Jesus Sends Out His Apostles
1Jesus summoned together his twelve apostles # 9:1 As translated from certain Greek manuscripts and implied in the context. and imparted to them authority over every demon and the power to heal every disease. 2Then he commissioned them to proclaim God’s kingdom and to heal the sick to demonstrate that the kingdom had arrived. As he sent them out, he gave them these instructions: 3“Take nothing extra on your journey. # 9:3 Why did Jesus tell them to go empty-handed? To trust and walk in faith. But also because they already had the five items they were told not to bring, as their spiritual counterparts are found in him (i.e., he is our treasure, our strength, our living bread, our provider, and our righteousness). Just go as you are. Don’t carry a staff, a backpack, food, money, not even a change of clothes. 4Whatever home welcomes you as a guest, remain there and make it your base of ministry. 5And wherever your ministry is rejected, you are to leave that town and shake the dust off your shoes as a testimony before them.” # 9:5 Shaking the dust off their feet would be a statement against the people who had rejected the gospel, that the messengers would not be responsible for their fate. More than a metaphor, this was an actual custom of the day. However, the words “before them” can also be translated “against them.” Shaking the dust off their feet did not mean they were to stomp off offended and angry, but that they would move on with no defilement or unforgiveness in their hearts toward those who rejected their message. If they did not do that, they would take the “dust” of that offense to the next place they ministered.
6The apostles departed and went into the villages with the wonderful news of God’s kingdom, and they healed diseases wherever they went.
7Now, Herod, the governor, was confused and perplexed when he heard reports of all the miracles of Jesus and his apostles. Many were saying, “John the Baptizer has come back to life!” 8Others said, “This has to be Elijah who has reappeared or one of the prophets of old who has risen from the dead.” These were the rumors circulating throughout the land.
Herod exclaimed, 9“Who is this Man? I keep hearing about him over and over. It can’t be the prophet John; I had him beheaded!” # 9:9 See Mark 6:14–29. So, Herod was very eager to meet Jesus.
Jesus Feeds Thousands
10Months later, # 9:10 Matthew infers that they had been sent north and east, possibly as far as Persia to preach to the Jewish residents there, which would take them months to return. the apostles returned from their ministry tour and told Jesus all the wonders and miracles they had witnessed. Jesus, wanting to be alone with the Twelve, quietly slipped away with them toward Bethsaida. # 9:10 Bethsaida means “house of fishing.” 11Crowds soon found out about it and took off after him. When they caught up with Jesus, he graciously welcomed them all, taught them more about God’s kingdom, and healed all who were sick.
12As the day wore on, the Twelve came to Jesus and told him, “It’s getting late. You should send the crowds to the surrounding villages and farms to get something to eat and find shelter for the night. There’s nothing to eat here in the middle of nowhere.”
13Jesus responded, “You have the food to feed them.” # 9:13 In the Greek text, the word you here is emphatic. Jesus told his disciples they had food to give to others. Because Jesus lives within us, we can give others the living bread and, if need be, multiply food for others to eat. We are to focus on what we have, not on what we don’t have.
They replied, “All we have are these five small loaves of bread and two dried fish. Do you really expect us to go buy food for all these people? 14There are nearly five thousand men here, with women and children besides!” # 9:14 There were likely ten thousand people whom Jesus miraculously fed that day.
He told his disciples, “Have them all sit down in groups of fifty each.” # 9:14 There is an interesting correlation between seating the people in groups of fifty and the feast of Pentecost. Fifty was the number of days between Passover and Pentecost.
15-16After everyone was seated, Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, and gazing into the heavenly realm he gave thanks for the food. Then, in the presence of his disciples, he broke off pieces of bread and fish, and kept giving more to each disciple to give to the crowd. It was multiplying before their eyes! 17So everyone ate until they were filled, and afterward the disciples gathered up the leftovers—it came to exactly twelve baskets full!
Jesus Prophesies His Death and Resurrection
18One time, Jesus was praying in a quiet place with his disciples nearby. He went to them and asked, “Who do people think I am?”
19They answered, “Some are convinced you’re the prophet John who has returned. Others say you are Elijah, or perhaps one of the Jewish prophets brought back from the dead.”
20Jesus asked them, “But who do you believe that I am?”
Peter said, “You are the Anointed One, God’s Messiah!”
21Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell this to anyone yet, saying, 22“The Son of Man # 9:22 Or “the true Man.” is destined to experience great suffering and face complete rejection by the Jewish leaders and religious hierarchy. # 9:22 The Greek text is literally “the elders, chief priests, and scribes.” These three groups were represented in the religious hierarchy of the Sanhedrin, a council of seventy-one leaders. He will be killed and raised back to life on the third day.”
