughed at him.
After Jesus had sent them all out of the house, he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples and went to where she was. He took the twelve-year-old girl by the hand and said, “Talitha, koum!” which means, “Little girl, get up!” The girl got right up and started walking around.
Everyone was greatly surprised. But Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. Then he said, “Give her something to eat.”
3.38 Jesus Heals the Blind
As Jesus was walking along, two blind men began following him and shouting, “Son of David, have pity on us!”
After Jesus had gone indoors, the two blind men came up to him. He asked them, “Do you believe I can make you well?”
“Yes, Lord,” they answered.
Jesus touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, you will be healed.” They were able to see, and Jesus strictly warned them not to tell anyone about him. But they left and talked about him to everyone in that part of the country.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, some people brought to him a man who could not talk because a demon was in him. After Jesus had forced the demon out, the man started talking. The crowds were so amazed that they began saying, “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!”
But the Pharisees said, “The leader of the demons gives him the power to force out demons.”