21A few days later Jesus went back to Capernaum, and the news spread that he was at home. 2So many people came together that there was no room left, not even out in front of the door. Jesus was preaching the message to them 3when four men arrived, carrying a paralysed man to Jesus. 4Because of the crowd, however, they could not get the man to him. So they made a hole in the roof right above the place where Jesus was. When they had made an opening, they let the man down, lying on his mat. 5Seeing how much faith they had, Jesus said to the paralysed man, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”
6Some teachers of the Law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7“How does he dare to talk like this? This is blasphemy! God is the only one who can forgive sins!”
8At once Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said to them, “Why do you think such things? 9Is it easier to say to this paralysed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralysed man, 11“I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
12While they all watched, the man got up, picked up his mat, and hurried away. They were all completely amazed and praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
13Jesus went back again to the shore of Lake Galilee. A crowd came to him, and he started teaching them. 14As he walked along, he saw a tax collector, Levi son of Alphaeus, sitting in his office. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Levi got up and followed him.
15Later on Jesus was having a meal in Levi's house.2.15 in Levi's house; or in his (that is, Jesus') house. A large number of tax collectors and other outcasts were following Jesus, and many of them joined him and his disciples at the table. 16Some teachers of the Law, who were Pharisees, saw that Jesus was eating with these outcasts and tax collectors, so they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such people?”
17Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”
18On one occasion the followers of John the Baptist and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came to Jesus and asked him, “Why is it that the disciples of John the Baptist and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but yours do not?”
19Jesus answered, “Do you expect the guests at a wedding party to go without food? Of course not! As long as the bridegroom is with them, they will not do that. 20But the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
21“No one uses a piece of new cloth to patch up an old coat, because the new patch will shrink and tear off some of the old cloth, making an even bigger hole. 22Nor does anyone pour new wine into used wineskins, because the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins will be ruined. Instead, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.”
Jesus was walking through some cornfields on the Sabbath. As his disciples walked along with him, they began to pick the ears of corn. 24So the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, it is against our Law for your disciples to do that on the Sabbath!”
Jesus answered, “Have you never read what David did that time when he needed something to eat? He and his men were hungry, 26
so he went into the house of God and ate the bread offered to God. This happened when Abiathar was the High Priest. According to our Law only the priests may eat this bread — but David ate it and even gave it to his men.”
27And Jesus concluded, “The Sabbath was made for the good of human beings; they were not made for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
31Then Jesus went back to the synagogue, where there was a man who had a paralysed hand. 2Some people were there who wanted to accuse Jesus of doing wrong; so they watched him closely to see whether he would heal the man on the Sabbath. 3Jesus said to the man, “Come up here to the front.” 4Then he asked the people, “What does our Law allow us to do on the Sabbath? To help or to harm? To save someone's life or to destroy it?”
But they did not say a thing. 5Jesus was angry as he looked round at them, but at the same time he felt sorry for them, because they were so stubborn and wrong. Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it became well again. 6So the Pharisees left the synagogue and met at once with some members of Herod's party, and they made plans to kill Jesus.
7Jesus and his disciples went away to Lake Galilee, and a large crowd followed him. They had come from Galilee, from Judea, 8from Jerusalem, from the territory of Idumea, from the territory on the east side of the Jordan, and from the region round the cities of Tyre and Sidon. All these people came to Jesus because they had heard of the things he was doing. 9
The crowd was so large that Jesus told his disciples to get a boat ready for him, so that the people would not crush him. 10He had healed many people, and all those who were ill kept pushing their way to him in order to touch him. 11And whenever the people who had evil spirits in them saw him, they would fall down before him and scream, “You are the Son of God!”
12Jesus sternly ordered the evil spirits not to tell anyone who he was.
13Then Jesus went up a hill and called to himself the men he wanted. They came to him, 14and he chose twelve, whom he named apostles. “I have chosen you to be with me,” he told them. “I will also send you out to preach, 15and you will have authority to drive out demons.”
16These are the twelve he chose: Simon (Jesus gave him the name Peter); 17James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee (Jesus gave them the name Boanerges, which means “Men of Thunder”); 18Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Patriot, 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.
20Then Jesus went home. Again such a large crowd gathered that Jesus and his disciples had no time to eat. 21When his family heard about it, they set out to take charge of him, because people were saying, “He's gone mad!”
Some teachers of the Law who had come from Jerusalem were saying, “He has Beelzebul in him! It is the chief of the demons who gives him the power to drive them out.”