What it Means to Follow Jesus
23Jesus said to all of his followers, “If you truly desire to be my disciple, you must disown your life completely, embrace my ‘cross’ # 9:23 This could also mean being willing to suffer and die for Christ. as your own, and surrender to my ways. 24For if you choose self-sacrifice, giving up your lives for my glory, you will discover true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will lose what you try to keep. 25Even if you gained all the wealth and power of this world, and all the things it could offer you, yet lost your soul in the process, what good is that? 26So why then are you ashamed of being my disciple? Are you ashamed of the revelation-truth # 9:26 The Greek word is logos. I give to you?
“I, the Son of Man, will one day return in my radiant brightness, with the holy angels and in the splendor and majesty of my Father. On that day I will be ashamed of everyone who has been ashamed of me.
27“I promise you this: there are some of you standing here right now who will not die until you have witnessed the presence and the power of God’s kingdom realm.” # 9:27 Jesus prophesied of what was about to take place with Peter, Jacob (James), and John on the Mountain of Transforming Glory. This promise was fulfilled when they experienced the power of God’s kingdom realm and the cloud of glory.
The True Glory of Jesus
28Eight days later, Jesus took Peter, Jacob, and John and climbed a high mountain to pray. 29As he prayed, # 9:29 This verse is a clear statement of the power of prayer to transform us and release God’s glory in our life. It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of prayer in the life of a believer. Indeed, the present-day ministry of Jesus is to intercede for us on high (Heb. 7:25). his face began to glow until a blinding glory streamed from him. A radiant glory illuminated his entire body. His brightness # 9:29 The Greek text says, “The appearance of his face was altered.” The light shone through his clothing as his glorified body became brilliant with light. This is called Jesus’ transfiguration. became so intense that it made his clothing blinding white, as multiple flashes of lightning.
30-31All at once, two men appeared in glorious splendor: Moses and Elijah. # 9:30–31 Moses was the lawgiver, and Elijah was the notable and true prophet. Their appearance with Jesus on the Mountain of Transforming Glory points to the supremacy of Jesus over the Law and the prophets. See Luke 24:27. They spoke with Jesus about his soon departure # 9:30–31 The actual word in Greek is translated “exodus.” from this world and the things the Father destined him to accomplish # 9:30–31 What a word is accomplish! Jesus was about to die in Jerusalem. We don’t think of death as an accomplishment, but for Jesus, it was the marvelous accomplishment of salvation and victory for all who follow him. in Jerusalem.
32Peter and his companions had become very drowsy, but they became fully awake when they saw the glory and splendor of Jesus standing there and the two men with him.
33As Moses and Elijah were about to return to heaven, Peter impetuously blurted, “Master, this is amazing to see the three of you together! Why don’t we stay here and set up three shelters: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah?” # 9:33 Although Peter was not understanding the importance of this event, he did put Jesus first and left himself out altogether. Peter longed to remain in the glory he witnessed on the mountain.
34While Peter was still speaking, a radiant cloud of glory formed above them and overshadowed them. As the glory cloud enveloped them, they were struck with fear. 35Then the voice of God thundered from within the cloud, “This is my Son, my Beloved One. # 9:35 Several Greek manuscripts have “my Chosen One.” Listen carefully to all he has to say.” # 9:35 The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all mentioned in this account. The Father spoke, the Son was transfigured, and the Spirit (in the form of the glory cloud) overshadowed those on the mountain.
36When the thunderous voice faded away and the cloud disappeared, Jesus was standing there alone. Peter, Jacob, and John were awestruck. But they didn’t say a word to anyone about what they had seen.
The Power of Faith
37The next day, a massive crowd was waiting at the foot of the mountain to meet them. 38A man in the crowd shouted desperately, “Please, Teacher, I beg of you, do something about my son, my only son. 39An evil spirit possesses him and makes him scream out in torment, and hardly ever leaves him alone. It throws him into convulsions and he foams at the mouth. When it finally does leave him, he’s left with horrible bruises. 40I begged your disciples to drive it out of him, but they didn’t have enough power to do it.”
41Jesus responded, “You are an unbelieving people with no faith! You twist your lives with lies that have turned you away from doing the right things. How much longer should I remain here, offering you hope?” # 9:41 As translated from Aramaic text. Some translate this phrase “How long must I endure you?” However, the Aramaic root word for “endure” is sebar, which means “hope” or “good news.” Then he said to the man, “Bring your son to me.”
