As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God's word, He was standing by Lake Gennesaret.
He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.
He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then He sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat.
When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch."
"Master," Simon replied, "we've worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your word, I'll let down the nets."
When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear.
So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, because I'm a sinful man, Lord!"
For he and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they took,
and so were James and John, Zebedee's sons, who were Simon's partners. "Don't be afraid," Jesus told Simon. "From now on you will be catching people!"
Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed Him.
While He was in one of the towns, a man was there who had a serious skin disease all over him. He saw Jesus, fell facedown, and begged Him: "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."
Reaching out His hand, He touched him, saying, "I am willing; be made clean," and immediately the disease left him.
Then He ordered him to tell no one: "But go and show yourself to the priest, and offer what Moses prescribed for your cleansing as a testimony to them."
But the news about Him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses.
Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.
On one of those days while He was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea, and also from Jerusalem. And the Lord's power to heal was in Him.
Just then some men came, carrying on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed. They tried to bring him in and set him down before Him.
Since they could not find a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the roof tiles into the middle of the crowd before Jesus.
Seeing their faith He said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you."
Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason: "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
But perceiving their thoughts, Jesus replied to them, "Why are you reasoning this in your hearts?
Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'?
But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -He told the paralyzed man, "I tell you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go home."
Immediately he got up before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God.
Then everyone was astounded, and they were giving glory to God. And they were filled with awe and said, "We have seen incredible things today!"
After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me!"
So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow Him.
Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for Him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were guests with them.
But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to His disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus replied to them, "The healthy don't need a doctor, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Then they said to Him, "John's disciples fast often and say prayers, and those of the Pharisees do the same, but Yours eat and drink."
Jesus said to them, "You can't make the wedding guests fast while the groom is with them, can you?
But the days will come when the groom will be taken away from them-then they will fast in those days."
He also told them a parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. Otherwise, not only will he tear the new, but also the piece from the new garment will not match the old.
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, it will spill, and the skins will be ruined.
But new wine should be put into fresh wineskins.
And no one, after drinking old wine, wants new, because he says, 'The old is better.' "