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Chapter 5

1Once as the crowd was pressing about him to hear God’s message, he happened to be standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2and he saw two boats on the shore of the lake, for the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3And he got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to push out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds of people from the boat. 4When he stopped speaking, he said to Simon,

“Push out into deep water, and then put down your nets for a haul.”

5Simon answered,

“Master, we worked all night and caught nothing, but as you tell me to do it, I will put down the nets.”

6So they did so, and inclosed such a shoal of fish that their nets began to break. 7And they signaled to their comrades in the other boat to come and help them. And they came, and they filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ feet and said,

“Leave me, Master, for I am a sinful man.”

9For he and all the men with him were perfectly amazed at the haul of fish they had made, 10and so were Zebedee’s sons, James and John, who were Simon’s partners. Jesus said to Simon,

“Do not be afraid. From now on you are to catch men!”

11And they brought the boats to land and left everything and followed him.

12When he was in one of the towns, he came upon a man covered with leprosy. And when he saw Jesus he fell down on his face, and begged him, saying,

“If you only choose, sir, you can cure me!”

13And he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying,

“I do choose! Be cured!”

And the leprosy immediately left him, 14Then he warned him to tell nobody,

“But go,” he said, “show yourself to the priest, and in proof of your cure make the offerings for your purification, just as Moses prescribed.”

15Yet the news about him spread more and more, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. 16But Jesus himself would retire into the desert and pray.

17One day as he was teaching, there were some Pharisees and experts in the Law sitting near by, who had come from every village in Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. The power of the Lord was there, so that he might cure people. 18Some men came up carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they tried to get him in and lay him before Jesus. 19And as they could find no way to get him in, on account of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his mat through the tiles, among the people in front of Jesus. 20When he saw their faith, he said,

“Friend, your sins are forgiven!”

21And the scribes and the Pharisees began to debate and say,

“Who is this man who talks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22But Jesus saw what they were discussing, and said to them,

“What are you pondering over in your minds? 23Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24But to let you know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”—turning to the man who was paralyzed he said to him—“I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

25And he got up at once before them all, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, praising God. 26They were all seized with astonishment, and praised God, and filled with awe they said,

“We have seen something wonderful today!”

27After this he went out, and he saw a tax-collector named Levi sitting at the tollhouse, and he said to him,

“Follow me!”

28And he left everything and got up and followed him. 29Then Levi gave a great entertainment for him in his house, and there was a great throng of tax-collectors and others who were at table with them. 30And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled about it to his disciples, and said,

“Why do you eat and drink with tax-collectors and irreligious people?” 31Jesus answered them,

“It is not well people but the sick who have to have the doctor. 32I have not come to invite the pious but the irreligious to repentance!”

33They said to him,

“John’s disciples observe frequent fasts and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but your disciples eat and drink.”

34Jesus said to them,

“Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35But other days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, in those days they will fast.”

36He used this figure also in speaking to them:

“No one tears a piece from a new coat and sews it on an old one, or if he does, he will both tear the new one and the piece from the new one will not match the old one. 37And nobody puts new wine into old wine-skins, or if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and run out, and the skins will be spoiled. 38New wine has to be put into fresh skins. 39No one after drinking old wine wants new, for he says, ‘The old is better!’ ”

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