THE NEW TESTAMENT:
AN UNDERSTANDABLE VERSION
Table of Contents

MARK



CHAPTER ONE

1) This is [how] the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, began.

2) It was even written in Isaiah, the prophet [Note: Verse 2 is quote from Mal. 3:1; verse 3 from Isa. 40:3], ALook, I am sending my messenger on ahead of you. He will prepare the way for you. 3) He will be the voice of a man shouting out in the desert, [urging people] to make the road for the Lord ready [to travel on]; to make a straight pathway for him.@ 4) John [the Immerser] came immersing people in the desert and proclaiming that those immersed on the basis of their repentance would receive the forgiveness of sins [from God]. 5) And people from throughout all the regions of Judea and all of Jerusalem went out to John [in the desert]. And he immersed them in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. 6) John wore clothing made of camel=s hair and he had a leather belt around his waist. He ate grasshoppers and wild honey. 7) In his preaching John said, AOne who is more powerful than I am will follow my ministry. I am not [even] worthy to stoop down and loosen the straps of His sandals [i.e., to serve as His slave]. 8) I am immersing you in water, but He will immerse you in the Holy Spirit.@

9) And it happened at that time that Jesus went from Nazareth, in Galilee [i.e., south to Judea], where He was immersed by John in the Jordan River. 10) And immediately upon emerging from the water, He saw the sky split open and the Holy Spirit descending on Him as a dove. 11) And a voice called out from heaven, saying, AYou are my dearly loved Son. I am very pleased with you.@

12) Then right after that the Holy Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert. 13) He spent forty days in this desert where He was put to the test by Satan. He was with wild animals, and angels ministered to His needs [while there].

14) Now after John was turned over [i.e., to the authorities and imprisoned] Jesus went [back] to Galilee preaching the good news from God 15) and saying, AThe appointed time has arrived and the kingdom of God is near. So, you people should repent [i.e., change your hearts and lives] and believe the good news [about the kingdom].@

16) And while walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw Simon [i.e., Peter] and his brother Andrew casting their net in the lake, for they were fishermen. 17) And Jesus said to them, ACome, follow me and I will make you fishermen for people.@ 18) So, they left their nets immediately and became His followers. 19) Then, as He walked on a little farther, He saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, who were in their boat repairing nets. 20) Immediately He called them [to become His followers] and they left their father, Zebedee, and went along with Him.

21) So, they went to Capernaum [Note: This was a city in Galilee that later became Jesus= headquarters while in Galilee. See verse 29 and 2:1], and on the [first] Sabbath day Jesus entered the synagogue and taught people. 22) They were amazed at His teaching for He taught them as one who had [real] authority, and not as the experts in the Law of Moses. 23) And just then there appeared in the synagogue a man dominated by an evil spirit. He shouted out, 24) AWhat business do we have with you, Jesus from Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are; [you are] God=s Holy One.@ 25) Jesus spoke sternly to him, saying, ABe quiet, and come out of him.@ 26) And the evil spirit caused the man to have a convulsion, then shouted with a loud voice and came out of him. 27) And all the people [in the synagogue] were so amazed they began asking one another, AWhat is this, some new teaching? And it is spoken with such authority! He even orders evil spirits, and they obey him.@ 28) And news about Him quickly spread everywhere, [even] into all of Galilee and the surrounding regions.

29) And as soon as they left the synagogue, they went into the house of Simon [i.e., Peter] and Andrew, taking James and John with them. 30) Now Simon=s mother-in-law was sick [in bed] with a fever. Immediately, Jesus was told about her [condition] 31) so He went to her, took her by the hand and raised her up [from bed]. The fever left her and she began serving them.

32) When evening came and the sun had set, they brought to Jesus all those who were sick and those dominated by evil spirits. 33) And people from all over the city [of Capernaum] gathered at the door of the house, 34) and He healed many of those who were sick with various diseases and drove out many evil spirits. But He did not permit the evil spirits to tell people [who He was], because they knew who He was [i.e., the Christ].

35) Very early in the morning, [even] before daylight, Jesus woke up, left Simon=s house [verse 29] and went out to a deserted place where He prayed. 36) And Simon and those who were with him [i.e., probably Andrew, James and John. See verse 29] followed Him. 37) When they found Him, they said to Him, AEveryone is looking for you.@ 38) He said to them, ALet us go on to the next towns so that I can preach there also, for this was why I came out [i.e., Jesus was sent by God to preach to other towns as well as Capernaum. See Luke 4:43].@ 39) So, Jesus went into the [Jewish] synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching [the good news about the coming kingdom, verses 14-15] and driving out evil spirits.

40) Then a person with an infectious skin disease came to Jesus and, kneeling down before Him, begged Him, saying, AIf you want to, you can heal me.@ [Note: Throughout this narrative the terms Aheal/healing@ are originally Aclean/cleansing@ because the Jews viewed a person with such a disease as ceremonially Aunclean.@ See Lev. 13:1-3]. 41) And being moved with deep pity, Jesus reached out His hand, touched him and said, AI do want to; be healed.@ 42) And immediately the infectious skin disease left him and he was healed. 43) Jesus sternly warned him, sending him directly out, 44) and saying to him, AMake sure you do not say anything to anyone. But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your healing with whatever Moses ordered [Lev. 14:1-9], as evidence to people [that you were completely healed].@ 45) But [instead] the man went out telling everyone about the miracle of healing and spreading the story widely, so that Jesus was not able to enter a town publicly but had to remain outside in deserted places. [So], people went to Him there from all over the region.



CHAPTER TWO

1) After Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, it became known that He was [back] at home [i.e., possibly at the house of Peter and Andrew, where He was staying. See 1:29]. 2) And there were so many people gathered to listen to His message that there was no room for any more [in the courtyard] around the doorway. 3) Then some people came, bringing a man afflicted with paralysis, who was being carried by four friends. 4) And when they were unable to get near Jesus, because of the [large] crowd, they removed [a section of] the roof [directly above Him]. [Note: The roof was a flat area, where people retired for rest, prayer, etc., and easily accessible from an outside stairway]. And when they had broken open [a sizable hole], they lowered the cot on which the paralyzed man was lying. 5) When Jesus saw [the evidence of] their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, ASon, your sins are forgiven.@

6) But certain experts in the Law of Moses, who were sitting there, began reasoning in their minds, 7) AWhy does this man talk this way? He is speaking against God. Who can forgive sins except one, that is, God?@ 8) And immediately Jesus perceived in His spirit what they were reasoning in their minds and said to them, AWhy are you reasoning like this in your minds? 9) Which is easier, to say to the paralyzed man, >your sins are forgiven,= or to say >get up, pick up your cot and walk=? 10) But, so you will know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins (He then said to the paralyzed man), 11) >I say to you, get up, pick up your cot and go home.=@ 12) So, he got up and immediately picked up his cot and walked out in front of them all, so that everyone was amazed and gave honor to God, saying, AWe have never seen anything like this before.@

13) Then Jesus went out again, walking along the shore of the lake, and [when] the entire crowd came out to Him, He taught them. 14) And as He walked along He saw Levi [i.e., the same person as Matthew. See Matt. 9:9], the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the toll booth [i.e., collecting taxes]. He said to him, ABecome my follower.@ And he got up and followed Him.

15) And it happened that Jesus was having a meal at Levi=s house and many tax collectors and worldly people sat down with Him and His disciples, for many [of these kinds of people] became His followers. 16) And when the experts in the Law of Moses, being Pharisees [i.e., a strict sect of the Jewish religion], saw that He was eating with tax collectors and worldly people, they said to His disciples, AWhy does Jesus eat and drink with tax collectors and worldly people?@ 17) When Jesus heard [about] this, He said to them, APeople who are healthy do not need a doctor, but [only] sick people do. I did not come to call those who do right, but sinners [instead].@

18) Now John=s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, [i.e., going without food and/or drink for religious reasons]. Some people came and asked Jesus, AWhy do John=s disciples and the Pharisees= disciples fast, but your disciples do not?@ 19) Jesus answered them, ACan the companions of the groom fast while the groom is still with them? As long as they have the groom with them they cannot fast. 20) But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them. Then they will fast at that time.

21) ANo one sows a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, because what was supposed to cover the hole [actually] makes it larger. The new [piece of cloth] tears away from the old one and the hole is made worse. 22) And no one puts freshly squeezed grape juice into bottles made of previously used animal skins. If he does, the grape juice will [cause cracks and] burst the [dried-out] animal skins and the grape juice will [all leak out and] be wasted, and the animal skin bottles will become useless. But people put freshly squeezed grape juice into newly prepared animal skin bottles.@

23) And it happened that Jesus was walking through the grain fields on the Sabbath day and His disciples began picking off heads of grain [to eat] as they traveled along. [Note: It was an accepted custom for people in that day to be permitted to do this as they walked along the paths bordering a grain field]. 24) And the Pharisees asked Him, ALook, why are they [i.e., Jesus= disciples] doing what is against the Law of Moses on the Sabbath day?@ 25) And He replied to them, ADid you never read what King David did when he and his men were hungry and needed something to eat? [See I Sam. 21:6]. 26) Or how he entered the house of God [i.e., the Temple] when Abiathar was head priest, and ate the >Bread of Presence= which was not permissible, according to the Law of Moses, for anyone but priests? He even gave [some of it] to those who were with him.@ 27) And Jesus said to them, AThe Sabbath day was made for man=s [benefit], and not man for the Sabbath [day=s benefit]. 28) So, the Son of man is lord [i.e., has authority] even over the Sabbath day.@



CHAPTER THREE

1) And Jesus entered the synagogue again and there He met a man with a deformed hand. 2) And the Pharisees were watching Him to see if He would heal the man on the Sabbath day, so that they could [find a reason to] accuse Him. 3) And He said to the man whose hand was deformed, AStep forward.@ 4) Then He said to the Pharisees, AIs it permissible by the Law of Moses to do something good, or something harmful on the Sabbath day? To save a life or to kill it?@ But they did not reply. 5) And when He had looked around at them with righteous indignation, being grieved over their stubbornness, He said to the man, AReach out your hand.@ And when he reached it out, his hand was restored [to normal use]. 6) And the Pharisees immediately went out and conferred with the Herodians against Jesus, plotting how they could kill Him. [Note: These Herodians were members of a political party favoring King Herod].

7) [Then] Jesus withdrew [from there] with His disciples and went to the lake [i.e., Lake of Galilee], being followed by a large crowd from Galilee. Also, a large crowd from Judea, 8) Jerusalem, Idumaea, the east side of the Jordan River, and from around Tyre and Sidon [i.e., cities on the northwest coast of Palestine] came to Him, having heard about the great things [i.e., miracles] He had been performing. 9) He told His disciples to have a small boat waiting for Him [i.e., from which He could address the people. See 4:1], to prevent His being thronged by the large crowd. 10) For He had healed so many people that large numbers of them who were plagued with serious illnesses were crowding around Him in hope of getting to touch Him.