23So Jesus called them to him and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a country divides itself into groups which fight each other, that country will fall apart. 25If a family divides itself into groups which fight each other, that family will fall apart. 26So if Satan's kingdom divides into groups, it cannot last, but will fall apart and come to an end.
27“No one can break into a strong man's house and take away his belongings unless he first ties up the strong man; then he can plunder his house.
28“I assure you that people can be forgiven all their sins and all the evil things they may say.3.28 evil things they may say; or evil things they may say against God. 29
But whoever says evil things against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, because he has committed an eternal sin.” 30(Jesus said this because some people were saying, “He has an evil spirit in him.”)
31Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. They stood outside the house and sent in a message, asking for him. 32A crowd was sitting round Jesus, and they said to him, “Look, your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, and they want you.”
33Jesus answered, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 34He looked at the people sitting round him and said, “Look! Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does what God wants him to do is my brother, my sister, my mother.”
Again Jesus began to teach beside Lake Galilee. The crowd that gathered round him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it. The boat was out in the water, and the crowd stood on the shore at the water's edge. 2He used parables to teach them many things, saying to them:
3“Listen! Once there was a man who went out to sow corn. 4As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn't deep. 6Then, when the sun came up, it burnt the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. 7Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants, and they didn't produce any corn. 8But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants sprouted, grew, and produced corn: some had thirty grains, others sixty, and others 100.”
9And Jesus concluded, “Listen, then, if you have ears!”
10When Jesus was alone, some of those who had heard him came to him with the twelve disciples and asked him to explain the parables. 11“You have been given the secret of the Kingdom of God,” Jesus answered. “But the others, who are on the outside, hear all things by means of parables, 12
‘They may look and look,
yet not see;
they may listen and listen,
yet not understand.
For if they did, they would turn to God,
and he would forgive them.’ ”
13Then Jesus asked them, “Don't you understand this parable? How, then, will you ever understand any parable? 14The sower sows God's message. 15Some people are like the seeds that fall along the path; as soon as they hear the message, Satan comes and takes it away. 16Other people are like the seeds that fall on rocky ground. As soon as they hear the message, they receive it gladly. 17But it does not sink deep into them, and they don't last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once. 18Other people are like the seeds sown among the thorn bushes. These are the ones who hear the message, 19but the worries about this life, the love for riches, and all other kinds of desires crowd in and choke the message, and they don't bear fruit. 20But other people are like the seeds sown in good soil. They hear the message, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty, some sixty, and some 100.”
Jesus continued, “Does anyone ever bring in a lamp and put it under a bowl or under the bed? Doesn't he put it on the lampstand? 22
Whatever is hidden away will be brought out into the open, and whatever is covered up will be uncovered. 23Listen, then, if you have ears!”
He also said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear! The same rules you use to judge others will be used by God to judge you — but with even greater severity. 25
Those who have something will be given more, and those who have nothing will have taken away from them even the little they have.”
26Jesus went on to say, “The Kingdom of God is like this. A man scatters seed in his field. 27He sleeps at night, is up and about during the day, and all the while the seeds are sprouting and growing. Yet he does not know how it happens. 28The soil itself makes the plants grow and bear fruit; first the tender stalk appears, then the ear, and finally the ear full of corn. 29
When the corn is ripe, the man starts cutting it with his sickle, because harvest time has come.
30“What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like?” asked Jesus. “What parable shall we use to explain it? 31It is like this. A man takes a mustard seed, the smallest seed in the world, and plants it in the ground. 32After a while it grows up and becomes the biggest of all plants. It puts out such large branches that the birds come and make their nests in its shade.”
33Jesus preached his message to the people, using many other parables like these; he told them as much as they could understand. 34He would not speak to them without using parables, but when he was alone with his disciples, he would explain everything to them.
35On the evening of that same day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” 36So they left the crowd; the disciples got into the boat in which Jesus was already sitting, and they took him with them. Other boats were there too. 37Suddenly a strong wind blew up, and the waves began to spill over into the boat, so that it was about to fill with water. 38Jesus was in the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow. The disciples woke him up and said, “Teacher, don't you care that we are about to die?”
39Jesus stood up and commanded the wind, “Be quiet!” and he said to the waves, “Be still!” The wind died down, and there was a great calm. 40Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Why are you frightened? Have you still no faith?”
41But they were terribly afraid and said to one another, “Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”