1A few days later Jesus returned home to Capernaum, and news spread that he was there. 2So many people crowded inside the house that it was packed, even outside the door, as Jesus told them the message.#2:2. Literally, “the word,” here used for the first time to mean the message of God's good news. 3Four men had brought a man who was paralyzed, 4but they could not get near Jesus because of the crowds. So they went up on the roof and took it apart. After they had made an opening above Jesus, they lowered down the mat with the paralyzed man lying on it.
5When Jesus saw the trust these men had, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
6Some of the religious teachers sitting there thought to themselves, 7“Why is he talking like this? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins? Only God can do that!”
8Jesus knew right away what they were thinking. He said to them, “Why are you thinking like this? 9What's easier: to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10But to convince you that the Son of man has the right to forgive sins, 11I say to you (the paralyzed man), ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and go home.’”
12He stood up, picked up his mat, and walked out in front of everyone there. They were all amazed, and praised God, saying “We've never ever seen anything like this!”
13Jesus went out beside the sea once more and taught the crowds that came to him. 14As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax-collector's booth.
“Follow me,” Jesus told him. Levi got up and followed Jesus.
15That evening Jesus ate dinner at Levi's house. Many tax collectors and “sinners”#2:15. “Sinners” here refers to those who were not seen as so strict in their keeping of the religious law as the religious teachers and the Pharisees. joined Jesus and his disciples for the meal, for there were many of these people that followed Jesus.
16When the religious leaders of the Pharisees saw Jesus eating with such people, they asked Jesus' disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17When Jesus heard this, he told them, “It's not healthy people who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I haven't come to invite those who do what is right, but those who don't—the sinners.”
18Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting.#2:18. Fasting: choosing not to eat on certain days for religious reasons. Some of them came to Jesus, and asked him, “Why is it that John's disciples and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples don't?”
19“Do wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?” Jesus asked them. “No. While the bridegroom's with them, they can't fast. 20But the day is coming when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and then they'll fast. 21No one puts a patch that's not shrunk on old clothes. Otherwise the new piece will shrink away from the old, and make the tear worse. 22No one puts new wine in old wineskins. Otherwise the wine will burst the wineskins, and both the wine and wineskins will be wasted. No. You put new wine in new wineskins.”
23One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through the grain fields, his disciples started picking heads of grain as they walked along. 24The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Look, why are they doing what is not permitted on the Sabbath?”
25“Haven't you ever read what David did when he and his men were hungry and in need?” Jesus asked them. 26“He went into God's house when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the consecrated bread which no one except the priests are permitted to eat, and gave it to his men too.”
27“The Sabbath was made for your benefit, not for you to benefit the Sabbath,” he told them. 28“So the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”