Jesus called his twelve followers together. He gave them power over evil spirits and power to heal every kind of disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles:
Simon (also called Peter),
Andrew, the brother of Peter,
James, the son of Zebedee,
John, the brother of James,
Matthew, the tax collector,
James, the son of Alphaeus,
Simon, the Zealot,
Judas Iscariot (the one who handed Jesus over to his enemies).
Jesus sent the twelve men out with these instructions: “Don’t go to the non-Jewish people. And don’t go into any town where the Samaritans live. But go to the people of Israel. They are like sheep that are lost. When you go, tell them this: ‘God’s kingdom is now very near.’ Heal the sick. Bring the dead back to life. Heal the people who have leprosy. And force demons out of people. I give you these powers freely, so help others freely. Don’t carry any money with you—gold or silver or copper. Don’t carry a bag. Take only the clothes and sandals you are wearing. And don’t take a walking stick. A worker should be given what he needs.
“When you enter a city or town, find some worthy person there and stay in his home until you leave. When you enter that home, say, ‘Peace be with you.’ If the people in that home welcome you, they are worthy of your peace. May they have the peace you wished for them. But if they don’t welcome you, they are not worthy of your peace. Take back the peace you wished for them. And if the people in a home or a town refuse to welcome you or listen to you, then leave that place and shake the dust off your feet. I can assure you that on the judgment day it will be worse for that town than for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Listen! I am sending you, and you will be like sheep among wolves. So be smart like snakes. But also be like doves and don’t hurt anyone. Be careful! There are people who will arrest you and take you to be judged. They will whip you in their synagogues. You will be taken to stand before governors and kings. People will do this to you because you follow me. You will tell about me to those kings and governors and to the non-Jewish people. When you are arrested, don’t worry about what to say or how you should say it. At that time you will be given the words to say. It will not really be you speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking through you.
“Brothers will turn against their own brothers and hand them over to be killed. Fathers will hand over their own children to be killed. Children will fight against their own parents and will have them killed. Everyone will hate you because you follow me. But the one who remains faithful to the end will be saved. When you are treated badly in one city, go to another city. I promise you that you will not finish going to all the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes again.
“Students are not better than their teacher. Servants are not better than their master. Students should be happy to be treated the same as their teacher. And servants should be happy to be treated the same as their master. If those people call me ‘the ruler of demons,’ and I am the head of the family, then it is even more certain that they will insult you, the members of the family!
“So don’t be afraid of those people. Everything that is hidden will be shown. Everything that is secret will be made known. I tell you all this secretly, but I want you to tell it publicly. Whatever I tell you privately, you should shout for everyone to hear.
“Don’t be afraid of people. They can kill the body, but they cannot kill the soul. The only one you should fear is God, the one who can send the body and the soul to be destroyed in hell. When birds are sold, two small birds cost only a penny. But not even one of those little birds can die without your Father knowing it. God even knows how many hairs are on your head. So don’t be afraid. You are worth more than a whole flock of birds.
“If you stand before others and are willing to say you believe in me, then I will tell my Father in heaven that you belong to me. But if you stand before others and say you do not believe in me, then I will tell my Father in heaven that you do not belong to me.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace. I came to bring trouble. I have come to make this happen:
‘A son will turn against his father.
A daughter will turn against her mother.
A daughter-in-law will turn against her mother-in-law.
Even members of your own family will be your enemies.’
“Those who love their father or mother more than they love me are not worthy of me. And those who love their son or daughter more than they love me are not worthy of me. Those who will not accept the cross that is given to them when they follow me are not worthy of me. Those who try to keep the life they have will lose it. But those who give up their life for me will find true life.
“Whoever accepts you also accepts me. And whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me. Whoever accepts a prophet because he is a prophet will get the same reward a prophet gets. And whoever accepts a godly person just because that person is godly will get the same reward a godly person gets. Whoever helps any of these little ones because they are my followers will definitely get a reward, even if they only give them a cup of cold water.”