11) And whenever they saw Him, [people possessed by] evil spirits fell to the ground in front of Him, shouting, AYou are the Son of God.@ 12) But He sternly ordered them not to reveal His identity.

13) He then went up into the mountain and summoned those He wanted to come to Him and they came. 14) He appointed twelve apostles to travel with Him, whom He could send out to preach 15) and have authority to drive out evil spirits. 16) These apostles were: Simon, to whom He gave the added name Peter, 17) James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee, to whom He gave the added name Boanerges, which means ASons of Thunder,@ 18) Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew [i.e., the same as Nathaniel. See John 1:45], Matthew [i.e., the same as Levi. See Mark 2:14], Thomas [i.e., the same as Didymus. See John 11:16], James, the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus [i.e., the same as Judas, the son of James. See Luke 6:16], Simon the Canaanean [i.e., the same as the Zealot. See Luke 6:15], 19) and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Then Jesus went into a house. 20) Soon a crowd assembled again so that they could not even eat a meal [i.e., without people crowding all around them]. 21) When His relatives [or friends] heard about this [i.e., all that He was doing], they went out to take custody of Him [for safety reasons?], for people were saying, AHe has lost his mind.@

22) And the experts in the Law of Moses who had come down from Jerusalem were saying [Note: This followed the incident of Jesus healing a man with an evil spirit. See Matt. 12:22-28], AHe has Beelzebub [in him],@ and AHe is driving out evil spirits by [the power of] the chief of evil spirits.@ 23) And He called them to Him and began speaking to them in parables [i.e., brief stories to illustrate His teaching], saying, AHow can Satan drive out Satan? 24) And if a kingdom is plagued by internal division, it will never survive. 25) And if a household is divided [by strife] within, that household will never last. 26) And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided [i.e., in aim and purpose] he cannot survive, and his end has come. 27) But no one can enter a strong man=s house and steal his belongings unless he first ties up the strong man. Only then will he be able to steal from his house. 28) Truly I tell you, all of mankind=s sins and the abusive language that they use in speaking against God [and men] can be forgiven. 29) But the person who speaks against the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven, for he is guilty of a never ending sin.@ 30) Jesus said all this because these experts in the Law of Moses had been saying; AHe has an evil spirit in him.@

31) Then Jesus= mother and [half-] brothers came and stood outside [i.e., of a large house. See Matt. 12:46-13:1]. They sent a message to Him, asking Him to come out to them. 32) Someone in the large crowd that was sitting around Him said to Him, ALook, your mother and your brothers are outside looking for you.@ 33) He answered them, AWho is my mother and who are my brothers?@ 34) Then He looked out over those gathered around Him and said, ALook, [here is] my mother and my brothers! 35) For whoever will do what God wants, that person is my brother, and sister and mother.@



CHAPTER FOUR

1) Jesus again began teaching along the shore of the lake [of Galilee]. A huge crowd gathered around Him so that He had to sit in a boat out in the lake [to speak to them], while the entire crowd stood on the shore. 2) He taught the people many things using parables [to illustrate His lessons]. In His teaching He said to them, 3) AListen carefully! A farmer went out to plant seed, 4) and it happened, as he sowed [i.e., scattering the seed by hand], some of it fell by the side of the road and birds came and ate it. 5) And some seed fell on rocky ground where there was not much soil, and immediately it sprouted up because the soil was so shallow. 6) But when the sun came up the newly sprouted plants were scorched, and because they had no roots, [soon] withered away. 7) And other seeds fell among thorns which grew up and choked them so that they yielded no crop. 8) Then other seeds fell into fertile soil, and growing up to maturity, they yielded an ever increasing crop. They produced thirty, sixty and even a hundred times [as much as was planted].@ 9) And Jesus said, AWhoever has ears to hear with ought to listen [to this] carefully.@

10) And when He was alone those people who gathered around Him, along with the twelve apostles, asked Him what the parables meant. 11) He said to them, AYou disciples are being given an understanding of the secret of the kingdom of God, but to outsiders everything will be told in parables. 12) This is so that even though they see, they will see and yet not perceive. And even though they hear, they will hear and yet not understand. For if they did, they would turn [back to God] again and receive forgiveness.@

13) And Jesus continued to speak to them; ADo you not know what this parable means? Then how can you understand any of the other parables? 14) A farmer planted >the word= [i.e., the message of God]. 15) Some of the seed that fell along the roadside represents where >the word= was sown [i.e., preached]. When these people have heard, immediately Satan comes and takes away >the word= which had been sown in them. 16) And in the same way, some [of the seed] that was sown on rocky soil represented those who heard >the word= and immediately accepted it gladly, 17) but [since] they had such shallow roots, they continued on for [only] a little while. Then, when trouble and persecution arose over [obeying] >the word,= immediately they stumbled [i.e., and fell away from God]. 18) And other seeds represent those who are sown among thorns. These are people who heard >the word,= 19) but worry [over things] of the world, and the deceitfulness of material wealth, and the evil desires for other things entered their hearts and choked [the effectiveness of] >the word,= so that it did not yield a crop [in their lives]. 20) Then there were those who were sown on fertile soil. These represent people who heard >the word,= accepted it and yielded a crop of thirty, sixty and even a hundred times [as much as was planted].@

21) Then He said to them, AIs a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel-sized container, or under the bed, instead of on its stand? 22) For there is nothing that is hidden that should not be exposed. Neither is anything covered up that should not be revealed. 23) If anyone has ears to hear with, he ought to listen to this carefully.@

24) And He said to them, APay attention to what you are hearing from me. The standard you use in giving [to others] is the standard they will use on you, with even more added. 25) For to the person who [already] has something, [more] will be given, and from the person who has [almost] nothing, even what [little] he has will be taken away from him.@

26) And Jesus said, AThe kingdom of God is like a farmer who scattered seed on the ground, 27) then went to bed and got up the next day to find that the seed had sprouted and grown, yet he did not know how it happened. 28) The soil yields its crop, first the green sprout, then the ears of grain, and then the kernels in the ears. 29) But when the grain ripens the farmer wields his sickle because harvest time has come.@

30) And He continued to speak, AWhat shall I compare the kingdom of God to? Or, what parable will [best] illustrate it? 31) It is similar to a seed from the mustard tree which, when planted in the ground, 32) even though it is the least [significant] of all seeds on earth, becomes larger than all other plants. It develops huge branches so that the birds of the sky can roost in their shade.@

33) And He spoke Athe word@ to them [i.e., the crowds] with as many such parables as they were able to receive. 34) And He did not speak to them [i.e., concerning the kingdom] without using a parable, but He explained everything to His own disciples privately.

35) When evening came that day He said to the disciples, ALet us go over to the other side [i.e., the east side of Lake Galilee].@ 36) And leaving the crowd, the disciples took Him in their boat just the way He was [i.e., this probably means without His making provision for the trip]. They were accompanied by other boats also. 37) [Then] a violent windstorm arose [on the lake] and huge waves began splashing into the boat until it began to fill with water. 38) Jesus was sleeping on a pillow in the stern of the boat. They awakened Him, shouting, ATeacher, do you not care that we are sinking?@ 39) He [immediately] awoke and spoke sternly to the wind and called out to the water, ABe peaceful and still.@ [Immediately] the wind stopped blowing and a great calm came over the water. 40) And He said to His disciples, AWhy are you so afraid? Do you not still have [any] faith?@ And they were extremely afraid, and said to one another, AWho can this man be that even the wind and water obey him?@



CHAPTER FIVE

1) Then Jesus and His disciples [finally] arrived on the other side of the lake [i.e., the east side] in the district of Geresa [Note: Matt. 8:28 says >Gadara.= Geresa and Gadara were two towns 12 miles apart in the same region east of Lake Galilee]. 2) When Jesus left the boat, immediately a man with an evil spirit came from the graveyard to meet Him. 3) This man had been living in the graveyard and no one had been able to keep him tied up, not even with a chain. 4) He had often been bound with ropes and chains but had broken the chains off and torn the ropes to pieces. And no one had enough strength to subdue him. 5) And night and day, in the graveyard and in the mountains, he was always shouting out and cutting himself with [sharp] rocks. 6) When he saw Jesus from far away he ran to Him and worshiped Him. 7) And shouting with a loud voice, he said, AWhat do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, in God=s name, do not torture me.@ 8) For Jesus was saying to [the evil spirit in] him, ACome out of this man, you evil spirit.@ 9) Then He asked [the evil spirit], AWhat is your name?@ And he answered Him, AMy name is >Legion,= [Note: This word means a number consisting of between 5,000 and 6,000], for there are many of us [i.e., evil spirits].@ 10) Then the spirits begged Jesus earnestly not to send them away out of the region.

11) On the side of a [nearby] mountain, a large herd of [wild] hogs was grazing. 12) The evil spirits begged Him, saying; ASend us into those [wild] hogs, so we can enter their bodies.@ 13) And He gave them permission to do it. So, the evil spirits went out of the man=s body and entered the bodies of the [wild] hogs. The herd then rushed down the cliff into the lake. There were about two thousand that drowned in the lake. 14) Those who had been feeding them ran and told what all occurred in the town and around the countryside and [so] people came to find out what had happened. 15) And when people came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been dominated by 5,000 to 6,000 evil spirits sitting down with his clothes on and perfectly sane, and they were afraid. 16) Those who saw this told the people what had happened to the man dominated by the evil spirits and about the [wild] hogs. 17) So, they began begging Jesus to leave that region.

18) As He entered the boat the man who had been dominated by evil spirits begged for permission to be allowed to go with Him. 19) But Jesus would not allow him, saying to the man, AGo home to your friends [and family?] and tell them about the great things the Lord has done for you and how He had pity on you.@ 20) But the man went away and began telling people throughout Decapolis about all of the great things Jesus had done for him. [Note: ADecapolis@ means Aten cities@ and was a region located east of the Jordan River].

21) When Jesus had crossed over again in a boat to the other side [i.e., to the northwest shore of the lake, probably in the vicinity of Capernaum], a large crowd gathered around Him along the shore of the lake. 22) About then a man named Jairus, one of the officials of the synagogue, came to Jesus and, upon seeing Him, fell to the ground at His feet. 23) He begged Him earnestly, saying, AMy little daughter is about to die; [please] come and place your hands on her so she may be healed and live.@ 24) So, Jesus went along with the man, and was being thronged by a large crowd that followed Him.

