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Luke  ◦   Chapter 9

1Jesus called the Twelve together and empowered them to cure diseases, and gave them the authority to drive out all evil forces.2He sent them out to reveal God's kingdom of love, demonstrating how it works by healing the sick.3He told them, "Don't pack anything for this trip except a walking stick. Don't take food, extra clothes, or money.4Whatever home accepts you, stay there until you leave town.5If you are opposed, or people won't listen, then don't waste time getting upset or fighting to be heard; just shake the rejection like dust off your feet when you leave their town, and your gracious behavior will be a witness to them."6So they went from town to town, spread the good news of God's Remedy and demonstrated God's plan by healing people everywhere.

7When Herod the tetrarch heard about all that Jesus was doing, he became very distraught, because some people murmured that John had been raised from the dead,8while others said that Elijah had come, and still others thought one of God's old-time spokesmen had risen from the dead.9But Herod said, "It can't be John. I beheaded him, so who is this fellow I hear so much about?" And he tried to see Jesus.

10When the twelve interns returned from their mission trip, they reported to Jesus their experiences. Then he and the Twelve went on a private retreat in the town of Bethsaida,11but it didn't stay private for long. Soon the crowds found out where he was and flocked to him. He was gracious and made them welcome. He spoke to them about God's kingdom of love, and he demonstrated this kingdom by healing all who needed it.

12In late afternoon, the Twelve came to him and said, "You need to disperse the crowd so they have time to make it to the nearby towns and find food and lodging before everything closes, for we're in the middle of nowhere out here."

13Jesus smiled and said, "Don't send them away hungry; you feed them." Somewhat shocked, they said, "Are you serious? We have only five loaves of bread and two fish–we'd have to go and buy a lot more food to feed this crowd."14(About five thousand men, plus women and children, were there.) But Jesus reassured them and said, "Don't worry. Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each."15So the disciples did as Jesus instructed, and everyone sat down.16Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up toward heaven, he thanked his Father and broke them, then he gave the pieces to his interns to pass out to the people.17The entire crowd ate until all had their fill, and the interns collected twelve basketfuls of leftovers.

18When Jesus was again alone with his interns, he asked them, "Who do the people say that I am?"

19"Some say you are John the Baptist," they told him, "others say you are Elijah who went to heaven in a chariot of fire. Still others say you are one of God's old-time spokesmen who has risen from the dead."

20"What do you think? Who do you say I am?" Jesus asked them. Peter immediately blurted out, "The Messiah — the Savior of all humanity — sent from God."

21Jesus gave them strict warning not to tell this to anyone else at this time.22Then he told them what would transpire: "The Son of Man must bear the hostility, abuse, mistreatment and rejection of the church leaders, elders, chief priests and theologians who teach a legal religion, and then be killed; and on the third day–arise back to life."

23Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone wants to follow me into unity with my Father, they must surrender their life, willingly choose to die to selfishness, and follow me in love.24Whoever follows the survival-of-the-fittest instinct and seeks to save their life will lose it, because the infection of selfishness will not be eliminated; but whoever loses their life in love for me will find eternal life, for they will have been restored back to God's design for life–to selfless, other-centered love.25What good does it do to selfishly hoard all the treasures of the world only to die eternally, consumed by selfishness?26If anyone is ashamed of me and my methods of truth and love, the Son of Man will feel a shame — a real shame — that they are not healed and able to live in his presence when he comes with his holy angels, in his unveiled splendor and in the fullness of his Father’s glory.27I tell you the plain truth, some of you right here will not sleep in death before you see the Son of Man glorified in his kingdom of love."

28Eight days later, Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and went up on a mountain to talk with his heavenly Father.29As he was talking with his Father, his face began radiating light, and his clothes became brighter, shining like lightening.30Out of nowhere, Moses and Elijah,31appeared with him physically, also in brilliant fiery light, like the sun, and they talked with Jesus. They spoke about the completion of his mission to procure the Remedy, which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.32Peter, James and John were very sleepy, but when fully alert, they saw the splendor, the brilliant light, and the two men standing with Jesus.33As Moses and Elijah were leaving, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, this is awesome, and we are so thankful to be here. If you like, we can put up three shrines: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." (He was rambling nonsense because he was so overwhelmed that he didn't know what else to say.)

34While Peter was still talking, a brilliant cloud appeared and settled over them, and they were awed as the cloud covered them.35A voice came from the cloud that said, "This is my Son; I have chosen Him to fulfill my purpose, so listen to him."36After the voice had spoken, they found themselves alone with Jesus. Peter, James and John didn't talk about this, and didn't tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

37The next morning, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for Jesus.38A man in the crowd shouted, "Doctor, please have mercy, I beg you! Please look at my son. He is my only child.39Some evil force seizes him and he will scream, fall down convulsing, and foam at the mouth. It comes on him almost constantly and is killing him.40I begged your interns to heal him, but they couldn't."

41With disappointment, Jesus said, "What a confused and superstitious people you are. How long will I need to be with you before you understand? Bring your son to me."

42As the boy approached Jesus, the evil agency caused the boy to have a seizure and he convulsed on the ground; but Jesus ordered the evil force to leave, healed the boy, and restored him back to his father.43And everyone was in awe of the magnificence and greatness of God. As the crowd was in wonder over all that Jesus did, he pulled his disciples aside and said,44"Listen closely, as this is important: I, the Son of Man, am going to be betrayed into the hands of human beings." 45But they didn't understand what he was trying to tell them. Their expectations prevented them from realizing what he meant, and they feared the answer if they asked him, so they didn't ask.

46Then the interns started arguing over which of them would be the greatest.

47Jesus knew they were struggling with the infection of selfishness and were arguing over who would be the greatest, so he had a small child stand next to him.48Then he looked at his interns and said, "Any person who opens their heart and receives those with childlike trust as I would — with love and affection — practicing my methods, also opens their heart to receive me; and whoever opens their hearts to receive me, not only receives me but also the One who sent me. It is the one who has the least amount of selfishness who is the greatest."

49John tried to change the subject: "Master, we saw a man driving out evil beings using your name, and we told him to stop, because he isn't one of us."

50Jesus corrected him, "No, don't stop him, for there are only two sides: love and selfishness; and anyone who is not selfishly against you, is on your side of love."

51As the time drew near for Jesus to return to heaven, he, with resolve, set out for Jerusalem.52He sent envoys into a Samaritan town to prepare for him,53but the people there were not happy about it because he was on his way to Jerusalem.54When his interns James and John saw that the people grumbled, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven and destroy them?"55But Jesus corrected their misunderstanding of his methods and said, "You don’t yet realize the depth of the infection of fear and selfishness in your hearts: 56The Son of Man did not come to destroy human beings, but he came to heal and save them." And they moved on to another village.

57As they were traveling down the road, a man said to Jesus, "I want to be one of your interns, to learn from you and go wherever you go."

58Jesus told him, "I don't have the comforts of a fox's den or a bird's nest. If you come with me, it will be rough. We often sleep on the ground, and I don't even have a pillow for my head."

59Jesus invited another man, "Join me." But the man replied, "Lord, I must first go and bury my father."

60Jesus told him, "Now is the time to spread God's Remedy; let the dead bury the dead."

61Still another person said, "Lord, I will join you as soon as I get back from saying good-bye to my family."

62Jesus said, "No one who puts their hand to sowing seeds of truth — yet has their heart longing for the world — is capable of sharing the Remedy from the kingdom of God."