"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? 5Is it easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven' or 'Get up and walk'? 6I 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!"7
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 scuma?" they asked his disciples.
When he heard this, Jesus replied, "Healthy people don't need a doctor -- sick people do." 13
Then he added, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: 'I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices.' b For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)