5:1On one occasion when the crowd was pressing in around him to hear the word of God, he was standing beside Lake Gennesaret.5:2He saw two ships docked at the edge, and the sailors had disembarked to wash their nets.5:3He got into the ship that belonged to Simon and asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down in the ship and taught the crowd.
5:4As he finished speaking he said to Simon, “Go out to deeper waters and lower your nets for a catch.”
5:5“Exalted One,” Simon replied, “We worked the whole night and caught nothing. But just because you said it, I will lower the nets.”5:6And when they did, they caught a huge number of fish, yet the nets didn’t tear.5:7So they motioned to their partners in the other ship to help them. The haul filled both ships to the point that they almost sank!
5:8When Simon Peter saw this, he dropped to his knees before Jesus and said, “Please stay away from me, Master, because I am a man of many faults!”5:9He and everyone with him were overawed about the huge haul of fish they had caught.5:10So also were his partners James and John, the sons of Zebedee. And Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t worry; from now on you’ll be catching people!”5:11When the ships landed, they left everything and followed him.
5:12One time when Jesus was in one of the cities, suddenly there was a man absolutely covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus he put his face to the ground and begged him, “Master, if you choose, you could make me clean!”
5:13“I so choose!” replied Jesus as he reached out his hand and touched him. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
5:14But Jesus instructed him to tell no one: “Go and show yourself to the priest, and present the offering for your cleansing as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”5:15Yet the news about him spread everywhere, and a huge crowd gathered to hear him and be cured of their infirmities.5:16And he kept retreating to deserted areas to pray.
5:17One day he was teaching, and included among those sitting there were Pharisees and lawyers from every village in Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. The power of the Master was there for healing,5:18when suddenly there were some men carrying a stretcher, and the person on it was paralyzed. They intended to carry him and place him before Jesus,5:19but they couldn’t find a way through the crowd. So they went up to the top of the house and lowered him on his stretcher through the roofing tiles, right in front of Jesus.
5:20When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the person, “You are acquitted of your faults!”
5:21And the scripture scholars and Pharisees began to grumble among themselves: “Who is he to speak so irreverently?! Who but God alone can dismiss faults?”
5:22Yet Jesus was fully aware of what they were thinking, and he responded to them, “What are you going on about?5:23Which is easier: to say ‘You are acquitted of your faults’ or ‘Get up and walk around’?5:24But just so you can see that the Human One has jurisdiction on earth to release faults…”
Jesus turned to the paralyzed person: “I tell you, get up, pick up your stretcher and go home!”5:25Instantly he got up in front of them, picked up the stretcher he had been put upon, and went home praising God.5:26Everyone was completely amazed and gave honor to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen extraordinary things today!”
5:27After all that, Jesus went out and spotted a tax contractor by the name of Levi1 sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me!”5:28and he left everything behind and followed him.5:29Levi also threw a big party for him in his home, and among the guests reclining at the table were many other tax contractors.
5:30But the Pharisees and their scripture scholars complained to Jesus’ disciples, “Why are you eating and drinking with tax contractors and deviants?”
5:31“It isn’t the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick,” Jesus replied.5:32“I didn’t come to tell the righteous to change their minds, but the deviant.”
5:33But they went on: “The disciples of John frequently go without food and pray earnestly, just as those of the Pharisees. Yet yours eat and drink.”
5:34“You can’t expect the groom’s guests to fast while they’re with the groom,” Jesus replied.5:35“But the time will come when the groom is taken away from them, and when that time comes they will fast.”
5:36Then he gave them a parable: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old one. In that case the new one will be torn and the old one will be mismatched.5:37And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the new wine will burst the old wineskins and spill out, and the wineskins will be ruined.5:38Rather, they put new wine into new wineskins.5:39And no one who has drunk old wine would choose new; they’d say that the old wine is better.”
- 1Levi is better known as Matthew.