The First Disciples
1Now it happened that while Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee), with the people crowding all around Him and listening to the word of God; 2 that He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little distance from the shore. And He sat down and began teaching the crowds from the boat. 4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon [Peter], “Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch [of fish].” 5 Simon replied, “Master, we worked hard all night [to the point of exhaustion] and caught nothing [in our nets], but at Your word I will [do as you say and] lower the nets [again].” 6 When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets were [at the point of] breaking; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats [with fish], so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9 For he and all his companions were completely astounded at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon [Peter]. Jesus said to Simon, “Have no fear; from now on you will be catching men!” 11 After they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and [a]followed Him [becoming His disciples, believing and trusting in Him and following His example].
The Leper and the Paralytic
12 While Jesus was in one of the cities, there came a man covered with [an advanced case of] leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean and well.” 13 And Jesus reached out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 Jesus ordered him to tell no one [that he might happen to meet], “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your purification, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony (witness) to them [that this is a work of Messiah].” 15 But the news about Him was spreading farther, and large crowds kept gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their illnesses. 16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray [in seclusion].
17 One day as He was teaching, there were Pharisees and teachers of the Law sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present with Him to heal. 18 Some men came carrying on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed, and they tried to bring him in and lay him down in front of Jesus. 19 But finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the [b]roof [and removed some tiles to make an opening] and lowered him through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. 20 When Jesus saw their [active] faith [springing from confidence in Him], He said, “Man, your sins are forgiven.” 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to consider and question [the implications of what He had said], saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies [by claiming the rights and prerogatives of God]? Who can forgive sins [that is, remove guilt, nullify sin’s penalty, and assign righteousness] except God alone?” 22 But Jesus, knowing their [hostile] thoughts, answered them, “Why are you questioning [these things] in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But, in order that you may know that the Son of Man (the Messiah) has authority and power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralyzed man, “I say to you, get up, pick up your stretcher and go home.” 25 He immediately stood up before them, picked up his stretcher, and went home glorifying and praising God. 26 They were all astonished, and they began glorifying God; and they were filled with [reverential] fear and kept saying, “We have seen wonderful and incredible things today!”
Call of Levi (Matthew)
27 After this Jesus went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi (Matthew) sitting at the tax booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me [as My disciple, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk].” 28 And he left everything behind and got up and began to follow Jesus [as His disciple].
29 Levi (Matthew) gave a great banquet for Him at his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were reclining at the table with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes [seeing those with whom He was associating] began murmuring in discontent to His disciples, asking, “Why are you eating and drinking with the tax collectors and sinners [including non-observant Jews]?” 31 And Jesus replied to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but [only] those who are sick. 32 I did not come to call the [self-proclaimed] righteous [who see no need to repent], but sinners to repentance [to change their old way of thinking, to turn from sin and to seek God and His righteousness].”
33 Then they said to Him, “The disciples of John [the Baptist] often practice fasting and offer prayers [of special petition], and so do the disciples of the Pharisees; but Yours eat and drink.” 34 Jesus said to them, “Can you make the wedding guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But days [for mourning] will come when the bridegroom is [forcefully] taken away from them. They will fast in those days.” 36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old one; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old [c]wineskins; otherwise the new [fermenting] wine will [expand and] burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one, after drinking old wine, wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is fine.’”