5. Jesus tells people the good news and cures people in *Galilee

Jesus tells people the good news and cures people in *Galilee

Part 5 of an EasyEnglish Bible Study Course on the Life of Christ


A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

Jesus appoints the 12 apostles

Luke 6:12-15

Men with a special work for God

Barrie Wetherill

Jesus taught people. He cured people who were ill, often in a wonderful way. He also chose some people to help him. There is a limit to how much one man can do. And Jesus had become a man. He could not do everything by himself. He appointed 12 disciples to do a special work for God. (A disciple is a person who believes in Jesus and obeys him.) He called these 12 men *apostles. The word *apostle means: a person whom God sends with a message. Of course, God sends all Christians to take his message. But these 12 men were special, because they had been with Jesus. Jesus often taught them by themselves. Later he sent them to work for him. So, Jesus prepared them for their future work. Because of these men, the history of the world changed.


Jesus' prayers

Before Jesus appointed the *apostles, he prayed all night. This is very important. Luke tells us that Jesus often went to a quiet place to pray, (Luke 5:16, and 9:18). Jesus was always very busy. Often crowds of people were with him. But still Jesus spent time in prayer. After Jesus had fed 5000 people, he sent the crowd away. He went up a mountain alone to pray (Matthew 14:23). Mark writes about a time when Jesus woke very early in the morning. It was still dark. He went to a quiet place to pray. Jesus prayed much before his *crucifixion (Matthew 26:36-44).

The prayer of Jesus was special. The letter to the Hebrews says this. When Jesus lived on earth, he prayed 'with loud cries and tears’ (Hebrews 5:6). And his prayers had great power. It does not surprise us that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1).

Certainly, before this important decision, Jesus prayed – all night.

The *apostles leave their jobs to be with Jesus

The *apostles could not have known what was going to happen. As we have learned, they had wrong ideas about the *Messiah’s *kingdom. But Jesus asked them to be with him and they obeyed. They trusted him. He taught them and he prepared them for their work. They were working men. There were men who caught fish. One man collected taxes. We do not know the other men's jobs. They left their other work to go with Jesus. They obeyed him and they went with him.

The *apostles' message

Soon, Jesus sent them to the villages (Luke 9:1-6). He gave them authority to do their special work for God. This was the *apostles' message: people should be sorry for the wrong things that they had done (Mark 6:12). And then, people should trust God. The *apostles also cured people, with the authority of Jesus.

Jesus gives life to a dead man Luke 7:11-17

One of the towns that Jesus went to was Nain. Nain was on the slopes of Hermon Mountain, which was 25 miles from Capernaum. [Capernaum was the town where Jesus often stayed.]

Many *disciples were with Jesus and a large crowd of other people. Soon, Jesus would say some very difficult things to these crowds and many people would leave him. Jesus did not make it easy for people to be with him. But at Nain, there was still a large crowd of people with him. They wanted to hear more of his words. They also wanted to see more *miracles.

The funeral procession

At the gate of Nain, they met the procession for a funeral. A young man had died. He was the only son of a widow. People were carrying his body out to bury him. Perhaps his friends would put his body in a cave among the rocks.

Jesus looked at the young man’s mother and was very sorry for her. Nobody asked him to do anything for her. Probably nobody thought that anyone could help her. Her son was dead. Jesus went straight to the bier. [A bier is a long piece of wood that men use to carry a dead body.] Jesus touched the bier, and spoke to the young man.

'Young man, I order you to get up’, Jesus said. Immediately the young man got up and began to speak.

A great *miracle

This *miracle must have surprised everyone very much. No dead person had become alive again since the time of Elisha, 900 years before (2 Kings 4:34, 35). But Jesus was able to do this *miracle. And he did not even say a prayer! Jesus realised that the people were very sad about the young man’s death. He had great sympathy and immediately he did something. His words were few and his touch was gentle.

Jesus was very calm. He knew that he could help. He showed everybody who he really was. People knew that the power of God was there. They began to praise God.

