Jesus Chooses Some Followers
(Mt. 4:18–22; Mk. 1:16–20)
1As Jesus stood beside Lake Galilee,#5:1 Galilee Literally, “Gennesaret.” a crowd of people pushed to get closer to him and to hear the teachings of God. 2Jesus saw two boats at the shore of the lake. The fishermen were washing their nets. 3Jesus got into the boat that belonged to Simon. He asked Simon to push off a little from the shore. Then he sat down in the boat and taught the people on the shore.
4When Jesus finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Take the boat into the deep water. If all of you will put your nets into the water, you will catch some fish.”
5Simon answered, “Master, we worked hard all night trying to catch fish and caught nothing. But you say I should put the nets into the water, so I will.” 6The fishermen put their nets into the water. Their nets were filled with so many fish that they began to break. 7They called to their friends in the other boat to come and help them. The friends came, and both boats were filled so full of fish that they were almost sinking.
8-9The fishermen were all amazed at the many fish they caught. When Simon Peter saw this, he bowed down before Jesus and said, “Go away from me, Lord. I am a sinful man!” 10James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were amazed too. (James and John worked together with Simon.)
Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on your work will be to bring in people, not fish!”
11The men brought their boats to the shore. They left everything and followed Jesus.
Jesus Heals a Sick Man
(Mt. 8:1–4; Mk. 1:40–45)
12One time Jesus was in a town where a very sick man lived. This man was covered with leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed before Jesus and begged him, “Lord, you have the power to heal me if you want.”
13Jesus said, “I want to heal you. Be healed!” Then he touched the man, and immediately the leprosy disappeared. 14Then Jesus said, “Don’t tell anyone about what happened. But go and let the priest look at you.#5:14 let the priest look at you The Law of Moses said a priest must decide when a person with leprosy was well. And offer a gift to God for your healing as Moses commanded. This will show people that you are healed.”
15But the news about Jesus spread more and more. Many people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16Jesus often went away to other places to be alone so that he could pray.
Jesus Heals a Crippled Man
(Mt. 9:1–8; Mk. 2:1–12)
17One day Jesus was teaching the people. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there too. They had come from every town in Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. The Lord was giving Jesus the power to heal people. 18There was a man who was paralyzed, and some other men were carrying him on a mat. They tried to bring him and put him down before Jesus. 19But there were so many people that they could not find a way to Jesus. So they went up on the roof and lowered the crippled man down through a hole in the ceiling. They lowered the mat into the room so that the crippled man was lying before Jesus. 20Jesus saw how much faith they had and said to the sick man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21The Jewish teachers of the law and the Pharisees thought to themselves, “Who is this man who dares to say such things? What an insult to God! No one but God can forgive sins.”
22But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Why do you have these questions in your minds? 23-24The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins. But how can I prove this to you? Maybe you are thinking it was easy for me to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ There’s no proof that it really happened. But what if I say to the man, ‘Stand up and walk’? Then you will be able to see that I really have this power.” So Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, stand up! Take your mat and go home!”
25The man immediately stood up in front of everyone. He picked up his mat and walked home, praising God. 26Everyone was completely amazed and began to praise God. They were filled with great respect for God’s power. They said, “Today we saw amazing things!”
Levi (Matthew) Follows Jesus
(Mt. 9:9–13; Mk. 2:13–17)
27After this Jesus went out and saw a tax collector sitting at his place for collecting taxes. His name was Levi. Jesus said to him, “Follow me!” 28Levi got up, left everything, and followed Jesus.
29Then Levi gave a big dinner at his house for Jesus. At the table there were many tax collectors and some other people too. 30But the Pharisees and those who taught the law for the Pharisees began to complain to the followers of Jesus, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and other sinners?”
31Jesus answered them, “It is the sick people who need a doctor, not those who are healthy. 32I have not come to ask good people to change. I have come to ask sinners to change the way they live.”
Jesus Is Not Like Other Religious Leaders
(Mt. 9:14–17; Mk. 2:18–22)
33They said to Jesus, “John’s followers often fast and pray, the same as the followers of the Pharisees. But your followers eat and drink all the time.”
34Jesus said to them, “At a wedding you can’t ask the friends of the bridegroom to be sad and fast while he is still with them. 35But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them. Then his friends will fast.”
36Jesus told them this story: “No one takes cloth off a new coat to cover a hole in an old coat. That would ruin the new coat, and the cloth from the new coat would not be the same as the old cloth. 37Also, no one ever pours new wine into old wineskins. The new wine would break them. The wine would spill out, and the wineskins would be ruined. 38You always put new wine into new wineskins. 39No one who drinks old wine wants new wine. They say, ‘The old wine is just fine.’”