Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. The Spirit led him into the desert.
There the devil tempted him for 40 days. Jesus ate nothing during that time. At the end of the 40 days, he was hungry.
The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."
Jesus answered, "It is written, 'Man doesn't live only on bread.' "#1(Deuteronomy 8:3)#2
Then the devil led Jesus up to a high place. In an instant, he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world.
He said to him, "I will give you all their authority and glory. It has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.
So if you worship me, it will all be yours."
Jesus answered, "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God. He is the only one you should serve.' "#1(Deuteronomy 6:13)#2
Then the devil led Jesus to Jerusalem. He had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here.
It is written, " 'The Lord will command his angels to take good care of you.
They will lift you up in their hands. Then you won't trip over a stone.' " #1(Psalm 91:11,12)#2
Jesus answered, "Scripture says, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "#1(Deuteronomy 6:16)#2
When the devil finished all this tempting, he left Jesus until a better time.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit. News about him spread through the whole countryside.
He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. On the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue as he usually did. And he stood up to read.
The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He unrolled it and found the right place. There it is written,
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me. He has anointed me to tell the good news to poor people. He has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners. He has sent me so that the blind will see again. He wants me to free those who are beaten down.
And he has sent me to announce the year when he will set his people free." #1(Isaiah 61:1,2)#2
Then Jesus rolled up the scroll. He gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were staring at him.
He began by saying to them, "Today this passage of Scripture is coming true as you listen."
Everyone said good things about him. They were amazed at the gracious words they heard from his lips. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked.
Jesus said, "Here is a saying you will certainly apply to me. 'Doctor, heal yourself! Do the things here in your hometown that we heard you did in Capernaum.' "
"What I'm about to tell you is true," he continued. "A prophet is not accepted in his hometown.
I tell you for sure that there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah. And there had been no rain for three and a half years. There wasn't enough food to eat anywhere in the land.
But Elijah was not sent to any of those widows. Instead, he was sent to a widow in Zarephath near Sidon.
And there were many in Israel who had skin diseases in the days of Elisha the prophet. But not one of them was healed except Naaman the Syrian."
All the people in the synagogue were very angry when they heard that.
They got up and ran Jesus out of town. They took him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They planned to throw him down the cliff.
But Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Then Jesus went to Capernaum, a town in Galilee. On the Sabbath day he began to teach the people.
They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.
In the synagogue there was a man controlled by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice.
"Ha!" he said. "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are. You are the Holy One of God!"
"Be quiet!" Jesus said firmly. "Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down in front of everybody. And it came out without hurting him.
All the people were amazed. They said to each other, "What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits. And they come out!"
The news about Jesus spread throughout the whole area.
Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. At that time, Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever. So they asked Jesus to help her.
He bent over her and commanded the fever to leave, and it left her. She got up at once and began to serve them.
At sunset, people brought to Jesus all who were sick. He placed his hands on each one and healed them.
Also, demons came out of many people. The demons shouted, "You are the Son of God!" But he commanded them to be quiet. He would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.
At dawn, Jesus went out to a place where he could be by himself. The people went to look for him. When they found him, they tried to keep him from leaving them.
But he said, "I must announce the good news of God's kingdom to the other towns also. That is why I was sent."
And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
One day Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee. The people crowded around him and listened to the word of God.
Jesus saw two boats at the edge of the water. They had been left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.
He got into the boat that belonged to Simon. Jesus asked him to go out a little way from shore. Then he sat down in the boat and taught the people.
When he finished speaking, he turned to Simon. He said, "Go out into deep water. Let the nets down so you can catch some fish."
Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."
When they had done so, they caught a large number of fish. There were so many that their nets began to break.
So they motioned 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. "Go away from me, Lord!" he said. "I am a sinful man!"
He and everyone with him were amazed at the number of fish they had caught.
So were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who worked with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid. From now on you will catch people."
So they pulled their boats up on shore. Then they left everything and followed him.
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along. He had a skin disease all over his body. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground. He begged him, "Lord, if you are willing to make me 'clean,' you can do it."
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing to do it," he said. "Be 'clean'!" Right away the disease left him.
Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone. Go and show yourself to the priest. Offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded. It will be a witness to the priest and the people that you are 'clean.' "
But the news about Jesus spread even more. So crowds of people came to hear him. They also came to be healed of their sicknesses.
But Jesus often went away to be by himself and pray.
One day Jesus was teaching. Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. They heard that the Lord had given Jesus the power to heal the sick.
Some men came carrying a man who could not walk. He was lying on a mat. They tried to take him into the house to place him in front of Jesus.
They could not find a way to do this because of the crowd. So they went up on the roof. Then they lowered the man on his mat through the opening in the roof tiles. They lowered him into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw that they had faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to think, "Who is this fellow who says such an evil thing? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?
Is it easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven'? Or to say, 'Get up and walk'?
I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." So he spoke to the man who could not walk. "I tell you," he said, "get up. Take your mat and go home."
Right away, the man stood up in front of them. He took his mat and went home praising God.
Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with wonder. They said, "We have seen unusual things today."
After this, Jesus left the house. He saw a tax collector sitting at the tax booth. The man's name was Levi. "Follow me," Jesus said to him.
Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
Then Levi gave a huge dinner for Jesus at his house. A large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.
But the Pharisees and their teachers of the law complained to Jesus' disciples. They said, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
Jesus answered them, "Those who are healthy don't need a doctor. Sick people do.
I have not come to get those who think they are right with God to follow me. I have come to get sinners to turn away from their sins."
Some of the people who were there said to Jesus, "John's disciples often pray and go without eating. So do the disciples of the Pharisees. But yours go on eating and drinking."
Jesus answered, "Can you make the guests of the groom go without eating while he is with them?
But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them. In those days they will fast."
Then Jesus gave them an example. He said, "People don't tear a patch from new clothes and sew it on old clothes. If they do, they will tear the new clothes. Also, the patch from the new clothes will not match the old clothes.
People don't pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the new wine will burst the skins. The wine will run out, and the wineskins will be destroyed.
No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.
After people drink old wine, they don't want the new. They say, 'The old wine is better.' "