Jesus stepped into a boat and crossed over. Some days later, Jesus entered his hometown of Capernaum, and people heard he was home. So many gathered, including Pharisees and teachers of the law. So many people came from every village of Galilee, Judaea, and Jerusalem that there wasn’t even room outside the door, and he spoke the word to them. The Lord’s power of healing was with Jesus. One group came bearing a paralytic man to him, carried by four men. Due to the crowd, they could not reach Jesus, so they removed the roof where Jesus stood. Having gouged out an opening, they lowered a mat on which the paralytic lay right in front of Jesus. Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:1-5, Luke 5:17-20, Matthew 9:1-2))

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

However, some of the scribes were sitting there and, reasoning in their hearts, murmured, “Why does this man speak like this? He blasphemes. Who can forgive sins except God alone?” Jesus, immediately aware in his spirit what they were thinking, said to them, “Why do you think these wicked things and reason over them in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and take up your mat and walk’? But so you should know that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins on the earth…” Turning to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, take up your mat, and go to your house.” And the man arose and immediately took up the mat, went out before everyone so that all were astonished, bewildered, and frightened, and glorified God who had given such authority to man, saying, “We have seen incredible things and never seen anything like this.” (Mark 2:6-12, Luke 5:21-26, Matthew 9:3-8)

Jesus Connects With Levi

Jesus left and went out again beside the sea, and the crowd came to him as he taught them. As he passed by, he saw a tax collector named Levi (also called Matthew), the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax collection booth and saying to him, “Follow me.” Levi got up, left everything, and followed Jesus. (Mark 2:13-14, Luke 5:27-28, Matthew 9:9)

Levi then set a great banquet for Jesus at his home; a crowd of tax collectors and others were reclining at the table with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees and their scribes murmured to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” And in reply, Jesus said to them, “Those who are strong have no need of a physician, but rather those who are ill. Learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ [Hosea 6:6] I have come to call not the upright, but the sinners, to a change of heart. (Luke 5:29-32, Mark 2:15-17, Matthew 9:10-13)

John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting then and fast frequently, and they came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples eat and drink?” Jesus replied to them, “Can the wedding guest mourn and fast while the groom is with them? As long as they have the groom with them, they cannot fast. But the day will come when the groom is taken away from them, and then, on that day, they will fast.” Jesus also told them a parable, “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise, the new cloth will tear away from it, and a worse tear will appear. No one puts new wine in old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the wineskins, and the wine and wineskins will both be lost, but new wine will be preserved in new wineskins. And no one having drunk the old desires the new; for he says, ‘The old is good.’” (Mark 2:18-22, Luke 5:33-39 Matthew 9:14-17)

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