25) Then a woman, who had been bleeding for twelve years, came to Him. 26) She had suffered much at the hands of many doctors [i.e., through treatments and medication that only increased her discomfort] and had spent all her money [on medical bills] and yet got worse instead of better. 27) She had heard what Jesus was doing so came from the crowd behind Jesus and touched His robe. 28) For she had told herself, AIf only I can touch his clothing, I will be healed.@ 29) And immediately her flow of blood stopped and she felt healed in her body from the affliction. 30) Just then Jesus perceived in Himself that [healing] power had gone out from Him so turned to the crowd and asked, AWho touched my clothing?@ 31) And His disciples said to Him, AYou see the large crowd thronging you and yet you ask >Who touched me=?@ 32) Then He looked around to see who had done this [i.e., touched Him and received healing]. 33) But the woman became afraid and trembled with fear, for she knew what had happened to her [i.e., the healing], so she came and fell down in front of Jesus and told Him the whole truth. 34) And He said to her, ADaughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be [i.e., remain] healed from your affliction.@

35) While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the synagogue official=s house and said [to the official], AYour daughter is dead; why are you bothering the Teacher any more?@ 36) But Jesus disregarded what the person said and told the official, ADo not be afraid; just believe [i.e., in my power to restore your daughter].@ 37) He did not allow anyone to follow Him [i.e., to the official=s house] except Peter, James and his brother John. 38) And when they arrived at the synagogue official=s house He saw a commotion there, with many people crying and wailing loudly. 39) And when He entered [the house] He said to them, AWhy are you making such a commotion and crying? The child is not [really] dead, but only sleeping.@ 40) They laughed at Him scornfully. But after having all the people wait outside He took the child=s father and mother, along with those who came with Him [i.e., Peter, James and John] and went in to where the [dead] child lay. 41) And taking the child by the hand He said to her, ATalitha cumi,@ which means ALittle girl,@ (I tell you), Aget up.@ 42) And immediately the little girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years old. [Upon seeing this] the people were completely amazed. 43) But He strictly ordered them not to tell anyone about this; then He told them to give the girl something to eat.



CHAPTER SIX

1) Then Jesus went out from there and came to His home town [i.e., Nazareth] and His disciples went with Him. 2) And when the Sabbath day came, He began teaching in the synagogue and many who heard Him were amazed, and asked [such questions as], AWhere did this man get these things [i.e., knowledge, miracles, etc.]?@ and AWhat kind of wisdom has been given to him?@ and AWhat do these supernatural powers he performs mean? 3) Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters living here among us?@ And they were led to doubt His true identity. 4) Then Jesus said to them, AA prophet does not go without receiving honor, except in his own home town, and among his own relatives, and among his own family members.@ 5) And He could not perform any supernatural deed there [i.e., because of their lack of faith in Him], except He placed hands on a few sick people [i.e., accompanied by prayer?] and healed them. 6) [But] He marveled at the people=s lack of faith. So, He traveled and taught throughout the [surrounding] villages.

7) Then Jesus called to Him the twelve apostles and sent them out two by two. He gave them authority over evil spirits 8) and ordered them not to take anything with them during their travels, except a walking stick. They were to take no food, no traveling bag [for personal belongings], and no money in their money belts, 9) but were to wear sandals and take only one coat. 10) And He said to them; AWherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place. 11) And the people from whatever place that does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off from under your shoes as evidence against them.@ [Note: This was a Jewish custom showing disdain and intended to suggest their unworthiness]. 12) Then they went out and preached that people should repent [i.e., change their hearts and lives]. 13) And they drove out many evil spirits and applied [olive] oil to [the heads of] many sick people and healed them.

14) Now King Herod heard about this [i.e., what Jesus was doing] because His name had become well known. He said, AJohn the Immerser has risen from the dead and it is his powers that are at work in Jesus.@ 15) But others said, AHe is [the prophet] Elijah@ [while] others said, AHe is a prophet like one of the prophets [of old].@ 16) But when King Herod heard [about Jesus], he said, AJohn, whom I [had] decapitated, has risen.@ 17) For it was Herod himself who had sent for John and had him arrested and chained up in prison. He did this to please Herodias, who was [i.e., had been] his brother Philip=s wife, but whom Herod had married. 18) For John had said to Herod, AIt is unlawful for you to marry your brother=s wife.@ 19) Now [because of this] Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but had not been able to. 20) It was because Herod was afraid of John, knowing he was a righteous and holy man, so he protected him. And Herod became very disturbed whenever he listened to John, yet he heard him gladly.

21) Then an ideal opportunity arose [i.e., for Herodias to do away with John] when Herod gave a dinner on his birthday for his influential friends, military commanders and the prominent officials of Galilee. 22) And when Herodias= daughter [Note: According to Josephus her name was Salome] came in and danced [in front of them, sensually], she pleased Herod and his party guests so much that the king said to the young woman, AAsk me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.@ 23) And he vowed to her, AI will give you whatever you ask me for, up to one half [the wealth] of my kingdom.@ 24) So, she went out and said to her mother, AWhat shall I ask for?@ And her mother said, A[Ask for] the head of John the Immerser.@ 25) At once she hurried in to the king and said, AI would like you to give me the head of John the Immerser on a [large] platter right away.@ 26) And the king became very distressed [over such a gruesome request], but because he had promised her with oaths, and [to keep from looking bad] in front of his party guests, he did not refuse her [request]. 27) And immediately the king sent a soldier who served as his guard and ordered him to bring John=s head to him. So, he went and decapitated him in the prison, 28) and brought his head on a [large] platter and gave it to the young woman. She [in turn] gave it to her mother [Herodias]. 29) And when John=s disciples heard [what had happened] they took his body and buried it in a grave.

30) Then the apostles got together with Jesus and told Him everything they had done and taught [on their mission]. 31) He said to them, AYou men, leave here and go to a deserted place and rest for awhile.@ For there were so many people coming and going [i.e., to listen to preaching, receive healing, etc.], that they had no opportunity even to eat. 32) So, they [i.e., Jesus and His apostles] left by boat and went to a separate place [where they could be] alone. 33) But the people saw them going and, since many recognized them, these people ran on ahead of them from all the [surrounding] towns. 34) Then Jesus left [His place of seclusion] and, seeing the large crowd, He felt deep compassion for them because they were [as disoriented] as sheep without a shepherd, so He began teaching them.

35) And when the day was nearly over His disciples came to Him and said, AThis place is deserted and the day is almost over; 36) send the crowd away so they can go into the surrounding countryside and towns to buy themselves something to eat.@ 37) But He answered them, AYou [men] give them something to eat.@ And they replied, AShould we go and buy a supply of bread to give them to eat?@ [Note: The amount mentioned here indicates that it was two hundred days of a farm laborer=s pay, or about $14,000 in 1994]. 38) And He said to them, AHow many loaves [of bread] do you have? Go and see.@ And when had found out, they said, AFive [barley] loaves [See John 6:9] and two [probably smoked] fish.@ 39) And He ordered all of them to recline in groups on the green grass. 40) So, they reclined in groups of fifty and one hundred. 41) Then He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He asked God=s blessing on them. Then He broke the loaves and gave them to His disciples to set in front of the people [to eat]. He divided the two fish among them also 42) and they all ate until they were full. 43) Then they gathered up twelve baskets full of broken pieces [of bread] and also some fish. 44) The number eating the loaves of bread was five thousand men. [Note: This was besides women and children. See Matt. 14:21].

45) And about then Jesus compelled His disciples to get into a boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side [i.e., to the west side of Lake Galilee] to Bethsaida [Note: This was apparently a different ABethsaida@ from the one mentioned in Luke 9:10, which was on the east side of Lake Galilee], while He Himself sent the crowd away. 46) And after He had left them He went into a mountain to pray.

47) When evening came the boat [containing His disciples] was in the middle of the lake while He remained alone on the shore. 48) When He saw how distressed His disciples were, rowing against an opposing wind, Jesus came to them between three and six o=clock in the morning, walking on the water, and almost walked past them. 49) But when they saw Him walking on the water they thought it was a spirit, so shouted out, 50) becoming [very] frightened when they saw Him. But He immediately spoke to them and said, ATake courage, and do not be afraid, it is I.@ 51) Then He got up into the boat with them and the wind [immediately] stopped. And His disciples were greatly amazed [at this], 52) but they did not understand [the miracle] of the loaves because their minds were insensitive [i.e., to the nature and power of Jesus].

53) And when they had [finally] crossed over [i.e., to the west side of Lake Galilee], they arrived in the district of Gennesaret and moored the boat on shore. 54) As soon as they got out of the boat the people recognized Jesus 55) and rushed around the whole district to bring sick people on cots to where He was. 56) And wherever He entered towns, cities or the countryside, they placed sick people at the open shopping markets and begged Him to allow them to touch even the edge of His robe. And all those who touched Him were made well.



CHAPTER SEVEN

1) The Pharisees and some experts in the Law of Moses, who had come from Jerusalem, gathered around Jesus. 2) They had observed some of His disciples eating their food with contaminated, that is, [ceremonially] unwashed hands. 3) (For the Pharisees and all the Jews would not eat anything unless they first scrubbed their hands [i.e., up to the wrists] in accordance with the [long-established] tradition of the Jewish elders). 4) And when they returned from the open shopping markets they refused to eat [anything] until they washed themselves [or Ait,@ that is, the food, thoroughly]. There were also many other traditions which they [strictly] observed, like washing cups, pots and copper kettles [thoroughly].) [Note: The most accurate Greek manuscripts do not add Aand beds@ in this verse]. 5) The Pharisees and experts in the Law of Moses asked Jesus, AWhy do your disciples not live according to the traditions of the Jewish elders, but [instead] eat their food with contaminated [i.e., ceremonially unwashed] hands?@ 6) And He answered them, AIsaiah prophesied about you hypocrites very well when he wrote [Isa. 29:13], >These people honor me with their lips [i.e., by what they say], but their heart is far from [honoring] me. 7) They are worshiping me for nothing because they are teaching principles which are [merely] the requirements of men.= 8) You disregard the commandment of God and [yet] hang onto the traditions of men.@ 9) And He said to them, AYou are good at rejecting the commandment of God so you can keep your traditions. 10) For Moses said, [Ex. 20:12] >Give honor to your father and mother,= and [Ex. 21:17 says], >Whoever says bad things about his father or mother should surely be put to death.= 11) But when you people say, >If someone says to his father or mother, [the money] I could have helped you with is Corban; in other words, [it is] given to God,= 12) you are not allowing him to do anything for his father or mother anymore. 13) You are making God=s message useless by [enforcing] the tradition you have been following. And you do many things like that.@

14) Then He called the crowd to Him again and said to them, AListen to me, all of you, and understand [what I am saying]. 15) There is nothing that enters a person=s body from the outside that can [spiritually] corrupt him, but it is what proceeds out of a person=s life that [spiritually] corrupts him.@ {{Verse 16) is absent from most ancient manuscripts}}.

