Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to his own town.
Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "Take heart, son! Your sins are forgiven."
"Blasphemy! This man talks like he is God!" some of the teachers of religious law said among themselves.
Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, "Why are you thinking such evil thoughts?
Is it easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven' or 'Get up and walk'?
I will prove that I, the Son of Man, have the authority on earth to forgive sins." Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, "Stand up, take your mat, and go on home, because you are healed!"
And the man jumped up and went home!
Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen right before their eyes. They praised God for sending a man with such great authority.
As Jesus was going down the road, he saw Matthew sitting at his tax-collection booth. "Come, be my disciple," Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
That night Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners.
The Pharisees were indignant. "Why does your teacher eat with such scum?" they asked his disciples.
References for Matthew 9:11
When he heard this, Jesus replied, "Healthy people don't need a doctor -- sick people do."
Then he added, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: 'I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices.' For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough."
References for Matthew 9:13
One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples don't fast?"
Jesus responded, "Should the wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Someday he will be taken from them, and then they will fast.
And who would patch an old garment with unshrunk cloth? For the patch shrinks and pulls away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger hole than before.
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. The old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins. That way both the wine and the wineskins are preserved."
As Jesus was saying this, the leader of a synagogue came and knelt down before him. "My daughter has just died," he said, "but you can bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand upon her."
As Jesus and the disciples were going to the official's home,
a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe,
for she thought, "If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed."
Jesus turned around and said to her, "Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well." And the woman was healed at that moment.
When Jesus arrived at the official's home, he noticed the noisy crowds and heard the funeral music.
He said, "Go away, for the girl isn't dead; she's only asleep." But the crowd laughed at him.
When the crowd was finally outside, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she stood up!
The report of this miracle swept through the entire countryside.
After Jesus left the girl's home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, "Son of David, have mercy on us!"
They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, "Do you believe I can make you see?" "Yes, Lord," they told him, "we do."
Then he touched their eyes and said, "Because of your faith, it will happen."
And suddenly they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, "Don't tell anyone about this."
But instead, they spread his fame all over the region.
When they left, some people brought to him a man who couldn't speak because he was possessed by a demon.
So Jesus cast out the demon, and instantly the man could talk. The crowds marveled. "Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!" they exclaimed.
But the Pharisees said, "He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons."
Jesus traveled through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever he went, he healed people of every sort of disease and illness.
He felt great pity for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn't know where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd.
He said to his disciples, "The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few.
So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send out more workers for his fields."