The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
It is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way"--
"a voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' "
And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert,
and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.
15"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"16
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
17"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."18
At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.
Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.
The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out,
"What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!"
25"Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!"26
The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching--and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him."
News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.
Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her.
So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.
The whole town gathered at the door,
and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Simon and his companions went to look for him,
and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"
Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come."39
So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean."
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!"42
Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning:
44"See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."45
Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.
So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.
Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.
Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."6
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves,
"Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things?9Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'?10But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . ." He said to the paralytic,
11"I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home."12
He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"
Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them.
As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, "How is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?"
Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them.20But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.21"No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.22And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins."
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.
The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"
He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions."27
Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.
Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.
Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."4
Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent.
He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed.
When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon.
Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.
For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.
Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God."
But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.
Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.
He appointed twelve--designating them apostles--that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons.
These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter);
James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder);
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot
and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.
When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebub ! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons."
So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: "How can Satan drive out Satan?24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.27In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.28I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them.29But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."30
He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit."
Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.
A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you."
33"Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers!35Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge.
He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:
3"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."9
Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."10
When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.
He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables12so that, " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!' "13
Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?14The farmer sows the word.15Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.16Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.17But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.18Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;19but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.20Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop--thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."
He said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand?22For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.23If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."24"Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more.25Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."
He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.27Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.28All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.29As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."
Again he said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?31It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground.32Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."33
With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.
He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side."36
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"41
They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"