17) And when He had gone into the house away from the crowd His disciples asked Him about this parable. 18) He said to them, AAre you also as lacking in understanding [as the others]? Do you not understand that whatever enters a person=s body from the outside cannot [spiritually] corrupt him? 19) It is because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and [eventually] passes out into the toilet.@ By saying this He made all foods [ceremonially] acceptable. 20) And He said, AWhatever proceeds out of a man=s life is what [spiritually] corrupts him. 21) For from within, out of people=s hearts, proceed evil thoughts, sexual immorality, stealing, murder, extramarital affairs, 22) greedy desires, wickedness, deceit, unrestrained indecency, envy, slander, arrogance and foolishness. 23) All these evil things proceed from within [man=s heart] and [spiritually] corrupt him.@

24) And from there Jesus got up and went away into the region of Tyre and Sidon. He entered a house but did not want anyone to know it. However, He could not keep it secret. 25) But just then a woman whose little daughter was dominated by an evil spirit heard about Jesus and came and fell down at His feet. 26) Now the woman was a Greek [i.e., a Gentile], a Syrophoenician by nationality. [Note: This was a region just north of Galilee and consisted of Syria and Phoenicia]. She begged Him to drive out the evil spirit from her daughter. 27) So, He said to her, AChildren should be the first ones to eat until they are full, for it is not proper to take the children=s food and throw it to the dogs.@ 28) But she answered Him, AYes Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the crumbs dropped by the children.@ 29) And He said to her, ABecause you have said this, go on your way; the evil spirit has left your daughter.@ 30) And she went away to her house and found her child lying on her bed with the evil spirit gone from her.

31) Again He left the region of Tyre and traveled [north] through Sidon, [then back south] to Lake Galilee, and through the middle of Decapolis. 32) And they brought to Him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and they begged Him to place His hand on him [for healing]. 33) So, Jesus took him away from the crowd by himself and put His fingers into the man=s ears. Then He spit and touched the man=s tongue [i.e., with His saliva] 34) and, looking up to heaven, He sighed and said, AEphphatha,@ which means, ABe opened.@ 35) And [immediately] the man=s hearing was restored, his speech impediment was removed and he began speaking clearly. 36) Then Jesus ordered the people [who witnessed the miracle] not to tell anyone [about it], but the more He urged them not to, the more widely they publicized it. 37) And they were utterly amazed, saying, AHe has done everything just right; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.@



CHAPTER EIGHT

1) In those days, when a large crowd again assembled [i.e., to listen to Jesus= teaching] and did not have anything to eat, Jesus called His disciples and said to them, 2) AI feel deep pity for this crowd because they have continued listening to me for three days now and have nothing [left] to eat. 3) And if I send them home hungry they will become weak on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.@ 4) And His disciples replied to Him, AWhere will a person get enough bread to feed these people in such a deserted place like this?@ 5) And He asked them, AHow many loaves of bread do you have?@ And they answered, AWe have seven loaves.@ 6) Then He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks to God [for them], He divided the food and gave it to His disciples to set in front of them. They [in turn] set it in front of the crowd. 7) They [also] had a few small fish and after asking God=s blessing on them, He ordered these also to be set in front of them. 8) And they [all] ate until they were full, then gathered up seven baskets of broken pieces which were left over. 9) The number [who ate] was about four thousand men [besides women and children. See Matt. 15:38]. Then Jesus sent them away. 10) Immediately He boarded a boat with His disciples and crossed [to the west side of the lake], to the region of Dalmanutha. [Note: Matt. 15:39 says AMagadan,@ which was probably in the same vicinity as Dalmanutha].

11) The Pharisees and Sadducees [i.e., these were strict sects of the Jewish religion], came out and began disputing with Jesus, asking for a [supernatural] sign from Him, [in an attempt] to test Him. 12) Then He sighed deeply in His spirit and said, AWhy does this generation of people look for a [supernatural] sign? Truly I tell you, there will not be any [supernatural] sign given to this generation.@ 13) Then He left them and boarded a boat again and sailed to the other side [i.e., the east side of Lake Galilee].

14) Now Jesus= disciples had forgotten to take [any] food [with them], and had only one loaf of bread in the boat. 15) Then Jesus ordered them, saying, APay attention and watch out for the leavening [effect] of the Pharisees and Herod.@ [Note: By AHerod@ is probably meant the Herodians, who were a party favorable to King Herod and, along with the Pharisees and Sadducees, were out to get Jesus. See Matt. 16:6]. 16) And they began reasoning with one another, saying, A[Why be concerned about yeast since] we do not have [any] bread?@ 17) Jesus, being aware of what they were thinking, said, AWhy are you reasoning about not having any bread? Have you not yet perceived or understood? Have your hearts become insensitive? 18) Even though you have eyes, do you not see? And even though you have ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19) When I divided the five loaves of bread among the five thousand persons, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you gather up?@ They said to Him, ATwelve baskets full.@ 20) He again asked, AAnd when the seven loaves were divided among the four thousand persons, how many large basketfuls of broken pieces did you gather up?@ And they said to Him, ASeven large basketfuls.@ 21) Then He said to them, ADo you not understand yet?@

22) And when they came to Bethsaida some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged Him to touch him [i.e., for healing]. 23) [So], He took hold of the blind man by his hand and brought him out of the village. When Jesus spit [and put His saliva] on his eyes [See 7:33 for a similar use of His saliva in healing] and placed His hands on him [for healing], He asked him, ACan you see anything?@ 24) The man looked up and said, A[Yes], I see people, but they look like trees walking around.@ 25) Then Jesus again placed His hands on his eyes; the man stared intently, then his sight was [completely] restored and he was able to see everything clearly. 26) Then Jesus sent him home, saying, ADo not even go through the village [on your way].@

27) Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the villages [in the vicinity] of Caesarea Philippi [Note: This was a city about 25 miles north of Lake Galilee]. On their way, He asked His disciples, AWho are people saying that I am?@ 28) And they answered Him, A[Some say] you are John the Immerser; others say [the prophet] Elijah, but others say [you are] one of the prophets.@ 29) Then He asked them, ABut who do you say that I am?@ Peter answered Him, AYou are the Christ [i.e., God=s specially chosen one].@ 30) Then He ordered them not to tell anyone about His identity.

31) Jesus then began teaching them that the Son of man must suffer very much, be rejected by the [Jewish] elders, leading priests, and experts in the Law of Moses and be killed, but rise again [from the dead] after three days. 32) And He spoke about this freely. But Peter took Jesus aside and began rebuking Him [i.e., for saying such things]. 33) But He turned around, and looking at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying to him, AGet away from me, Satan; for you are not thinking about God=s things but about men=s.@

34) And He called the crowd to Him, along with His disciples, and said to them, AIf anyone wants to be my follower, he should deny himself [i.e., of always having his own way] and accept his cross [i.e., his responsibilities, with all their difficulties] and then he can become my follower. 35) For whoever would [try to] save his life [i.e., by neglecting spiritual things] will lose it [i.e., miss out on the blessings of God]. But whoever [is willing] to lose his life [i.e., in commitment to God=s service] for my sake and [the work of] the Gospel=s sake, will save it [i.e., obtain both temporal and spiritual blessings]. 36) For what would it benefit a person to gain the whole world [i.e., of material things] and give up his life [i.e., of spiritual blessings]? 37) Or what should a person give in exchange for his life? 38) For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this [spiritually] unfaithful and sinful generation, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him when He returns in the splendor of His Father, accompanied by the holy angels.@



CHAPTER NINE

1) And Jesus said to them, ATruly I tell you, there are some people standing here who will surely not experience death until they see that God=s kingdom has come in [a demonstration of] power.@

2) And after six days had passed, Jesus took Peter, James and John aside alone and went up to a high mountain [i.e., probably Mt. Tabor, which was nearby]. [There] His whole appearance was [miraculously] changed in front of them. 3) His clothing became dazzling and extremely white; whiter than anyone in the world could [possibly] launder them. 4) Then Elijah, along with Moses, appeared to them and they were talking with Jesus. 5) And Peter said to Jesus, ARabbi [i.e., Teacher], it is good for us to be here. Let us build three small shelters, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.@ [See note at Matt. 17:4] 6) For he did not know what to say, because they [all] became very afraid. 7) [Just then] a cloud engulfed them and a voice spoke out of the cloud saying, AThis is my dearly loved Son, listen to Him.@ 8) And suddenly they looked all around them, but the only one they saw with them was Jesus.

9) And as they were coming down from the mountain Jesus ordered His disciples not to tell anyone what they had seen until [after] the Son of man was raised again from the dead. 10) So, they kept what He told them to themselves, discussing [only] among themselves what Arising again from the dead@ meant. 11) Then His disciples asked Him, AWhy is it, [since you are obviously the Messiah], that the experts in the Law of Moses say that Elijah must come first?@ 12) Jesus answered them, AElijah truly will come first and restore all things [i.e., to their proper perspective concerning the Messiah]. And it is [also] written [in the Scriptures] about the Son of man, that He would suffer very much and be rejected. 13) But I tell you, Elijah has [already] come, and they did to him what they wanted to, just like it was written about him [in the Scriptures].@

14) And when Peter, James and John [See verse 2] returned to [the rest of] the disciples, they saw a large crowd gathered around them, and the experts in the Law of Moses disputing with them. 15) And immediately, upon seeing Jesus, the entire crowd ran to greet Him in great amazement [i.e., possibly over His sudden appearance]. 16) And He asked the crowd, AWhat are you arguing about with my disciples?@

17) And someone in the crowd answered Him, ATeacher, I brought to you my son, who is dominated by a spirit which causes him to be a mute. 18) Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I spoke to your disciples, asking them to drive it out, but they were not able to.@ 19) Jesus said to them, AYou generation of faithless people! How long must I be with you [i.e., before you understand]? How long do I have to be patient with you? Bring the sick boy to me.@ 20) Then they [i.e., some people from the crowd] brought the sick boy to Jesus, and when the spirit saw Him, it immediately caused the boy to have convulsions and to fall to the ground and roll around, foaming at the mouth. 21) Jesus asked the boy=s father, AHow long has this been happening to him?@ And he answered, ASince he was a small child. 22) And frequently the evil spirit has tried to kill him, throwing him into a fire or into the water. But if you can do anything [for him], have pity on us and help us.@ 23) And Jesus said to him, A>If you can.= [Note: By repeating the man=s words Jesus seems to be saying, AYou mean, if you can believe@]. Everything is possible to the person who believes [it can happen].@ 24) Immediately the father of the boy cried out, AI do believe; help me to have more faith.@ 25) When Jesus saw a crowd running together [toward Him], He spoke sternly to the evil spirit [in the boy], saying to it, AYou deaf-mute spirit, I order you to come out of this boy and to never return to him again.@ 26) The spirit shrieked and caused violent convulsions [in the boy], then came out of him. The boy appeared to be dead, so that most of the people were saying, AHe is dead.@ 27) But Jesus grasped his hand and lifted him up, and he arose [fully healed].

