Jesus asks some men to go with him
1One day, Jesus was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret. A crowd was pushing to get near to him. They were listening to him. He was speaking God's message to them. #5:1 ‘Lake Gennesaret’ is another name for the ‘Sea of Galilee’. The town called Capernaum is on the shore of this lake.
2Jesus saw two fishing boats at the edge of the lake. The fishermen had left the boats there and they were now washing their nets. #5:2 The fishermen caught fish from the lake with nets. They tied thin rope together to make these. They washed them after they had been out to catch fish. And then they mended them. The nets were then ready for them to use again.
3One of the boats belonged to Simon. Jesus climbed into it. He asked Simon to push it away from the shore. Jesus sat in the boat and he started to teach the people. #5:3 The boat was a good place for Jesus to sit. The people on the shore could see and hear him.
4When Jesus finished teaching, he said to Simon, ‘Now take the boat out into deep water. Then put the nets into the water to catch some fish.’
5Simon replied, ‘Teacher, we worked all last night and we did not catch anything. But because you say it, I will put the nets into the water again.’ 6So they went and they put the nets down into the water. When they did that, they caught many fish. There were so many fish that the nets began to break. 7So Simon shouted to the other fishermen that worked with him. ‘Come here!’ he said, ‘We need you.’ When they saw that, the men came in their boat. They filled both boats with the fish. There were so many fish that the boats began to go down under the water. 8When Simon saw all the fish, he went down on his knees in front of Jesus. ‘Sir,’ he said, ‘I am a bad man. So please go away from me.’ #5:8 Simon saw all the fish. Then he knew that God was with Jesus. So, he felt that he was a very bad man. He knew that God does not like bad things.
9Simon said this because he was very surprised. He was surprised because they had caught so many fish. His friends in the other boat were also very surprised. 10James and John were very surprised too. They were Zebedee's sons and they worked with Simon. Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. You have been catching fish. From now on you will catch people!’
11After that, they went and they pulled their boats up on the shore. Then they left everything behind and they went with Jesus. #5:11 Jesus wanted to teach Simon, James and John about ‘catching men’. They would learn how to tell people the good news about Jesus. They had brought fish out of the water. Now they would bring people to Jesus, so that they could believe in him.
A man with a bad illness of his skin
12One day, Jesus was in a certain town. A man with a bad illness of the skin was there. #5:12 People with this bad illness of the skin could not live close to other people. They lived outside the town.
When the man saw Jesus, he threw himself down on the ground in front of him. He said, ‘Sir, if you want, you can make me well again. Please do it.’
13Jesus put out his hand towards the man and he touched him. He said, ‘I do want to help you. Be clean again!’ Immediately, the illness left the man. 14‘Do not tell anyone about this,’ Jesus said to him. ‘Instead, go and show yourself to the priest. Take a gift to him for God. Moses taught the people what gift to take to God when they are clean again after this kind of illness. This will show everyone that you are now well again.’
15After this, more and more people started to hear the news about Jesus. Crowds were coming to hear him teach. Sick people also wanted him to make them well. 16But Jesus would often go away from the crowd to pray in quiet places.
Jesus makes well a man that cannot walk
17One day, while Jesus was teaching in someone's house, many people were sitting there. Some of them were Pharisees. Other people were teachers of God's Law. They had come from many villages in Galilee, and from Judea and Jerusalem. The power of the Lord was there with Jesus to make sick people well. #5:17 The Pharisees were a group of Jews. Many of them thought that they were obeying all God's rules. But they were also obeying many rules that men had made. Those Pharisees did not like the things that Jesus taught. They did not like him because he did not obey all their rules.
18Then some men arrived. They were carrying a man on a mat. The man could not walk or move his legs. They tried to get into the house, because they wanted to bring the man to Jesus. 19But the house was full of people, and they could not get in. So, they carried the man on to the flat roof of the house. Then they made a hole in the roof. After that, they put the mat down through the hole. The man was still lying on it. He came down in the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. 20Jesus saw them. He knew that they believed in him. So he said to the sick man, ‘My friend, I forgive you for the wrong things that you have done.’
