Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.
Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.
When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?
Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?
But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him,
and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.