28) And when Jesus had come into a house, His disciples asked Him privately, AWhy could we not drive out the evil spirit [from that boy]?@ 29) He answered them; AThis kind [of spirit] cannot be driven out except by praying.@

30) So, they left there and traveled through Galilee, but Jesus did not want anyone to know about it. 31) For He taught His disciples, saying to them, AThe Son of man will be handed over to [evil] men and they will kill Him, and three days after He dies He will rise up again.@ 32) But His disciples did not understand what He meant and were afraid to ask Him.

33) Then Jesus and His disciples came to Capernaum [Note: This city on the northwest shore of Lake Galilee had become sort of a headquarters for Jesus when He was in this region]. When He [and His disciples] entered a house He asked them, AWhat were you discussing on the way here?@ 34) But they kept quiet for they had been arguing with one another over which one of them was the greatest. 35) So, He sat down and called the twelve apostles and said to them, AIf anyone [of you] should [try to] be first [in importance] he will [end up] being last, and become the servant of all [the others]. 36) And He took a little child and placed it in front of them, and lifting the child up into His arms, He said to them, 37) AWhoever welcomes one such little child [as this] for my sake, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, does not welcome me [only], but [also] the One who sent me.@

38) [Then] John [the apostle] said to Him, ATeacher, we saw someone driving out evil spirits by using your name, so we told him to stop doing it, because he was not following [You] with us.@ 39) But Jesus said, ADo not try to stop him, for there is not anyone who performs a supernatural deed using my name who will be able to quickly say something bad about me. 40) For the person who is not against us is for us. 41) Truly I tell you, whoever will give you [even] a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his [temporal or eternal] reward. 42) And whoever causes one of these little ones [i.e., humble followers of the Lord. See Matt. 18:6] who believes in me to be led astray [from God], he would have been better off to have had a huge millstone tied around his neck and thrown into the ocean [Note: This was a heavy, circular stone rolled over grain to crush it, and moved by an animal walking in a circle]. 43) And if your hand becomes the occasion for falling away [from God], cut it off; it would be better for you to enter [never ending] life disabled, rather than keeping both hands and going to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out [i.e., all because it caused you to fall away from God]. {{Verse 44) is absent from many manuscripts}}. 45) And if your foot becomes the occasion for falling away [from God], cut it off; it would be better for you to enter [never ending] life crippled, rather than keeping both feet and being thrown into hell. {{Verse 46) is absent from many manuscripts}}. 47) And if your eye becomes the occasion for falling away [from God] gouge it out; it would be better for you to enter the kingdom of God with [only] one eye, rather than keeping both eyes and being thrown into hell [i.e., all because one of them caused you to fall away from God]. 48) For in hell the worm of those who are there will never die [i.e., their gnawing punishment will never cease] and the fire [there] will never go out. 49) For everyone will be salted with fire. [Note: This meant either the suffering Asalt@ of fiery trials (the sacrifices of verses 43-47) or the punishing Asalt@ of being thrown into a fiery hell (verse 45-48)].

50) ASalt is good, but if it loses its salty flavor, what will you use to restore it? [i.e., it is difficult to restore the Asalt@ of sacrificial commitment to God once it is lost]. You should have salt in yourselves [i.e., develop the qualities of preserving, purifying commitment to God], and live peacefully with one another [i.e., instead of in rivalry. See 9:33-34].



CHAPTER TEN

1) And Jesus left there and went to the region of Judea and east of the Jordan River. Again crowds gathered around Him and He continued teaching them, as was His custom.

2) Some Pharisees [i.e., a strict sect of the Jewish religion] came to Him [and attempted] to test Him by asking, AIs it permissible by the Law of Moses for a man to divorce his wife?@ 3) And He answered them, AWhat did Moses command you [to do]?@ 4) They replied, AMoses allowed us to provide a legal divorce decree and [then] to divorce her.@ 5) But Jesus said to them, AHe wrote you this commandment [only] because of the rebellious spirit of you [Jews]. 6) But from the beginning of creation God made mankind male and female. 7) For this reason [i.e., since he made one woman for one man] a man will leave [the home of] his father and mother and will cling to his wife 8) and the two of them will [then] become one flesh [i.e., united in such a close relationship as to constitute one body], so that [upon becoming husband and wife] they no longer function as two persons but as one body. 9) Therefore, those whom God so joins together [in the marriage bond], no person must ever separate.@

10) And when they were in the house, His disciples asked Him about this matter again. 11) And He said to them, AWhoever divorces his wife and marries another [woman] commits sexual unfaithfulness [toward her]. 12) And if she herself divorces her husband and marries another [man], she commits sexual unfaithfulness [toward him].@

13) Then some [parents] were bringing [their] little children to Jesus so He could touch them [i.e., to bestow a blessing on them], but His disciples spoke harshly to these parents [for doing this]. 14) But when Jesus saw it, He was moved with [righteous] indignation, and said to them, AAllow these little children to come to me and stop trying to prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such [humble ones. See Matt. 18:4]. 15) Truly I tell you, whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God as a little child does, that person will by no means enter it.@ 16) Then He lifted up the children into His arms, and placing His hands on them, He asked God=s blessing on them.

17) As Jesus was leaving to go on His way, a man ran to Him and kneeled down in front of Him and asked, AGood Teacher, what should I do in order to possess never ending life?@ 18) Jesus answered him, AWhy are you calling me good? Nobody is good except One, that is, God. 19) You know the commandments: Do not murder. Do not be sexually unfaithful to your mate. Do not steal. Do not give false testimony. Do not cheat. Show honor to your father and mother.@ 20) And he replied, ATeacher, I have [already] been observing all these commandments since I was a young lad.@ 21) And Jesus looked at him, and filled with love, said to him, AThere is one thing you [still] lack. Go and sell your possessions and give [the money] to poor people; become my follower, then you will have treasure in heaven.@ 22) But the man had a sad look on his face when he heard these words, and went away sorrowful, for he had many possessions.

23) Then Jesus looked around Him and said to His disciples, AHow difficult it is for rich people to enter the kingdom of God!@ 24) And His disciples were amazed at what He said. But Jesus spoke to them again and said, AHow difficult it is [for anyone] to enter the kingdom of God! 25) It is [actually] easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.@ 26) And they were utterly amazed and said to Him, AThen who can [possibly] be saved?@ 27) Jesus looked at them and said, AThis would be impossible with men, but not with God, for everything is possible with God.@ 28) Peter began saying to Him, ALook, we have left everything [i.e., homes, jobs, family, etc.] to follow you.@ 29) Jesus said, ATruly I tell you, no one who has left his house, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children or property for my sake and the Gospel=s sake [i.e., to become a servant of the Lord], 30) but what he will receive [back] a hundred times as much now in this life --- houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children and property --- [yet] with persecutions. And in the coming age [he will receive] never ending life. 31) But many that [appear to] be first [i.e., in importance and blessings] will [end up] being last. And [those appearing to] be last will [end up] being first.@

32) Now Jesus and His disciples were [traveling] along the road, going up to Jerusalem, with Jesus moving on ahead of the others. The disciples were amazed and they followed [behind Him] fearfully. [Note: From the context, it appears their amazement was due to His eagerness to enter Jerusalem in spite of the imminent danger they felt awaited Him there]. He took the twelve apostles aside and began telling them about the things that were going to happen to Him. 33) He said, ALook, we are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of man will be turned over to the leading priests and experts in the Law of Moses. They will condemn Him to death and turn Him over to the [unconverted] Gentiles. 34) They will mock Him, and spit on Him, and whip Him and [finally] kill Him, but after three days He will rise again [from the dead].@

35) Now James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over to Jesus and said to Him, AWe would like you to do for us whatever we ask you.@ 36) And He said to them, AWhat do you want me to do for you?@ 37) They answered Him, AAppoint one of us to sit at your right side and the other at your left side [when you come] in splendor.@ 38) But Jesus said to them, AYou [really] do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup [i.e., of suffering] that I will drink? Or [are you able] to be immersed with the immersion that I am [to be] immersed with?@ [i.e., to be overwhelmed with agony]. 39) And they said to Him, A[Yes], we are able to.@ And Jesus said to them, AThe cup [of suffering] that I [will] drink, you [also] will drink. And the immersion [with agony] with which I am [to be] immersed, you [also] will be immersed. 40) But it is not my prerogative to appoint who sits at my right side and at my left, but [those places] are for people to whom it has been assigned [by the Father].@ 41) When the ten other apostles heard this, they became very upset with James and John. 42) Jesus called them [i.e., probably all twelve apostles] to Him and said, AYou are aware that those who are regarded as rulers among the [unconverted] Gentiles lord it over their own people, and their important men domineer over them [as well]. 43) But it is not [to be] this way among you, for whoever would like to become important among you will be your servant. 44) And whoever would like to be first [in prominence] among you, will be your slave. 45) For the Son of man did not come to be served [by others] but to be the servant [of others], and to sacrifice His life as a ransom price for many people [i.e., to purchase them back from Satan].@

46) Then they [i.e., Jesus and the twelve apostles] came to Jericho [Note: This was a town about 18 miles northeast of Jerusalem]. As He left there with His disciples and a large crowd, they met a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sitting along side the road. 47) When he heard that it was Jesus from Nazareth [passing by], he began shouting, AJesus, son of David, have pity on me.@ 48) Many people spoke harshly to the blind man, telling him to be quiet. But he shouted all the more [loudly], ASon of David, have pity on me.@ 49) So, Jesus stopped and said, ACall that man [to me].@ Then the crowd called the blind man, saying to him, ACheer up, Jesus is calling you.@ 50) So, he threw off his robe, jumped up, and [immediately] went to Jesus. 51) Jesus said to him, AWhat do you want me to do for you?@ And the blind man answered, ARabboni [i.e., Teacher], I want to have my sight restored.@ 52) And Jesus said to him, AGo on your way, your faith [in me] has made you well.@ And immediately his sight was restored, and he began following Jesus along the road.



CHAPTER ELEVEN

1) And when they [all] approached Jerusalem, and came close to Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives [Note: These small villages were about two miles east of Jerusalem], He sent two of His disciples on ahead, 2) saying to them, AGo into the village just ahead of you and, upon entering it, you will find tied up [there] a colt that no one has ever ridden; untie it and bring it here. 3) And if anyone says to you, AWhy are you doing this?@ you should say, AThe Lord needs it,@ and immediately he will send it back here. 4) So, they went away and found a [donkey=s] colt tied up at the gate, outside in the street, and untied it. 5) Some bystanders said to them, AWhat are you doing, untying that colt?@ 6) But they answered him exactly what Jesus had told them to say, so the people let them go. 7) Then they brought the colt to Jesus and spread their clothing on it and He mounted it. 8) Many people spread their clothing on the roadway, while others spread leafy branches, which they had cut from the fields. 9) And the people who walked ahead of Him and followed behind shouted, AHosanna [Note: The Syriac word >Hosanna= originally meant >save now= but came to be used as an expression of welcome, praise, blessing or acclamation], may He who comes in the name [i.e., by the authority] of the Lord, be blessed. 10) May the coming kingdom of our forefather David be blessed. Hosanna in the highest [i.e., may this blessing reach to the highest heaven].@

11) Then Jesus entered the Temple in Jerusalem, and after looking around at everything [there], He left for Bethany with the twelve apostles, since it was evening by then. [Note: Jesus stayed overnight at Bethany during the week prior to His crucifixion. See verse 19].