A Jewish teacher would not normally touch a bier. [That is, the long piece of wood that men use to carry a dead body.] People thought that such an action caused a holy man to become unholy. The opposite thing happened here. The life in Christ passed to the dead man! Perhaps many of us need Jesus to touch us like that!

Jesus on Lake *Galilee Luke 8:22-25

On another day, Jesus got into a boat at Capernaum to sail across the lake. Sudden storms happen on this lake. While Jesus and his friends were in the boat, a storm began. There was rain and a strong wind. The boat was in danger. The friends of Jesus thought that the boat might sink. At this time, Jesus was asleep. He had been teaching the people. So probably, he was very tired.

Jesus causes a storm to stop

The *disciples woke Jesus. He stood up and told the storm to stop. Immediately the waves and the wind were calm. This was wonderful.

This event astonished the *disciples very much. They asked themselves who Jesus was. Even the wind and the waves obeyed him.

Jesus was both God and man

This event shows us that Jesus was both God and man. He had the nature of God and also the nature of man. As a man, he was very tired. So, he slept. But he had total power even over the wind and the waves.

Fear of the storm

Jesus spoke to the *disciples about their fear of the storm. He had chosen them to be with him. They were to work for God. God would guide and help them. People would oppose them in a way that would be worse than the storm. They would need to trust God. He would lead and protect them for his purposes. If they trusted him, they were safe. Nobody can stop God’s purposes.

Jesus visits Gadara Luke 8:26-39

Jesus had travelled with his *disciples across Lake *Galilee.

The wild man in Gadara

On the other side of the lake, a wild man met Jesus. Nobody could control this man, because *demons controlled him. For many years, he had lived naked among graves. People put chains on him, but he broke them quickly. Jesus ordered the *demons to leave.

Soon the man had clothes on, and was quiet.

There were some pigs near there. So, when Jesus freed the man, the *demons wanted to go into the pigs. Jesus permitted the *demons to do this. Immediately, the pigs ran into the lake. (Jews consider pigs to be unclean animals. So, Jews think that God does not want them to keep pigs. They will not eat meat from pigs.) But the people in the town preferred their pigs to Jesus. They asked Jesus to leave that place. So Jesus had to cross the lake twice. He went through a storm to help one person, that is, the wild man of Gadara.

Tell everybody what God has done!

The man wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus refused. Jesus told the man to go home. Jesus asked the man to tell everybody what God had done for him. The man did this very well, because Jesus went back there later. Then everybody gave him a good welcome. When we read about what Jesus did here, we see his total power. He had power even over *demons.

Jairus’s daughter Luke 8:40-56

The boat returned to Capernaum. An enormous crowd waited there for Jesus. They crowded round him so much that it was dangerous. Jairus was a leader of the *Synagogue there. He asked Jesus to come to his home. His daughter, who was 12 years old, was very ill. Jairus wanted Jesus to cure her. There was such a big crowd that they could not walk quickly to the house.


Then something happened that stopped them. A woman was there. She had been ill for a very long time. She wanted to touch Jesus’ clothes. She believed that this would cure her illness. She managed to get near Jesus. Then, she touched him. God rewarded her trust and cured her. Jesus immediately knew about it. He asked who had touched him. The *disciples were very surprised by his question. There was a great crowd of people all round him. But this woman came and spoke to Jesus. Jesus praised her for her belief. He told her that she could leave. God had cured her.

While Jesus was speaking to the woman, Jairus received some terrible news. His daughter was dead. Jesus then said to Jairus:

When Jesus arrived at the house, many people were there. It was a Jewish tradition that many people visited the family after a death. They cried out loudly. Jesus told them that the girl was merely asleep. They laughed at him.

Jesus allowed only Peter, John and James to enter the house with him. Jesus also allowed the girl’s parents to join them. Jesus took the girl by the hand and spoke to her. He said, 'My child, get up!’ At once, the girl stood up. Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone about this *miracle. However, everybody heard about it.

