Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
1Several days later, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and the news quickly spread that he was back in town. 2Soon there were so many people crowded inside the house to hear him that there was no more room, even outside the door.
While Jesus was preaching the word of God, 3four men arrived, carrying a paralyzed man. 4But when they realized that they couldn’t even get near him because of the crowd, they went up on top of the house and tore away the roof above Jesus’ head. And when they had broken through, they lowered the paralyzed man on a stretcher right down in front of him! 5When Jesus saw the extent of their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “My son, your sins are now forgiven.”
6This offended some of the religious scholars who were present, and they reasoned among themselves, 7“Who does he think he is to speak this way? This is blasphemy for sure! Only God himself can forgive sins!”
8Jesus supernaturally perceived their thoughts and said to them, “Why are you being so skeptical? 9Which is easier, to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are now forgiven,’ or, ‘Stand up and walk!’? # 2:9 The answer to Jesus’ question is obvious. It is easy for anyone to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” for that cannot be proven. But if someone were to tell a paralyzed man to stand up, and he didn’t stand up, that would prove the person is a fraud. Jesus didn’t do the “easy thing” without accomplishing the hard thing, the miracle of healing. Forgiveness and healing both flow from Jesus Christ. 10But to convince you that the Son of Man has been given authority to forgive sins, 11I say to this man, ‘Stand up, pick up your stretcher, and walk home.’ ” 12Immediately the man was healed and sprang to his feet in front of everyone and left for home.
When the crowd witnessed this miracle, they were awestruck. # 2:12 The Greek word used here can also mean “shocked into wonderment” or “to be out of their minds” (with amazement). This event teaches us that salvation not only involves the forgiveness of our sins, but gives us the power to rise up and walk. They shouted praises to God and said, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew) to Follow Him
13Jesus went out to walk near Lake Galilee, and a massive crowd gathered, so he taught them. 14As he walked along, he found Levi, the son of Alphaeus, # 2:14 The name Levi means “joined,” “united,” and Levi is the same person as Matthew, who wrote the Gospel bearing his name. Alphaeus means “changing.” It is obvious that Matthew’s allegiance is changing from being a servant of Rome to being joined to Jesus as his future apostle. sitting at a tax booth, collecting taxes. He approached him and said, “Come follow me.” Immediately he got up from his booth and began to follow Jesus.
15Later, Jesus and his disciples went to have a meal with Levi. Among the guests in Levi’s home were many tax collectors and notable sinners sharing a meal with Jesus, for there were many kinds of people who followed him. 16But when the religious scholars and the Pharisees # 2:16 The word Pharisees means “separated ones.” found out that Jesus was keeping company and dining with sinners and tax collectors, # 2:16 These were Jews who worked for the Roman empire to collect taxes and were empowered by Rome to profit greatly by what they collected. they were indignant. So they approached Jesus’ disciples and said to them, “Why is it that someone like Jesus defiles himself by eating with sinners and tax collectors?”
17But when Jesus overheard their complaint, he said to them, “Who goes to the doctor for a cure? Those who are well or those who are sick? I have not come to call the ‘righteous,’ but those who are sinners and bring them to repentance.”
Jesus Questioned about Fasting
18One time, the disciples of John the Baptizer and the Pharisees were fasting. So they came to Jesus and asked, “Why is it that John’s disciples and disciples of the Pharisees are fasting but your disciples are not?”
19Jesus answered, “How can the sons of the bridal chamber fast when the bridegroom is next to them? As long as the bridegroom is with them they won’t, 20but the days of fasting will come when the Bridegroom is taken from them.
21“And who would mend worn-out clothing with new fabric? When the new cloth shrinks, it will rip, making the tear worse than before. 22And who would pour new wine into an old wineskin? Eventually the wine will ferment and make the wineskin burst, losing everything—the wine will be spilled and the wineskin ruined. Instead, new wine is always poured into new wineskins.”
Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath
23One Sabbath, # 2:23 The Hebrew word for Sabbath comes from shavat, which is the verb “to rest.” What was designed to be a day of rest and intimacy with God and family was now complicated by a host of rules and traditions. Jesus and his disciples were walking through a field of wheat. The disciples were hungry, so they plucked off some heads of grain to eat. 24But when some of the Pharisees saw what was happening, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples shouldn’t be harvesting grain on the Sabbath!”
25Jesus responded, “Haven’t you ever read what King David and his men did when they were hungry? 26They entered the house of God # 2:26 That is, the tabernacle. See 1 Sam. 21:1–6. Ancient Jewish tradition states that David did this on a Sabbath day. See also Lev. 24:5–9. when Abiathar was high priest and ate the sacred bread of God’s presence. # 2:26 Or “loaves of presentation.” See Ezek. 44:15–16. They violated the law by eating bread that only the priests were allowed to eat. But there is one here who is even greater than the temple.”
27Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for the sake of people, and not people for the Sabbath. 28For this reason the Son of Man exercises his lordship over the Sabbath.”