12) On the next day, when they were going from Bethany [to Jerusalem], Jesus became hungry. 13) Upon seeing in the distance a leafy fig tree, He approached it in hope of finding something on it [to eat]. But when He got there He found nothing but leaves on it, for it was not the season for figs [yet]. 14) Therefore, He said to the tree, AFrom now on no one will ever eat fruit from you.@ Now His disciples heard Him say this.

15) Then they entered Jerusalem and Jesus went into the Temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold [animals for sacrifice]. He upset the tables of the cashiers [i.e., those who exchanged foreign coins] and the benches of those who sold pigeons [for sacrifices]. 16) And He would not [even] allow anyone to carry a container [of goods] through the Temple [area]. 17) Then He taught them, saying, AIs it not written [Isa. 56:7], >My house [i.e., the Temple] will be called a house of prayer for people of all nations=? But [Jer. 7:11 says], >You have made it a hideout for thieves.=@ 18) The leading priests and experts in the Law of Moses heard this and began looking for some way to kill Jesus, because they were afraid of Him, since the whole crowd was amazed at His teaching.

19) And each evening He left the city [of Jerusalem, and went to Bethany for the night].

20) The next morning, [as they returned to the city], they passed by the fig tree and saw that it had withered, clear down to its roots. 21) Then Peter remembered [what Jesus had done to the fig tree on a recent occasion], and said to Him, ARabbi [i.e., Teacher], look, the fig tree you cursed [the other day] has withered up.@ 22) Jesus replied to him, AYou should have faith in God. 23) Truly I tell you, whoever will say to this mountain, >Be lifted up and thrown into the ocean= and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he said will happen, he will have his request granted. 24) Therefore I tell you, whatever things you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received them, and you will have every one of them. 25) And whenever you stand praying, forgive whatever [grievance] you might have against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you of your sins.@ {{Verse 26) is absent from many ancient manuscripts}}.

27) Jesus and His disciples again came to Jerusalem. As He was walking in the Temple [area] the leading priests, experts in the Law of Moses and [Jewish] elders came to Him 28) and said, ABy what authority are you doing these things [i.e., miracles and teaching]? Or who gave you the authority to do these things?@ 29) Jesus answered them; ALet me ask you a question. And if you answer it, then I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30) Was the immersion of John [authorized] from heaven or from men? Give me an answer.@ 31) So, they discussed this among themselves, saying, AIf we say >from heaven= He will say to us, >Then why did you not believe his message?= 32) But, should we say >from men= [instead]?@ Now they feared the people, for all of them considered John to be a true prophet. 33) So, they answered Jesus and said, AWe do not know [where John got his authority to immerse].@ Jesus replied to them, A[Then] neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things [i.e., miracles and teaching].@



CHAPTER TWELVE

1) Jesus began speaking to them [i.e., to the leading priests and experts in the Law of Moses (See 11:18) or, to the people (See Luke 20:9)] by using parables. He said, AA man planted a vineyard and built a fence around it. He dug a place for constructing a grape squeezing device, built a [lookout] tower [near it], then leased it out to tenant farmers and went to another country. 2) And when the [grape harvest] season came, the owner of the farm sent a slave to the tenant farmers asking them to deliver the grape crop [to him]. 3) But they took the slave and beat him and sent him away empty handed. 4) Again the owner of the farm sent another slave, whom they wounded in the head and shamefully abused. 5) He sent [still] another slave, whom they killed. He continued sending many more slaves; they beat some and killed others. 6) The owner had one more person [left to send], his dearly loved son. [So] he sent him to them last of all, reasoning to himself, >[Surely] they will treat my son with respect.= 7) But the tenant farmers said to one another, >This is the heir [to the vineyard]. Come on, let us kill him and then the inheritance will be ours.= 8) So they took him and killed him and threw his body out of the vineyard. 9) What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do [when he gets back]?@ Jesus asked. [Then He continued], AHe will come and kill those tenant farmers and give the vineyard to other people. 10) Have you never read this Scripture [Psa. 118:22-23], >The building block rejected by the builders is the same [one] that was made the principal stone by which the entire building was aligned. 11) This was planned by the Lord and is a marvelous thing to us=?@

12) And they [i.e., the leading priests and experts in the Law of Moses] attempted to arrest Jesus, but [hesitated because] they feared what the crowd might do, for they understood that He was speaking the parable against them. So, they left Him and went away.

13) Then the Pharisees sent certain ones of their number [See Matt. 22:15-16] along with the Herodians [Note: This refers to members of a political party favoring King Herod] to attempt to trap Him by what He said. 14) And when they arrived, they said to Him, ATeacher, we know that you are sincere, and [that you] do not care for [i.e., do not fear or give in to] anyone. For you do not allow [the position of] any person to influence you, but teach the truth about God=s way. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15) Should we pay it, or should we not pay it?@ But Jesus was aware of their hypocrisy and said to them, ABring me the coin so I can see it.@ [Note: The amount of this coin was equivalent to one day of a farm laborer=s pay, or about $60-$84 in 1994]. 16) So, they brought it to Him and He said to them, AWhose image and inscription [are on this coin]?@ And they answered Him, ACaesar=s.@ 17) Then Jesus replied to them, APay to Caesar whatever belongs to Caesar and pay to God whatever belongs to God.@ And they greatly marveled at Him.

18) Then some Sadducees, [the ones] who say there is no resurrection [of the dead], came and asked Him, 19) ATeacher, Moses wrote to us [Deut. 25:5] that if a man=s brother dies, leaving his widow behind without having had any children, his brother should marry his widow and father children by her. These children would then be considered his [dead] brother=s. 20) [Now] there were [these] seven brothers; the first one got married, but when he died he left no children behind. 21) So, the second one married his widow, and at his death he too left no children behind. Then the third one did the same thing. 22) All seven left no children [behind when they died]. Finally, the woman also passed away. 23) [Now] whose wife will she be in the resurrected state, for all seven [brothers] were married to her?@ 24) Jesus said to them, AIs not this the reason that you are [so] mistaken, that you do not know [what] the Scriptures [teach] or [how much] power God has? 25) For when people rise from the dead, men do not get married, and women are not given away in marriage, but [all] are like angels in heaven. 26) But concerning those who are raised from the dead, have you never read in the book of Moses, in the incident about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying [Ex. 3:6], >I am Abraham=s God, and Isaac=s God, and Jacob=s God?= 27) [So], He is not God to those who are dead, but [He is] God to those who are alive. You are seriously mistaken.@

28) Then one of the experts in the Law of Moses [Note: Matt. 22:34 identifies him as being a Pharisee also], came and heard Jesus and the Sadducees discussing together [i.e., the subject of the resurrection], and knowing that Jesus had refuted the Sadducees successfully, asked Him, AWhich commandment is foremost, above all the others?@ 29) And Jesus answered, AThe foremost one is this [Deut. 6:4-5], >Hear this, you Israelites, the Lord our God is the only Lord, 30) and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.= 31) The second one is this; >You must love your neighbor the same way that you love yourself.= There is no other commandment greater than these [i.e., love for God and man].@ 32) The expert in the Law of Moses said to Jesus, ATruly, Teacher, you are right in saying that God is [the only] one and that there is no other God but Him. 33) And that to love Him with all one=s heart, with all one=s understanding, and with all one=s strength, and to love one=s neighbor the same way he loves himself, are far more [important] than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices [in the world].@ 34) When Jesus saw that this man answered wisely, He said to him, AYou are not [very] far from the kingdom of God.@ And after that, no one dared to ask Him any more questions.

35) As Jesus was teaching in the Temple, He responded [to some Pharisees. See Matt. 22:41] by asking, AHow is it that the experts in the Law of Moses can say that the Christ is the son of David? 36) [It was] David himself [who] said by [inspiration of] the Holy Spirit [Psa. 110:1], >The Lord [i.e., God] said to my [i.e., David=s] Lord [i.e., Jesus], sit at my right side until I make your enemies the footrest [i.e., in subjection] under your feet.= 37) David himself called Him [i.e., Jesus] Lord, so how could He be his son?@ And the large crowd listened to Him with pleasure.

38) In His teaching Jesus said, ALook out for the experts in the Law of Moses, who like to walk around in long [flowing] robes and to receive special greetings at the open shopping markets 39) and to occupy the principal seats in the synagogues and the head places at dinner tables. 40) They consume widows' houses [i.e., by foreclosing on them] and [then] cover it up by offering lengthy prayers. These people will receive a more severe judgment.@

41) Then Jesus sat down over near the [Temple] treasury and watched how the crowd was throwing money into the treasury [Note: This Atreasury@ was a large open-mouthed container used for receiving offerings for meeting expenses of Temple upkeep]. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. 42) A poor widow came and threw in two small copper coins [Note: These two coins each amounted to about ten minutes= worth of a farm laborer=s pay, or about one dollar in 1994]. The total she gave was equivalent to a larger coin [i.e., worth twice as much]. 43) Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, ATruly I tell you, this poor widow has thrown in more than all the rest who are throwing [money] into the treasury. 44) For all of them threw in from their abundance, but being very poor, she threw in everything she had, even all she had to live on.@



CHAPTER THIRTEEN

1) As Jesus left the Temple, one of His disciples said to Him, ATeacher, look at the kind of stones these buildings are made of!@ 2) And Jesus responded to him, ADo you see these huge buildings? There will not be one stone left on another here that will not be thrown down.@

3) As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, over near the Temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him privately, 4) ATell us, when will these things [you just spoke of] happen? And what will be the sign [that indicates] when all these things are about to be fulfilled?@

5) Then Jesus began saying to them, APay attention so that no one leads you astray [i.e., from the truth]. 6) [For] many [false teachers] will come, claiming to be me, and saying, >I am [the Christ] and they will lead many people astray. 7) And when you hear of wars [going on] and rumors of [other] wars [pending], do not worry, for such things must necessarily happen. But the end has not yet come. [Note: By Aend@ here Jesus probably alludes to the downfall of Jerusalem in AD 70, with its attending destruction of the Temple buildings]. 8) For nations will wage war against one another, and kingdoms will attack one another. And earthquakes will happen at various places [in the world], and there will be famines. These things are [only] the beginning of terrible times.

