1When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home.
2Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God's word to them,
3four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat.
4They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.
5Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "My child, your sins are forgiven."
6But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves,
7"What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!"
8Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, "Why do you question this in your hearts?
9Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man `Your sins are forgiven,' or `Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk'?
10So I will prove to you that the Son of Man* has the authority on earth to forgive sins." Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said,
11"Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!"
12And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers.They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, "We've never seen anything like this before!"
13Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him.
14As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.
15Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus' followers.)
16But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees* saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, "Why does he eat with such scum?*"
17When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners."
18Once when John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and asked, "Why don't your disciples fast like John's disciples and the Pharisees do?"
19Jesus replied, "Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can't fast while the groom is with them.
20But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
21"Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.
22"And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins."
23One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples began breaking off heads of grain to eat.
24But the Pharisees said to Jesus, "Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?"
25Jesus said to them, "Haven't you ever read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
26He went into the house of God (during the days when Abiathar was high priest) and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. He also gave some to his companions."
27Then Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.
28So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!"