Crowds and solitude

Jesus and his disciples left the synagogue, together with James and John, and went to Simon and Andrew’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away, so he went to her bedside, took her by the hand, and helped her sit up. Then the fever left her, and she prepared a meal for them.

That evening, after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. The whole town gathered at the door to see what was going on. Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases, and he also cast out many demons, though he would not allow the demons to speak because they knew who he was.

Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. And when they did, they told him, “Everyone is looking for you.”

But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. For that is why I have come.” So he travelled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.

On one occasion, a man with leprosy came up to Jesus and knelt in front of him, begging to be healed. “If you are willing,” he said, “you can make me clean.”

Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.

Then Jesus sent him on his way, after giving the man a stern warning: “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required by the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

But instead the man went and told everyone what had happened to him. As a result, large crowds gathered around Jesus and prevented him from publicly entering a town anywhere. He was compelled to stay out in the lonely places, but people still kept coming to him from everywhere.


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