9) ABut pay attention to yourselves, for people will turn you over to [Jewish] councils [i.e., for judgment] and you will be beaten in synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings for being loyal to me. [This will afford you an opportunity] for witnessing to them. 10) And the good news must first be preached to people of all nations. 11) And when they lead you into court, and hand you over [to be judged], do not worry ahead of time about what you will say, but [just] say whatever you are told [i.e., by God] when the time comes. 12) And [at that time] a person will turn his brother over to be killed, and the father will do the same to his child. And children will rebel against their parents and will turn them over to be killed. 13) You will be hated by all people because you belong to me, but the person who holds out [i.e., remains faithful to God] until the end [i.e., the end of this time of severe persecution] will be saved [from destruction].

14) ABut when you see that disgusting thing that causes total destruction [i.e., the Roman army. See Luke 21:20] standing where it ought not to be [i.e., surrounding the besieged city of Jerusalem], (let the reader understand [what is meant by this]), then those of you in Judea are to run away into the [nearby] mountains. 15) Also the person who is on a housetop [Note: This was a flat area where people retired for rest, prayer, etc., with its stairway on the outside] should not go down into his house to take anything out [when he flees]. 16) The person who is in a field [i.e., doing farm work] should not return [to his house] to get his coat [even]. 17) [It will be] too bad for those who are pregnant and those who are nursing babies in those days. 18) And pray that [your flight] will not be in the winter. 19) There will be great trouble during those days, such as had never been from the beginning of God=s creation until the present, or even will be [in the days to come]. 20) And if the Lord had not kept those days as short as they were, no one would have been saved [i.e., from the devastating destruction]. But for the sake of the elect [i.e., God=s people], whom He chose, He kept those days short. 21) And then if anyone says to you, >Look, here is Christ,= or >Look, there He is,= do not believe him. 22) For false Christs and false prophets will appear and they will perform [miraculous] signs and [supernatural] wonders in order to lead astray [even] the elect, if possible. 23) But pay attention, for I have told you [all this] ahead of time.

24) ABut after those days of terrible trouble [i.e., the next major event on God=s calendar will be], the sun will become dark, and [therefore] the moon will not [be able to] shed its [reflected] light, 25) and the stars will be falling from the sky and the forces of the heavens will be shaken. [Note: From the description of these same events in Luke 21:25-26, it is possible that this is figurative language for great calamities happening on earth]. 26) And then they will see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and splendor. 27) And He will send out His angels and gather His elect [i.e., God=s people] from all directions, from the farthest part of the earth to the farthest part of the sky [i.e., from throughout the whole world].

28) ANow learn this parable from the fig tree. When its tender sprouts appear and its leaves begin to develop, you know that summer is near. 29) In the same way also, when you see these things happening, you [should] know that He [i.e., Jesus] is as near as your [front] door. 30) Truly I tell you, the people of this generation will not [all] die off before all these things [i.e., mentioned above] happen. 31) Although the sky and the earth will pass away [See II Pet. 3:10], my words will not pass away [i.e., they will certainly come true]. 32) But no one knows when that day or that hour will come; not even the angels in heaven or the Son of God know, but only the Father does.

33) AYou should pay attention; be alert and pray, for you do not know when the time will come [i.e., for the Lord to return]. 34) It is like a man who left his house on a trip to another country. [Before leaving] he put his servants in charge of his affairs, giving each one a [particular] job to do, then he ordered the gatekeeper to stay alert [i.e., while he was gone]. 35) So, be alert, because you do not know when the owner of the house will return, whether [some] evening, at midnight, at dawn, or at [mid-] morning. 36) [Be alert], for he might come unexpectedly and find you asleep. 37) And what I am telling you, I am telling everyone. Be alert!@



CHAPTER FOURTEEN

1) Now the Passover Festival and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were held two days later. [Note: This was the annual Jewish Festival week commemorating Israel=s deliverance from Egyptian bondage under Moses= leadership. The unleavened bread was specially baked bread containing no yeast, which was eaten for seven days as part of the celebration]. And the leading priests and experts in the Law of Moses were looking for a way to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. 2) But they reasoned, AWe will not [take him] during the Festival, because it might start a riot among the people.@

3) And while Jesus was in Bethany [Note: This was a small village fewer than two miles east of Jerusalem], sitting at the dinner table in the house of Simon, the man with an infectious skin disease [Note: This man had probably been healed by now], a woman with an alabaster [i.e., stone] jar of very expensive perfume came to Him, broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head. 4) But some [of the disciples. See Matt. 26:8] were upset among themselves, saying, AWhat is the reason for wasting this perfume? 5) It might have been sold for a large sum of money and the money given to poor people. [Note: The amount indicated here was equivalent to 300 days of a farm laborer=s pay, or over $20,000 in 1994]. And they complained about her [doing this]. 6) But Jesus said, ALet her alone. Why are you bothering this woman? For she has done a kind deed to me. 7) You will always have poor people with you, and you can do something good for them whenever you want to, but you will not always have me with you. 8) She has done what she could. She has applied this aromatic oil to my body in anticipation of my burial. 9) For truly I tell you, wherever the Gospel message will be preached throughout the whole world, what this woman has done [for me] will [also] be told about as a memorial of her [kindness to me].@

10) Now Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve apostles, left and went to the leading priests in order to make arrangements for turning Jesus over to them. 11) And when they [i.e., the leading priests] realized this, they were very pleased and promised to give him money. So, Judas began looking for a convenient way to turn Jesus over to these Jewish leaders.

12) Now on the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread [i.e., the beginning of the Passover Festival week], when they sacrificed the Passover [lamb], Jesus= disciples said to Him, AWhere do you want us to go to make preparations for you to eat the Passover meal?@ 13) So, He sent two of His disciples, saying to them, AGo into the city [of Jerusalem] and there a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you; follow him. 14) And wherever he enters a house [follow him inside and] say to the owner, >The Teacher says, where is my guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?= 15) And the owner himself will show you a large upstairs room all furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there [i.e., to observe the Passover meal].@ 16) So, the disciples left and entered the city [of Jerusalem]. They found everything just as Jesus told them [it would be], and they made preparations for the Passover meal.

17) When evening came, Jesus arrived [at the upstairs room] with the twelve apostles. 18) As they reclined at the table to eat, [Note: See Matt. 23:6] Jesus said, ATruly I tell you, one of you will turn me over [i.e., to the Jewish leaders]; [it is the one] who is eating with me.@ 19) And they [all] began to be grieved and said to Him, one by one, AAm I the one?@ 20) And He answered them, AIt is one of you twelve, [the one] who is dipping [his bread] with me in the sauce bowl. 21) For the Son of man is going [to die], but it is too bad for that person who will turn me over to the Jewish leaders! It would be better for that man if he had not been born.@

22) And as they were eating He took a [small] loaf of bread, and when He had asked God=s blessing on it, He broke it and gave [pieces] to His disciples and said, ATake this, it is [i.e., represents] my [physical] body.@ 23) Then He took a cup [i.e., probably wine made from fresh or possibly preserved grape juice], and when He had given thanks to God, He passed it to them and they all drank from it. 24) And He said to them, AThis is [i.e., represents] my blood of the Agreement [i.e., between God and mankind] which is [to be] poured out for many people. 25) Truly I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine [i.e., grape juice] any more until that day when I will drink it again [i.e., figuratively] in the kingdom of God.@

26) And after they had sung a hymn, they went up to the Mount of Olives.

27) Then Jesus said to His disciples, AAll of you will have doubts about me, for it is written [Zech. 13:7], >I will strike down the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered everywhere.= 28) However, after I am raised up, I will go on ahead of you to Galilee.@ 29) But Peter said to Him, AAlthough everyone else will have doubts [about you], I never will.@ 30) And Jesus said to him, ATruly I tell you, today, in fact this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny [knowing] me three times.@ 31) But Peter kept insisting emphatically, AEven if I have to die with you, still I will not deny [knowing] you.@ And all the rest of the disciples spoke the same way.

32) Jesus and His disciples came to a place called Gethsemene [Note: This was an olive orchard on a hillside just east of Jerusalem]. He said to His disciples, AYou sit here while I [go away and] pray.@ 33) And He took Peter, James and John with Him and began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34) He said to them, AMy soul is extremely grieved, even to the point where I could die. Stay here and be alert [i.e., in prayer].@ 35) And He went on ahead a short distance and fell to the ground and prayed for that hour [i.e., that time of terrible grief] to pass away from Him, if it were at all possible. 36) So, He said, "Abba, [which means] Father, everything is possible with you. Take this cup [i.e., of suffering] away from me; however, let it not be what I want but what you want for me.@

37) And when He came back and found His disciples sleeping He said to Peter, ASimon, are you sleeping? Could you not stay alert [in prayer] for one hour? 38) Be alert and pray, so that you do not give in to temptation. The spirit of a person is truly willing [i.e., to do a certain thing], but his physical nature is [often] too weak [to carry it out].@

39) And He went away again and prayed, saying the same words. 40) Then He came back again and found His disciples still asleep, because they had not been able to keep their eyes open at all.

41) And He came back a third time and said to them, AGo ahead and sleep now and get your rest. That is enough; the time has come. See, the Son of man is about to be turned over into the hands of sinners. 42) Get up, let us be going. Look, the one who will turn me over [i.e., to the Jewish leaders] is nearby.@

43) And immediately, as Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve apostles came with a crowd who were carrying swords and clubs. [They had come] from the leading priests, the experts in the Law of Moses and the [Jewish] elders. 44) Now the one who turned Him over to the Jewish leaders [i.e., Judas] had given them a signal, saying, AWhoever I give a kiss [of greeting] to, he is the one; arrest him and lead him away under guard.@ 45) And when Judas came, immediately he went to Jesus and said, ARabbi,@ and then kissed Him [enthusiastically]. 46) Then the soldiers and officers arrested Him and began taking Him away. 47) But a certain disciple who was standing nearby [i.e., Peter. See John 18:10] drew his sword and struck the head priest=s servant [i.e., Malchus. See John 18:10], shearing off his ear. 48) Then Jesus said to them, AHave you come out to arrest me with swords and clubs like you would a thief? 49) I was with you every day, teaching in the Temple, and you did not [come to] take me. But this has happened so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.@ 50) And all of His disciples left Him and ran away.

51) And a certain young man [Note: Some think this is a reference to Mark himself], who had a linen outer garment thrown over his scantily clad body, was following Jesus until they [i.e., the soldiers and officers] took hold of him. [Note: The wording here does not indicate total nakedness, but rather the wearing of underclothing only] 52) Then he ran away in his underclothing, leaving his linen outer garment behind.

53) Then they led Jesus away to the head priest, and all the leading priests, [Jewish] elders and experts in the Law of Moses came together with Him. 54) But Peter had followed Him from a distance, right into the courtyard of the head priest. He was sitting there with the [Jewish] officers, warming himself by the light of the fire.

