The Miracle Catch of Fish
1On one occasion, Jesus was preaching to a crowd on the shore of Lake Galilee. # 5:1 Or “Gennesaret,” which is known as Lake Galilee. A vast multitude of people was pushing to get close to Jesus to hear the word of God. 2He noticed two fishing boats at the water’s edge, with the fishermen nearby, rinsing their nets. 3Jesus climbed into the boat belonging to Simon Peter and said to him, “Let me use your boat. Push it off a short distance away from the shore so I can speak to the crowd.”
4Jesus sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished, he said to Peter, “Now row out to deep water to cast your nets and you will have a great catch.”
5“Master,” Peter replied, “we’ve just come back from fishing all night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you insist, we’ll go out again and let down our nets because of your word.”
6When they pulled up their nets, they were shocked to see a huge catch of fish, and their nets were ready to burst! 7They waved to their business partners in the other boat for help. They ended up completely filling both boats with fish until they began to sink! # 5:7 It has been estimated that this was a catch of nearly one ton of fish, what was typically caught in two weeks’ time. The miracle is even greater when we consider that fishing was normally only done at night.
8When Simon Peter saw this astonishing miracle, he knelt at Jesus’ feet and begged him, “Go away from me, Master, for I am a sinful man!”
9-10Simon Peter and the other fishermen—including his fishing partners, Jacob # 5:9–10 Or “James.” Both Greek and Aramaic leave the Hebrew name as it is, Jacob. This translation will use Jacob throughout. and John, the sons of Zebedee—were awestruck over the miracle catch of fish.
Jesus answered, “Do not yield to your fear, Simon Peter. From now on, you will catch men for salvation!” # 5:9–10 Translated from the Aramaic text. The Greek word zoogreo is a compound word of zoos (meaning “life”) and agreuo (meaning “to catch”). Fishermen catch fish that die and are consumed, but Peter was to catch men and give them life and freedom.
11After pulling their boats to the shore, they left everything behind and followed Jesus. # 5:11 When you leave everything behind to follow Jesus, you are actually in the position to have it all. Jesus will be your everything. Later, Peter will once again leave his nets behind to swim to Jesus. See John 21:4–8.
Jesus, the Healer
12One day, while Jesus was in a certain city, he came upon a man covered with leprous sores. When the man recognized Jesus, he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and begged to be healed, saying, “If you were willing, you could completely heal me.”
13-14Jesus reached out and touched him # 5:13–14 For the religious Jew, touching a leper was forbidden because of the contamination. Jesus was not defiled in touching the leper; rather, the leper was healed. and said, “Of course I am willing to heal you, and now you will be healed.” Instantly, the leprous sores were healed, and his skin became smooth.
Jesus said, “Tell no one what has happened, but go to the temple priests and show them you’ve been healed. And to show that you are purified, make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded. You will become a living testimony to them!”
15After this miracle, the news about Jesus spread even farther. Massive crowds continually gathered to hear him speak and to be healed from their illnesses. 16But Jesus often slipped away from them and went into the wilderness to pray.
17One day, many Jewish religious leaders known as Pharisees, # 5:17 “Pharisees” means “separated ones.” along with many religious scholars, came from every village in Galilee, throughout Judea, and even from Jerusalem to hear Jesus teach. And the power of the Lord God surged through him to instantly heal the sick.
18Some men came to Jesus, carrying a paraplegic man on a stretcher. They attempted to bring him in past the crowd to set him down in front of Jesus. 19But because there were so many people crowding the door, they had no way to bring him inside. So they crawled onto the roof, dug their way through the roof tiles, and lowered the man, stretcher and all, into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20Seeing the demonstration of their faith, Jesus said to the paraplegic man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven!”
21The Jewish religious leaders and the religious scholars # 5:21 Or “scribes.” They were the experts in the law of Moses. whispered objections among themselves. “Who does this man think he is to speak such blasphemy? Only God can forgive sins! Does he think he is God?”
22-23Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Why do you argue in your hearts over what I do and think that it is blasphemy for me to say his sins are forgiven? Let me ask you, which is easier to prove: when I say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or when I say, ‘Stand up, carry your stretcher, and walk’?”
Jesus turned to the paraplegic man and said, 24“To prove to you all that I, the Son of Man, # 5:24 This is the title Jesus uses for himself more than any other, especially in Luke. This refers to the vision of Daniel when he saw the Ancient of Days, and walking before the Ancient of Days was one like the Son of Man who would be given the right to judge the world. Calling himself the Son of Man was Jesus’ claim to heavenly authority. It was more of an exalted and heavenly concept than being a human, the “son of a man.” See Dan. 7:13; Matt. 16:13–20. have the lawful authority on earth to forgive sins, I say to you now, stand up! Carry your stretcher and go on home, for you are healed.”
25In an instant, the man rose right before their eyes. He stood, picked up his stretcher, and went home, giving God the glory with every step he took.
26The people were seized with astonishment and dumbfounded over what they had just witnessed. And they all praised God, remarking over and over, “Incredible! What an unbelievable miracle # 5:26 Or “things we never expected,” or “paradox.” we’ve seen today!”
Jesus Calls Matthew to Follow Him
27Afterward, Jesus went out and looked for a man named Matthew. # 5:27 The Greek text is “Levi,” another name for Matthew. He found him sitting at his tax booth, for he was a tax collector. Jesus said to him, “Be my disciple and follow me.” 28That very moment, Matthew got up, left everything behind, and followed him.
29-30Matthew wanted to throw a banquet to honor Jesus. So he invited Jesus to his home for dinner, along with many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests. But the Jewish religious leaders and experts of the law complained to Jesus’ disciples, “Why would you defile yourselves by eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners? Doesn’t Jesus know it’s wrong to do that?”
31Jesus overheard their complaining and said, “Who goes to the doctor for a cure? Those who are well or those who are sick? # 5:31 The word used here is the Greek word for “evil.” Sickness is a form of evil in God’s eyes. Jesus came to heal the “evil” or sicknesses of earth. 32I have not come to call the ‘righteous,’ but to call those who know they are sinners and bring them to repentance.”
A Question about Fasting
33Jesus’ critics questioned him. “John the prophet is known for leading his disciples to fast often and pray. As the religious leaders of the land, we do the same. Why do you and your disciples spend most of your time feasting at banquets?” # 5:33 It is likely that Matthew held his banquet on one of the Jewish fast days.
34Jesus replied, “Should you make the sons of the bridal chamber fast while celebrating with the Bridegroom? 35But when the Bridegroom is taken away from them, then you will see them fasting.”
36And he gave them this illustration: “No one rips up a new garment to make patches for an old, worn-out one. If you tear up the new to make a patch for the old, it would not match the old garment. 37And who pours new wine into an old wineskin? If someone did, the old wineskin would burst and the new wine would be lost. 38New wine must always be poured into new wineskins. # 5:38 Christ is our new garment (righteousness) and our new wine that is poured into a new wineskin (our new life and divine nature). Many today are trying to patch up their old garments (self-righteousness), hoping their old lives can hold the new wine of the Spirit. 39Yet you say, ‘The old ways are better,’ and you refuse to even taste the new wine that I bring.”
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