The *Pharisees oppose Jesus Matthew 12

People now knew that Jesus was a great teacher. He could also do *miracles. You might think that he would be very popular. He was not. Many people opposed him, in particular the leaders of the religion. Also, some people followed Jesus did not trust him completely. Jesus said some very difficult things. People sometimes did not want to understand his words.

In Matthew 12 we read about a series of events with *Pharisees. This shows us how much some *Pharisees opposed Jesus.

Law and tradition

The *Pharisees were careful students of the Jewish law. They always wanted to obey the law. Perhaps they remembered what God had done, years before. He had punished people who did not obey the law. He allowed their enemies to defeat them. So the *Pharisees wanted to obey the agreement that God had made with his people. They would even die for the law. They trusted God to bring them to the *resurrection. Their religion was really about behaviour. Their law had hundreds of rules about the way to live. The rules were very strict.

For example, the *Pharisees were very strict about the way to live on the Sabbath. [The Sabbath was Saturday, that is, the 7th day of the week. When God made the world, he rested on the Sabbath.] God gave commands to Moses, which we call the Commandments. The 4th commandment says that people should not work on the Sabbath day, (Exodus 20:8-11). The *Pharisees wanted to be very sure to obey this commandment. They made a list of 39 kinds of work that people must not do on the Sabbath. People could not even prepare food on the Sabbath!

They called such rules 'the traditions of the *elders'. They wrote these rules down very carefully. The rules sometimes became more important than God's law itself. As a result, they often did not understand what the Bible really said. In Matthew 15:1-20, Jesus showed that, because of their traditions, the *Pharisees were often not obeying the Bible. Jesus called these *Pharisees 'blind guides’ (Matthew 23:16). This meant that these *Pharisees were like guides. They told people how to live. But these *Pharisees were also like blind men, who did not know the correct route for a journey. So, the Pharisees were themselves doing the wrong things. And they were also teaching other people to do wrong things.

Discussions with the *Pharisees

In Matthew 12 we read about some discussions with the *Pharisees.

Luke 8:50 “Do not be afraid. Believe; only believe. She will be well.”


One Sabbath day, the *disciples were walking through the fields. They took some of the grain and cleaned it by hand. Then they ate it. The *disciples were often poor and hungry. They had left their jobs to be with Jesus. Matthew tells us that they were hungry on this day. The *Pharisees had seen them. They protested that Jesus had allowed his *disciples to work on the Sabbath day. They said that to pick the grain was to harvest it. If a man cleaned the grain by hand, he was preparing it for food. They said that both these actions were work. The *Pharisees were very jealous of Jesus. They argued with him many times about the law of the Jews.

The law allowed what the *disciples did that day. It allowed people to pick some grain as they passed through a field. It did not allow people to harvest the grain.

The disciples had done nothing that was wrong. They had obeyed God’s law. When Jesus replied to the *Pharisees, he said some very important things.

What Jesus said about God's law

When a person needs something very much, God's love might be more important than his law.

Jesus reminded the *Pharisees about David. David and the men who were with him were once very hungry. They went to the priest in the Tabernacle. [The Tabernacle was a special tent where the Jews came to *worship God.]. David and his men were very hungry. God had chosen David to be the next king. The *priest had no food there except the 'bread of the presence'. [This bread was a gift for God.] Only a priest should eat this bread. But the priest gave this bread to David and his men. It was not wrong for them to eat it. They did not obey the law about this bread. But God loved David. And God understood that David needed food.

There are exceptions

Jesus also said that priests work hard on the Sabbath day. In fact, it is one of their busiest days. Nobody says that they are wrong. There is a different law for their work on the Sabbath day. We could call it a better law.

Jesus reminded them what Hosea wrote

Hosea was a *prophet who spoke about God’s great love for his people. Even when they did not obey God, God loved them. Jesus spoke some words from Hosea 6:6. 'I do not desire special gifts from you. I want you to forgive one another and to love one another.’ The rules of the *Pharisees were difficult and strict. They did not realise that God wants to forgive us. God wants us to love, and not to live by strict rules.