42As the boy approached, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into violent convulsions. Jesus sternly commanded the demon to come out of the boy, and it left immediately. Jesus healed the boy of his injuries and returned him to his father, saying, “Here is your son.”
43Everyone was awestruck and stunned to see such power and the majesty of God flow through Jesus. 44Everyone marveled, trying to process what they had just witnessed. Jesus then turned to his disciples and said, “Listen carefully and let these words sink into your hearts. The Son of Man is about to be betrayed and surrendered to the authority of men.”
45But the disciples could not grasp the meaning of what he was saying, for it was a veiled mystery to them, and they were too embarrassed to ask him to explain it.
46The disciples began to argue and became preoccupied over who would be the greatest one among them. 47Fully aware of their innermost thoughts, Jesus called a little child to his side and said to them, 48“If you tenderly care for this little child # 9:48 The little child is representative of unimportant people in general. Treating the least with care and respect makes us truly great. on my behalf, you are tenderly caring for me. And if you care for me, you are honoring my Father who sent me. The one who is least important in your eyes is actually the most important one of all.”
49The disciple John said, “Master, we found someone casting out demons using your name and we tried to stop him, because he doesn’t follow you as we do.”
50Jesus responded, “You shouldn’t have hindered him, for anyone who is not against you is your friend.” # 9:50 Jealousy blinds our hearts. Nine disciples combined could not cast out a demon spirit (v. 40), and they were jealous of this one who did.
Jesus’ Journey to Jerusalem
51Jesus let nothing distract him from departing for Jerusalem because the time for him to be lifted up # 9:51 “Lifted up” refers to the cross, where Jesus was lifted up on a tree to bear the sins of all humankind. His exaltation into glory was through the sacrifice of his life on Calvary’s cross. Nothing would turn him aside from being our Sin-Bearer and Redeemer. drew near, and he was full of passion to complete his mission there. 52So he sent messengers # 9:52 The most literal translation is “He sent angels before his face.” ahead of him as envoys to a village of the Samaritans. 53But as they approached the village, the people turned them away. They would not allow Jesus to enter, for he was on his way to worship in Jerusalem. # 9:53 The Samaritans had their own place of worship on Mount Gerizim, and they were hostile toward Jews, who wanted to worship in Jerusalem. There were many cultural, religious, and ethnic hostilities between Jews and Samaritans.
54When the disciples Jacob and John realized what was happening, they returned to Jesus and said, “Lord, if you wanted to, you could command fire to fall down from heaven, just as Elijah did # 9:54 This sentence is translated from the Aramaic. The earliest Greek manuscripts do not include “just like Elijah did.” Some Greek texts state that the disciples asked, “Do you want us to call down fire and destroy them?” and destroy all these wicked people.”
55Jesus rebuked them sharply, saying, “Don’t you realize what spews from your hearts when you say that? The Son of Man did not come to destroy life, but to bring life to the earth.” # 9:55 Translated from Aramaic and a few Greek manuscripts. This pericope reveals the mercy of Jesus. Although the Samaritans refused entry to Jesus and his disciples, in the next chapter Jesus uses an example of a good Samaritan who cared for a stranger. Jesus saw in the Samaritan outcasts a redemptive future (Luke 10:25–37). He knew the Father had the grace to change even the most stubborn individuals. An entire Samaritan village received Jesus through the witness of a woman (John 4:39–42), and later, as recorded in the book of Acts, the entire region of the Samaritans received the gospel (Acts 8:9–25). We can never give up on those who seem to be wayward.
56So they went to another village instead.
The Cost to Follow Jesus
57On their way, someone came up to Jesus and said, “I want to follow you wherever you go.”
58Jesus replied, “Yes, but remember this: even animals in the field have holes in the ground to sleep in, and birds have their nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay down his head.”
59Jesus then turned to another and said, “Come be my disciple.”
He replied, “Someday I will, Lord, but allow me first to fulfill my duty as a good son # 9:59 The text is literally “Allow me first to go and bury my father.” This is an idiom for waiting until his father passed away. He wanted an inheritance in this life as his security. and wait until my father passes away.”
60Jesus told him, “Don’t wait for your father’s burial. Let those who are already dead wait for death. As for you, go and proclaim everywhere that God’s kingdom has arrived.”
61Still another said to him, “Lord, I want to follow you too. But first let me go home and say good-bye to my entire family.”
62Jesus responded, “Why do you keep looking back to your past and have second thoughts about following me? If you turn back you are not fit for God’s kingdom.”