55) Now the leading priests and the entire Council [called the ASanhedrin@] were looking for [false] witnesses to testify against Jesus in order to put Him to death, but did not find any. 56) For many persons gave false testimony against Him, but their stories did not harmonize. 57) Then two people [See Matt. 26:60] stood up and gave false testimony against Him, saying, 58) AWe heard him say, >I will destroy this Temple, which was constructed by hand, and in three days I will build another one, not made by hand.=@ 59) And not even [in this attempt did] their testimony harmonize.

60) The head priest stood up in front of them and asked Jesus, ADo you not have anything to answer? What about this charge being made against you by these people?@ 61) But Jesus kept quiet and did not give them any answer.

Again the head priest asked Him, AAre you the Christ [i.e., God=s specially chosen one]?@ 62) And Jesus answered, AYes, I am; and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right side of Power [i.e., God, Himself], and coming on the clouds of the sky.@ 63) And the head priest tore at his clothing [i.e., as an expression of frustration] and said, AWhat additional need do we have for witnesses? 64) You [yourselves] have heard him speaking against God. What do you people think [i.e., about such statements]?@

And they all condemned Him as deserving the death penalty. 65) And some of them began to spit on Him, then to cover His face [with a blindfold] and hit Him [with their fists], saying, AProphesy [i.e., tell who hit you].@ And the officers in charge of Him also struck Him with their hands.

66) Now when Peter was in the courtyard downstairs [i.e., from where the Sanhedrin was having its meeting. See verse 55], one of the head priest=s servant girls came in, 67) and seeing Peter warming himself by the fire, she looked at him and said, AYou were with Jesus from Nazareth, too.@ 68) But he denied it, saying, AI do not know or understand what you are talking about.@ Then he went out onto the porch and the rooster crowed. 69) When the servant girl saw him [there], she again began saying to those nearby, AThis man is one of them [i.e., a disciple of Jesus].@ 70) But again he denied it.

Then after a little while those standing nearby said to Peter again, AWe know for sure that you are one of them because you are from Galilee.@ [Note: Peter=s accent gave him away. See Matt. 26:73]. 71) Then Peter began to curse and swear, saying, AI do not know this man you are talking about.@ 72) Immediately the rooster crowed for the second time and Peter was reminded of the words of Jesus, who had said to him, AYou will deny [knowing] me three times before the rooster crows twice.@ And as he thought about this, he cried.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN

1) As soon as it was morning the leading priests, along with the [Jewish] elders and experts in the Law of Moses and the entire Council, held a conference. Then they tied Jesus up, led Him away and turned Him over to Pilate [the Roman governor]. 2) Pilate asked Him, AAre you the king of the Jews?@ Jesus answered him, AYou have said so.@

3) [Then] the leading priests accused Him of many things. 4) So, Pilate again asked Him, ADo you not have any answer? Look at how many charges they are bringing against you.@ 5) But still Jesus gave no answer to anything, so that Pilate was amazed.

6) Now at the Passover Festival Pilate customarily released whatever prisoner the people asked him to. 7) One prisoner, named Barabbas, was kept chained up in prison along with men who had committed murder during a rebellion. 8) The crowd [then] went to Pilate and asked him to do what he was accustomed to doing for them [i.e., release a prisoner of their choosing during the Passover Festival]. 9) Pilate answered them; ADo you want me to release to you the king of the Jews [i.e., Jesus]?@ 10) For he perceived that the leading priests had turned Jesus over to him out of envy. 11) But the leading priests stirred up the crowd to insist that Pilate release Barabbas to them instead. 12) [So], Pilate again asked them, AThen what shall I do to this one you call the king of the Jews?@ 13) And they shouted out again, ACrucify him!@ 14) And Pilate said to them, AWhy [should we]; what wrong has he done?@ But they shouted out even louder, ACrucify him.@ 15) So Pilate, wanting to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them, and after he had Jesus flogged, he turned Him over to be crucified.

16) Then the soldiers led Jesus away to the courtyard of the governor=s headquarters, where they assembled the entire battalion. 17) They placed a purple robe on Him [Note: Matt. 27:28 calls this a Ascarlet@ robe. In that day, any color with a mixture of Ared@ in it was often called Apurple@], and making a wreath out of thorns, they placed it on His head. 18) Then they began Agreeting@ Him with AHey, king of the Jews!@ 19) They beat His head with a stick, spat on Him, knelt down before Him and [mockingly] worshiped Him. 20) And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off of Him and put His own clothing [back] on Him. Then they led Him out to crucify Him.

21) They forced a passerby, named Simon of Cyrene [Note: This was a city in the northern African country of Libya], the father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the countryside, to go with them so he could carry Jesus= cross [i.e., probably only the cross-beam portion].

22) Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha which, being interpreted, means Athe place of the skull@ [i.e., probably because it was a skull-shaped knoll in appearance]. 23) They offered Him wine, mixed with aromatic spices, but He refused to accept it. [Note: Matt. 27:34 calls this Agall,@ a bitter drug for the purpose of dulling the pain of crucifixion]. 24) So, they crucified Him and divided His clothing by gambling for them to decide what each soldier would get.

25) It was nine o=clock in the morning and they crucified Him. [Note: John 19:14 indicates that the crucifixion took place about noon. This can be harmonized if we take Mark=s account to mean when the entire process began]. 26) The inscription, stating the charge against Him, was attached above His head [i.e., to the upright portion of the cross]. It read, AThe king of the Jews.@ 27) And they also crucified two thieves with Him, one at His right side and one at His left. {{Some ancient manuscripts add verse 28) AAnd the Scripture was fulfilled, which said, >He was counted with the lawbreakers.=@}} 29) And those who passed by the cross shouted abuse at Him and shook their heads [in derision], saying, AHa, you who said you would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, 30) save yourself [from dying] and come down from the cross.@

31) In the same way, the leading priests also mocked Him among themselves, along with the experts in the Law of Moses, saying, AHe saved other people, now he cannot even save himself. 32) This >Christ, the king of Israel,= let him now come down from the cross so we can see it and believe in him.@ And the thieves who were being crucified with Him also spoke abusively to Him.

33) And when it became noon there was darkness over the entire land until three o=clock in the afternoon. 34) Then at three o=clock Jesus shouted in a loud voice, AEloi, Eloi, lama, sabachthani?@ [Note: These words were in the commonly spoken Aramaic language], which being interpreted, means AMy God, my God, why have you forsaken me?@ 35) And when some of those standing there heard this, they said, ALook, he is calling for Elijah.@ 36) Then one of the soldiers ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a stick and gave it to Him to drink, saying, ALet him alone; let us see if Elijah comes to take him down [from the cross].@ 37) Then Jesus spoke in a loud voice and gave up His spirit [to God. See Luke 23:46].

38) Then the Temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. 39) And when the military officer in charge of one hundred men, who was standing in front of Jesus, saw Him die like that, he said, ATruly this man was the Son of God.@

40) And there were also some women watching all this from a distance. Among them were Mary from Magdala; Mary the mother of the younger James and [his brother] Joseph [i.e., probably the wife of Clopas. See John 19:25]; and Salome [i.e., the mother of James and John and wife of Zebedee. See Matt. 27:56]. 41) These women had ministered to Jesus= needs when they followed Him from Galilee. Others watching were many women who had come up to Jerusalem with Him.

42) When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation [for the Passover Festival], being the day before the [special] Sabbath Day, 43) Joseph, from Arimathea, a highly respected member of the [Jewish] Council, who was expecting the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate [i.e., the Roman appointed governor] and asked [him] for the body of Jesus. 44) Pilate was amazed that Jesus had already died, and calling the military officer to him, asked how long He had been dead. 45) And when he found out from the military officer, he granted the body to Joseph. 46) [Joseph then] brought a linen cloth, and after taking Jesus down from the cross, wrapped the linen cloth around His body and placed it in a grave site that had been cut out of [a ledge of] rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the cave. 47) [Now] Mary from Magdala and Mary the mother of Joseph [See verse 40] saw where the body was laid.



CHAPTER SIXTEEN

1) Now when the Sabbath day was over [i.e., after sunset on Saturday evening], Mary from Magdala; Mary the mother of James [i.e., the Aother Mary@ of Matt. 28:1, who was probably Jesus= mother. See Matt. 27:56]; and Salome [i.e., the mother of James and John and wife of Zebedee. See Matt. 27:56], bought spices [i.e., consisting of aloes and other aromatic perfumes] in order to apply them to His body [i.e., as a means of embalming]. 2) And very early on the first day of the week, after sunrise [i.e., on Sunday morning], they went to the grave site. 3) They were questioning among themselves, AWho will roll away the stone from the entrance of the cave for us?@ 4) And when they looked up, they saw that the stone had [already been] rolled away, and it was very large. 5) As they were entering the cave, they were amazed when they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting at the right side of the entrance. 6) He said to them, ADo not be amazed. You are looking for Jesus from Nazareth, who was crucified, [are you not]? He has risen from the dead. He is not here. Look at the place where they laid Him. 7) So, go and tell His disciples and Peter, >He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there, just as He told you.=@ 8) So, they left, running out of the cave, [and] trembling with amazement. And they said nothing to anyone about this for they were afraid.

9) Now when Jesus arose from the dead early on the first day of the week [i.e., Sunday morning], He appeared first to Mary from Magdala, from whom He had driven out seven evil spirits. 10) Then she went and told those disciples who had been with Him what had happened. They were sorrowful and began to cry. 11) And when they heard that Jesus was alive and had been seen by Mary from Magdala, they refused to believe it.

12) After these things happened, Jesus showed Himself in a different form to two disciples [Note: One was named Cleopas. See Luke 24:13-18], as they were walking out into the countryside [i.e., to the village of Emmaus, about seven miles northwest of Jerusalem. See Luke 24:13]. 13) And these two men went and told about their encounter with Jesus to the rest of the disciples, but they did not believe them either.

14) Later on Jesus showed Himself to the eleven apostles as they sat [i.e., reclined. See Matt. 23:6], eating a meal. He scolded them for their lack of faith and stubbornness because they refused to believe those who had seen Him [alive] after His resurrection. 15) Then He said to them, AYou [men] go into the entire world and preach the good news to every person. 16) The person who believes [i.e., the Gospel] and is immersed will be saved [i.e., from condemnation], but whoever does not believe it will be condemned. 17) And these [miraculous] signs will attend [the conversion of] those who believe. [Note: This refers to the supernatural miracles performed by the apostles and their associates during the apostolic age. See verse 20 and Acts 2:43]. In my name [i.e., by my authority], they will drive out evil spirits; they will speak in languages [supernaturally]; 18) they will pick up snakes [i.e., without being harmed]; and if they happen to drink anything poisonous, it will not harm them; they will place hands on sick people [i.e., with prayer] and they will be healed.@

19) So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them He was taken up to heaven, where He sat down at the right side of God. 20) And the apostles [See verses 14-15] went out and preached everywhere. The Lord worked with them and confirmed the message [i.e., verified that it was true] by means of the [miraculous] signs which accompanied their ministry. May it be so.


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Copyright 1994 by William E. Paul.

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