In another discussion, Jesus said that there were two principles in the law. This is what he said:

[By the Law, Jesus meant the laws
that God gave to Moses.] Jesus chose these words from the *Old Testament: Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18.

In Matthew chapters 5-7, Jesus explained these things further. The law is there to help us. It should help us to love God and other people.

Deuteronomy 23:25 If you enter your neighbour’s field of corn, you may pick some with your hands. You must not cut his corn with a knife.

Matthew 22:37-40 'Love the Lord your God:

with all your heart and with all your *soul and with all your mind.’

This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like it: 'Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ This is what the Law and the *Prophets really mean.


Jesus cures a man on the Sabbath day Matthew 12:9-14

[The Sabbath was Saturday, that is, the 7th day of the week. When God made the world, he rested on the Sabbath. And God's law says that we should not work on the Sabbath.]

Jesus went into a *synagogue. Some *Pharisees were with him. They wanted to see what he would do. They hoped that they could accuse him. There was a man there with a hand that he could not use. Some writers have guessed that he was a stonemason. [A stonemason cuts and shapes stones for building. He needs to be able to use both hands.] This man could not work. He had to ask other people for money. Jesus felt love and sympathy for the man. But these *Pharisees did not care about the man. They believed that to cure someone was 'work’. The *Pharisees thought they would be able to accuse Jesus now. Jesus knew their thoughts. So, he spoke to them.

Matthew 12:11 He said to them, “Let us suppose that one of you has a sheep. The sheep falls into a deep hole in the ground on the Sabbath day. You would rescue that sheep. A man is much more important than a sheep! So, it is right to do something good on the Sabbath day.”

Jesus then told the man to stand in front of everyone. He told him to lift his hand. When the man did this, his hand was immediately healthy. It was just like his other hand.

A cruel plot against Jesus

But this *miracle did not make the *Pharisees think again about their rules. They did not think that they were wrong. They went away to plot to kill Jesus.

Mark 3:6 says that the *Pharisees plotted with the 'Herodians’. The Herodians were a political party. They were cruel men. They had no religion and they did not love God's law. They supported king Herod, whom most people hated. They thought that Jesus was a danger to them. He was too popular. They decided that they wanted to kill him.

Many *Pharisees were jealous of Jesus

This shows the differences between the *Pharisees and Jesus. Many *Pharisees were jealous of Jesus. They even wanted to murder him. They did not want to love or to forgive. Jesus cared very much about people’s private thoughts and the reasons for their behaviour. He cared about love. He helped poor people. He helped evil people who wanted to change. He offered to forgive them. He said that they could live in a new way. Mark 2:27 records that Jesus also said, 'God made the Sabbath for man, not man for the Sabbath.’ The Sabbath day is a day of happiness. On the Sabbath, people should praise God. And on the Sabbath, people should be kind to other people. The ideas of Jesus contrasted very much with the ideas of the *Pharisees. The people had respected the *Pharisees, and this gave the *Pharisees power. But now Jesus was taking away their power with the people. Because of this, there would be more trouble.

Herod and John the Baptist

Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9

The family of Herod

King Herod Antipas heard about Jesus. The family of Herod were not really Jews. They came from Edom. Other people had forced them to become Jews in the centuries just before Christ. The family of Herod was an important family in Edom. And, they were clever at politics. They became friends with the Romans and married people from the Jewish royal family. When the Romans ruled Israel, they chose 'Herod the Great’ to be king. Herod was a son of this family from Edom.


Why Herod arrested John the Baptist

Two of Herod’s sons were Herod Philip and Herod Antipas. Herod Philip married a woman called Herodias. When Herod Antipas visited his brother, he wanted Herodias for a wife for himself. So Herod Antipas divorced his own wife, and married Herodias. She, of course, had to divorce Herod Philip first. The Jewish law does not permit such behaviour (Leviticus 18:16 and 20:21). John the Baptist said this was wrong. When he did this, he made Herodias very angry. So Herod Antipas ordered John's arrest.

