1 One day, as Jesus was standing beside the Sea of Galilee, people crowded around him to hear the word of God. 2 Jesus noticed two boats lying on the shore, left there by fishermen who were washing their nets. 3 Jesus got into a boat, the one that belonged to Simon, and asked him to push it out into the water, just offshore. Then Jesus sat down in the boat and taught the people from there.
4 After he'd finished speaking, he told Simon, “Go out into deeper water, and let down your nets for a catch.”
5 “Lord, we worked hard all night, and didn't catch anything. But if you say so, I'll let down the nets,” Simon replied.
6 Having done this, a large shoal of fish filled the nets full to breaking point. 7 They waved to their partners in the other boat, asking them to come over and help. The others came over and together they filled both of the boats with fish. The boats were so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw what had happened, he dropped to his knees before Jesus. “Lord, please stay away from me, for I am a sinful man!” he exclaimed. 9 For he and everybody with him were completely amazed by the catch of fish that they had landed. 10 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners, felt the same way.
“Don't be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you'll be fishing for people!” 11 So they dragged the boats onto the shore, left everything, and followed Jesus.
12 Once when Jesus was visiting one of the towns, he met a man there who had a very bad case of leprosy. The man fell with his face to the ground and begged Jesus, “Please Lord, if you're willing, you can make me clean.”* “Clean.” Of course, what the man was looking for was healing from his leprosy, however his leprosy made him ceremonially unclean. So “clean” not only healed his disease but also made him socially acceptable.
13 Jesus reached out and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy disappeared.
14 “Say nothing to anyone,” Jesus instructed him. “Go and show yourself to the priest and make the ceremonial offerings as required by the law of Moses as proof that you've been healed.”† See Leviticus 14:1-32.
15 Yet the news about Jesus spread more and more. Large crowds came to hear Jesus and to be healed from their diseases. 16 But Jesus often used to retreat to quiet places and pray.
17 One day when Jesus was teaching, the Pharisees and religious teachers who had come from all over Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem were sitting there. The power of the Lord to heal was with him so he could heal. 18 Some men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They tried to take him in and lay him in front of Jesus. 19 But they couldn't find any way through the crowd, so they went up on the roof and made a hole in the roof tiles. Then they lowered the man down on the mat, right into the crowd in front of Jesus.
20 When Jesus saw the trust they had in him, he said to the man, “Your sins are forgiven.”
21 The religious teachers and the Pharisees began to argue with that. “Who is this who's speaking blasphemies?” they asked. “Who can forgive sins? Only God can do that!”
22 Jesus knew what they were arguing about, so he asked them, “Why are you thinking to question this? 23 What is easier? To say your sins are forgiven, or to say get up and walk? 24 However, I will prove to you that the Son of man has the authority here on earth to forgive sins.” Then he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you: Get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”
25 Immediately the man stood up in front of them. He picked up the mat he'd been lying on, and went home, praising God as he went. 26 Everyone was completely astonished at what had happened, and in great awe they praised God, saying, “What we saw today was amazing!”
27 Later, as Jesus was leaving the town, he saw a tax collector called Levi sitting at his tax booth.
“Follow me,” Jesus told him. 28 Levi stood up, left everything, and followed Jesus.
29 Levi organized a large banquet at his home in Jesus' honor. Many tax collectors and others were in the crowd that sat down to eat with them. But the Pharisees and the religious teachers complained to Jesus' disciples, asking, 30 “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 “Healthy people don't need a doctor—but sick people do,” Jesus replied. 32 “I didn't come to call those who are living right to repentance—I came to call sinners.”
33 “Well, John's disciples often fast and pray, and the Pharisees' disciples do so as well. But your disciples don't—they go on eating and drinking,” they told him.
34 “Should the groomsmen fast while the bridegroom is with them?” Jesus asked. 35 “No—but the time is coming when the bridegroom will be taken away from them. Then they can fast.”
36 Then he gave them an illustration: “You don't tear out a patch from new clothes to mend old clothes. Otherwise you'd ruin new clothes, and the patch from the new wouldn't match the old. 37 You don't put new wine into old wineskins, because if you did the new wine would burst the wineskins. Then both wine and wineskins would be wasted. 38 You put new wine in new wineskins. 39 And nobody after drinking old wine wants new wine, for they say, ‘the old tastes good.’ ”
*5:12 “Clean.” Of course, what the man was looking for was healing from his leprosy, however his leprosy made him ceremonially unclean. So “clean” not only healed his disease but also made him socially acceptable.