Jesus helps a man who cannot walk
1Several days after that, Jesus returned to Capernaum. People reported that he had come back to his home. 2Many people came into the house. The house was so full that there was no room, even outside the door. Jesus was teaching people the good news. 3Four men came. They were carrying another man on a mat. That man could not walk or move his legs. 4They could not reach Jesus because of the crowd. So they made a hole in the roof above the place where Jesus was. They helped the man to go down through the hole. He was still lying on his mat. 5Jesus saw the man and his friends. He knew that they believed in him. So he said to the man who could not walk, ‘My friend, I forgive you for the wrong things that you have done.’ #2:5 Houses in Israel had flat roofs. There were steps outside the house up to the roof. The roof was really small sticks and hard dry soil. It was easy for the men to make a big hole in the roof. Then they could tie ropes on to the mat and they could put it down through the roof. The man came down in front of Jesus.
6But some teachers of God's Law were sitting there. They thought about the words that Jesus had spoken to the man. 7‘This man Jesus should not have said that,’ they thought. ‘He is speaking as if he is God. Only God can forgive people for the wrong things that they have done.’
8Immediately, Jesus knew in his spirit what the teachers were thinking. ‘You should not think these things,’ he said to them. 9‘I said to this man who cannot walk, “I forgive you for the wrong things that you have done.” Instead, I could have said to him, “Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Which one is easier for me to say? 10But I want you to know this. I, the Son of Man, have authority on earth. I can forgive people for the wrong things that they have done.’ Then he said to the man who could not walk: 11‘I am saying to you: Stand up! Pick up your mat and go home.’ 12The man stood up. Immediately, he picked up his mat and walked out of the house. Everyone watched him do this. It surprised all the people very much. They praised God and they said, ‘God is great. We have never seen anything like this before.’ #2:12 Jesus often called himself the Son of Man. He may have done this so that people would remember about some messages in the Bible. See Daniel 7:13-14.
Jesus asks Levi to be his disciple
13Jesus went to the shore of Lake Galilee again. A large crowd came to him, and he taught them. 14While Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Levi. Levi was the son of Alphaeus. His job was to take taxes from people on behalf of the government. He was sitting in his office. Jesus said to him, ‘Come with me and be my disciple.’ Levi stood up and he went with Jesus. #2:14 Levi took money on behalf of the Roman government. The Jews did not like men who did this job.
15Then Jesus went to eat a meal at Levi's house. Many people followed Jesus and they ate there with him and with his disciples. Many of these were bad people and also men who took taxes on behalf of the government. 16Some teachers of God's Law who were Pharisees saw what was happening. They said to Jesus' disciples, ‘He is eating with men who take taxes on behalf of the government and those other bad people. That is not right.’
17Jesus heard what these people were saying. He said to them, ‘People who are well do not need a doctor. It is people who are ill that need a doctor. Some people think that they always obey God. I did 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.’ #2:17 The Pharisees taught people the rules that God had given to Moses. They also taught many of their own ideas. They said that it was wrong for Jesus to eat with bad people. The Pharisees thought that they themselves were very good people. They tried to obey all of God's rules.
18At this time, the disciples of John the Baptist and the disciples of the Pharisees were not eating any food. Some people came to Jesus and they asked him this question: ‘The disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees often stop eating food for a time. So why do your disciples never do that?’ #2:18 John the Baptist and the Pharisees taught their disciples to fast. This means that they decided not to eat any food for a certain time.
19Jesus answered them: ‘When a man marries, his friends cannot refuse to eat. They cannot refuse to eat food while he is with them. 20But there will be a time when people will take the man away from his friends. At that time his friends will stop eating food.’ #2:20 Jesus often told stories to teach the people. In this story, Jesus is like the man who marries. His disciples are like the friends. While Jesus was with his disciples, they were very happy. But soon his enemies would kill him. Then the disciples would be so sad that they would refuse to eat.
21Then Jesus said, ‘Nobody uses a piece of new cloth to mend an old coat. If he does, the new cloth will cause the old cloth to tear again. It will make a bigger hole than before. 22And 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 spoil. Instead, you must put new wine into new wineskins.’ #2:22 Wine is a strong drink that people make from fruit. It needs more room as it gets older. People put wine in wineskins to keep it. Wineskins become hard when they get older. So, new wine would cause them to tear. #2:22 The Pharisees had many old rules that their leaders had taught them to obey. These rules were not from God. Jesus was teaching the people that the old wineskins were like those old rules. And the old coat was also like those old rules. The new wine and the new cloth are like the things that Jesus was teaching them. People must not mix these different things together.
Jesus answers questions about the day for rest
23On one Jewish day for rest, Jesus and his disciples were walking through some fields where wheat was growing. While they were walking along, his disciples picked some wheat seeds. 24Some Pharisees said to Jesus, ‘Look at what your disciples are doing. They should not do that on our day for rest. It is against God's Law.’
25Jesus replied, ‘You have certainly read about what David did one day. He and the men who were with him were very hungry. They needed food to eat. 26David went into God's Great House. He ate the special bread that was there. He gave some of it to his men to eat as well. This happened during the time that Abiathar was the leader of the priests. It is against God's Law for anyone except the priests to eat that special bread.’ #2:26 We can read about this in 1 Samuel 21.
27Then Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘God wanted to help people. So he made a day for them when they should rest. He did not make people so that they could keep laws about the day for rest. 28So you should know that the Son of Man has authority over the Law about the day for rest.’