Why Herod murdered John the Baptist

On one occasion when the king had a party, Herodias’ daughter danced for his guests. The king was very pleased with her. He foolishly promised to give her anything that she asked for. The girl asked her mother what to say to the king. Her mother told her to ask Herod to kill John the Baptist. The king did not know what to do. He could have given two sensible answers to her:

I promised to give you a gift. I did not promise to do a crime.

I was wrong when I made this promise. I cancel it.

However, Herod considered that the good opinion of his guests was more important than his duty to obey God. This was Herod's greatest error. Herod thought that the opinions of people were more important than the words of God. So, Herod ordered John's death.

These were the results of Herod's evil deeds:

He murdered John the Baptist. John had been a loyal servant of God. He prepared people for Jesus.

Herod's conscience was not right. Herod felt guilty. His actions were terrible. He made the Jewish people very angry. He made the father of his first wife very angry. This man then attacked Herod’s army.

Afterwards, the Romans sent Herod away for the rest of his life, together with Herodias.

Herod had listened to John the Baptist. But Herod did not obey.

In fact Herod thought well of John. Mark 6:20 says that Herod liked to listen to John! People had often seen Herod as he listened to John. John always said what God had told him to say. But it is not enough only to listen to God’s word. It does us no good, if we do not OBEY. Herod refused to be sorry for the wrong things that he had done.

The Bible records that other men have also done this. They have listened to some very powerful speaker who has spoken God’s words. But they have not changed. Acts 24:26 tells us that the Roman governor Felix liked to listen to Paul. He sent for him often. But it did not change his attitudes or his behaviour. When his time to govern was over, he left Paul in prison.

People must *repent Matthew 11:20-30, Luke 10:13-15

Jesus did many wonderful *miracles. But many people did not learn anything when they saw the *miracles. These people were not sorry for the wrong things that they had done. They did not ask God to forgive them. The people in the area of Capernaum heard Jesus speak to them. They had not changed the way that they lived. Jesus was angry and he blamed them for this.

The towns called Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum

In this passage, Jesus spoke about these towns as if they were people. He blamed the people from these towns for their weak reaction to his message:


Matthew 11:20-24 Then Jesus began to accuse the people who lived in these cities. He had done most of his *miracles there, but the people did not *repent. “This is not good for you, Chorazin! This is not good for you, Bethsaida! You have seen many *miracles. If such miracles happened in the cities of Tyre and Sidon, their people would have *repented. They would have shown how sorry they were. But I tell you that a day of *judgement is coming. Then it will be better for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, what will happen to you? Will God be pleased with you? Will he bless you? No, not at all. If Sodom had seen *miracles like these, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be better for Sodom on the day of *judgement than for you.”

The people in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had seen what Christ did. They had heard what he taught them. Many people before that did not have such an opportunity.

Do not waste your opportunity to trust God

There is an important principle in the Bible. God expects people to use their opportunities wisely. The people in Capernaum had a great opportunity to trust God, because Jesus was there. But they wasted their opportunity.

Many *prophets said that Tyre and Sidon were proud. They were too fond of money and very cruel (Ezekiel 26-28, and Isaiah 23). Amos spoke against the people of Tyre. They had attacked the Israelites when they were weak. Then they sold the Israelites as slaves to their worst enemies, who were the people in Edom (Amos 1:9, 10).

In the same way Jesus compared Capernaum to Sodom and Gomorrah. The people in Sodom and Gomorrah were so wicked that God destroyed the whole area with fire. The Bible always refers to them as places which God has punished. Very evil things happened in these places. Jesus said that at the day of *judgement, everyone will know this. But it will be better even for people from Sodom and Gomorrah than for people from Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum.

God wants to forgive

Many people hear the good news about Jesus. And they can read God’s word (the Bible) for themselves. These people are responsible for the effect that they let this have on their lives. God offers to forgive those who *repent. We must all listen carefully to this! God loves us and wants to forgive us. He invites us to live with Christ as our friend and helper. So, we must *repent and we must trust God.

Jesus’ appeal It is easy to serve Jesus

After Jesus warned the people of Capernaum, he made an appeal to everyone to trust him completely.

