1 Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown.
2 The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They asked, "Where did he get all his wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?
3 He's just the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joseph,* Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us." They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.1
4 Then Jesus told them, "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family."
5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn't do any mighty miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
6 And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then Jesus went out from village to village, teaching.
7 And he called his twelve disciples together and sent them out two by two, with authority to cast out evil spirits.
8 He told them to take nothing with them except a walking stick--no food, no traveler's bag, no money.
9 He told them to wear sandals but not to take even an extra coat.
10 "When you enter each village, be a guest in only one home," he said.
11 "And if a village won't welcome you or listen to you, shake off its dust from your feet as you leave. It is a sign that you have abandoned that village to its fate."
12 So the disciples went out, telling all they met to turn from their sins.
13 And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.
14 Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because people everywhere were talking about him. Some were saying,* "This must be John the Baptist come back to life again. That is why he can do such miracles."2
15 Others thought Jesus was the ancient prophet Elijah. Still others thought he was a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.
16 When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, "John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead."
17 For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip's wife, but Herod had married her.
18 John kept telling Herod, "It is illegal for you to marry your brother's wife."
19 Herodias was enraged and wanted John killed in revenge, but without Herod's approval she was powerless.
20 And Herod respected John, knowing that he was a good and holy man, so he kept him under his protection. Herod was disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.
21 Herodias's chance finally came. It was Herod's birthday, and he gave a party for his palace aides, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee.
22 MDNM�"Ask me for anything you like," the king said to the girl, "and I will give it to you."3
23 Then his daughter, also named Herodias,* came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased them all. �Then he promised, "I will give you whatever you ask, up to half of my kingdom!"
24 She went out and asked her mother, "What should I ask for?" Her mother told her, "Ask for John the Baptist's head!"
25 So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, "I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!"
26 Then the king was very sorry, but he was embarrassed to break his oath in front of his guests.
27 So he sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John's head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison,
28 brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother.
29 When John's disciples heard what had happened, they came for his body and buried it in a tomb.
30 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and what they had taught.
31 Then Jesus said, "Let's get away from the crowds for a while and rest." There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn't even have time to eat.