21The Pharisees and the teachers of God's Law were there. They heard what Jesus said. So they began to think among themselves, ‘Who is this man? He is speaking as if he is God. Only God can forgive people for the wrong things that they have done.’ 22Jesus knew what these men were thinking. He told them, ‘You should not be thinking these things. 23I said to this man, “I forgive you for the wrong things that you have done.” Instead, I could have said to him, “Stand up and walk.” Which one is easier for me to say? 24But I want you to know this. I, the Son of Man, have authority here on earth. I can forgive people for the wrong things that they have done.’
Then he said to the man who could not walk, ‘I am saying to you, “Stand up. Pick up your mat and go home!” ’
25Immediately, the man stood up in front of them all. He picked up the mat that he had been lying on. He went home. He was praising God as he went. 26What had happened surprised everyone. They said, ‘God is great and powerful! We have seen very strange and special things happen today.’ #5:26 Jesus often spoke about himself as the Son of Man. He used this to cause people to think about some messages in the Old Testament. You can read about the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13-14.
Jesus asks Levi to come with him
27After this happened, Jesus went away from that house. He saw a man that took taxes from people on behalf of the government. He was working in his office. His name was Levi. Jesus said to him, ‘Come with me and be my disciple.’ 28So Levi got up and he went with Jesus. He left everything behind.
29Soon after this, Levi made a large meal for Jesus at his house. Many people also came and they were eating with them there. Many of these people also took taxes on behalf of the government. 30Some Pharisees and teachers of God's Law saw them there. So they said to Jesus' disciples, ‘You eat and drink with these bad people and men who take taxes on behalf of the government. That is not right.’
31Jesus answered them, ‘People who are well do not need a doctor. It is people who are ill that need a doctor. 32Some people think that they always obey God. I have not come to help people like that. Some people know that they have done wrong things. I am asking those people to come to me for help. I want them to change how they live.’
33Then the Jewish leaders said to Jesus: ‘The disciples of John the Baptist often stop eating food for a time. Then they can pray to God a lot. The disciples of the Pharisees also do that. But your disciples never do that. They continue to eat and drink every day.’ #5:33 John the Baptist and the Pharisees taught the people who obeyed them about how to pray. They taught them to go without food sometimes. This caused them to feel nearer to God when they prayed.
34Jesus answered them, ‘When a man marries a wife, his friends cannot refuse to eat food at that time. Nobody can stop them from eating while he is with them. 35But there will be a time when people will take that man away from his friends. Then they will stop eating food.’ #5:35 In this picture story, the man that is marrying is Jesus. His friends at the big meal are those that follow him. He will not always be with them. Then they will start to go without food to pray better.
36Jesus told them this story: ‘Nobody tears a piece of cloth from a new coat to mend an old coat. If he does that, he will have torn the new coat. Also, the piece of cloth from the new coat will not look the same as the old coat. #5:36 Men were teaching people about the rules that God gave to them. The old cloth is what these men taught. The new cloth is what Jesus is teaching. God gave his rules to his people by Moses. Those that taught these rules often taught their own ideas instead. This was why Jesus so often spoke against them. He also spoke against what they taught.
37And nobody pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does that, the new wine will tear the old wineskins. He will lose the wine and the wineskins will also spoil. 38Instead, you must put new wine into new wineskins.
39Also, nobody wants to drink new wine after he has drunk old wine. He will say, “The old wine is much better.” ’ #5:39 Wine is a drink that you make from fruit. It contains alcohol. Some people keep wine in bottles that they have made from the skin of an animal. Wine grows while it is getting older. But old skins become hard. New wine would cause them to break. #5:39 Jesus is teaching that the old rules are like old skin bottles. What he is teaching is new. And it is like a new skin bottle.