Luke tells us when Jesus spoke these words. He had sent his *disciples to the villages. They were to *preach and to cure people. When they came back to him, they were very happy. They had been able to do wonderful things on behalf of Jesus. This is when Jesus spoke these words. He offers rest to all who are tired and anxious. The *Pharisees tried to make people live by many rules. This could make people worry and feel anxious. Or people might know that there was *sin in their lives. [That is, they did not do what God wants.] People often realised this when they were with Jesus. This could also make them tired and anxious. Jesus offers new hope to everyone who feels like this. All that they have to do is to trust him. It is also clear that they must feel sorry for their *sin. Jesus offers rest to everyone like this. He helps them not to be anxious. He also says that it is easy to serve him.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are tired and anxious. I will give you rest. Listen to my words and believe me. I am gentle and humble. I will help you to be at rest in your mind and in your *soul. I do not make life hard for you. It is easy to serve me.”


Jesus gives the *Holy Spirit to help us

Elsewhere, Jesus spoke again about this appeal. At a *feast in Jerusalem he said this.

Jesus came to bring good news from God to men and women. The *Holy Spirit comes to us and changes us. He helps us to please God in our lives. Many people accepted what Jesus offered to them. The man at Gadara, who had *demons and the woman at the well both accepted his offer. But there were also many people who did not – like some *Pharisees.

Reactions to Jesus

Jesus came to help people who needed him. They knew that they had *sin in their lives. They wanted God to forgive them. They wanted God to give them power for a new life. Jesus came to die for people like that. His death paid the price so that God would forgive their *sin. Now God could send the *Holy Spirit to continue his work in us. The people did not completely understand these statements of Jesus until after his *resurrection. There were also other statements by Jesus that the *disciples understood only after the *resurrection.

In this section we have seen different reactions to Jesus. This is still what happens when people hear about Jesus today. Each of us must examine our own reaction to Jesus' message. May God grant that all of us here may really trust Him.

Read: Luke 8-10 Bible study: Parable of the sower, Luke 8:4-10, Matthew 13:1-9, and Matthew 13:18-23.

Word List

apostle ~ one of the 12 men Jesus chose to help him. He chose them to teach other people about him. Christians also call Paul an apostle.

crucifixion ~ a cruel way to kill someone. Men make a large wooden cross and fasten a man to it with nails. He must hang there until he dies.

demon ~ an evil *spirit. Demons are alive, but you cannot see them. disciple ~ a person who believes in Jesus and obeys him. elder ~ a leader, who is usually an older and wiser man. feast ~ a special holy day, when people are very happy

Galilee ~ the part of the country called Israel, where Jesus grew up. Or, a large lake in this area.

heaven ~ where God lives and rules

Holy Spirit ~ God’s Spirit, whom Jesus sent to help people.

judgement ~ the decision about whether something or someone is good or bad. At the final judgement, God will be the judge of everyone.

kingdom ~ land where a king rules. The kingdom of God is the kingdom where God rules

Messiah ~ Messiah means the same as Christ. That is, the one whom God chose as *Israel's special king. God forgives us because Jesus, our Messiah, suffered the punishment for our evil deeds.

miracle ~ a wonderful event that shows that God is at work. Old Testament ~ the part of the Bible that tells about the time before Jesus came.

John 7:37-39 On the last and greatest day of the *Feast, Jesus stood. He said loudly, 'If anyone needs to drink, let him come to me. Whoever believes in me will be like a stream of living water. This is what the Bible says.' By these words, Jesus meant the *Holy Spirit. Later, those who believed in Jesus received the *Holy Spirit. Until that time God had not sent the *Holy Spirit. The *Holy Spirit came after Jesus returned to *heaven.


Pharisees ~ a group of Jews who thought that they kept all of God’s commands. Many Pharisees did not like what Jesus said. They thought that they were always right and they became very proud.

preach ~ tell and explain the good news about Jesus to someone, or t
a group of people. priest ~ a