1 Now it happened while Jesus was standing on the shore of Lake Genneseret [i.e., Lake Galilee] that the crowd was pushing closer to Him to hear God's message. 2 He saw two boats [tied up] along the shore of the lake, for the fishermen had left them [there] and were washing their nets [i.e., on the beach]. 3 So, He entered one of the boats that belonged to Simon [i.e., Peter], and asked him to launch out a short distance from shore. Then He sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
4 And when He had finished talking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into deeper water and lower your nets for a catch [of fish]."
5 Simon replied, "Master, we worked all night, but did not catch anything. But I will lower the nets if you say so."
6 And when they had done this, they gathered in a large number of fish [until] their nets began to break. 7 So, they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. When they came, they filled both boats until they began to sink.
8 But when Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, because I am a sinful man." 9 For he and those who were with him were amazed at the [huge] quantity of fish they had caught. 10 Simon's partners James and John, sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. So, Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will catch people." 11 And when they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.
12 And it happened while Jesus was in one of the towns [i.e., surrounding Lake Galilee], that a man covered with an infectious skin disease appeared and, when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face [to the ground] and begged Him, saying, "If you want to, you can heal me." [Note: Throughout this narrative the terms "heal/healing" are originally "clean/cleansing" because the Jews viewed a person with such a disease as ceremonially "unclean." See Lev. 13:1-3].
13 Then He reached out His hand and touched the man, saying, "I [do] want to; be healed." And immediately the infectious skin disease left him. 14 Then He ordered the man not to tell anyone [about the healing], saying, "Go on your way and show yourself to the priest and offer the proper sacrifice for your healing that Moses required [Lev. 13:49; 14:2ff] as evidence to people [that you were healed]."
15 But the news about what Jesus had done spread all the more widely, so that large crowds assembled to listen to Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 So, He went away to deserted places and prayed.
17 And it happened on one of those days [in Capernaum. See Mark 2:1], as He was teaching, that some Pharisees [i.e., a strict sect of the Jewish religion] and teachers of the law of Moses, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem, were sitting around [i.e., listening to Him]. And the power of the Lord was with Him, enabling Him to heal people. 18 Just then [four] men [See Mark 2:3] brought a paralyzed man on a cot and attempted to place him in front of Jesus. 19 But because they could not find a [suitable] way to get him in [to the house] because of the people crowded [around], they went up to the housetop [Note: This was a flat area, where people retired for rest, prayer, etc., with a stairway accessible from the outside] and lowered the man on his cot through the roof tiles into the presence of Jesus.
20 And when He saw the evidence of their faith, He said, "Man, your sins are forgiven."
21 Then the experts in the law of Moses and the Pharisees began to reason [in their minds], saying, "Who is this man who speaks things against God [i.e., by claiming the ability to forgive sins]? Who can forgive sins except God only?"
22 But Jesus perceived their reasonings and answered them, "Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier; to say [to the paralyzed man], 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? 24 But so you will know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins, (He then said to the paralyzed man), 'I say to you, get up, pick up your cot and go home.'"
25 So, immediately he stood up in front of them and picked up what he had been lying on [i.e., his cot], and went home, giving honor to God. 26 And everyone was filled with amazement; they gave honor to God and were overwhelmed with reverence, saying, "We have seen incredible things today."
27 Then after these things happened, Jesus went out [i.e., probably walking along a street] and saw a publican [Note: This was a person with a bad reputation for dishonest tax collecting activities] named Matthew [i.e., the same as Levi. See Mark 2:14] sitting at the toll booth [collecting taxes] and said, "Become my follower." 28 So, Matthew gave up everything, got up and followed Jesus.
29 Then Levi prepared a lavish dinner for Jesus at his house. A large number of [other] tax collectors were [also] having dinner with them. 30 Now the Pharisees and their experts in the law of Moses complained to Jesus' disciples, saying, "Why do you men eat and drink with tax collectors and worldly people?"
31 And Jesus answered them, "People who are healthy do not need a doctor, but [only] sick people do. 32 I did not come to call those who are doing right to repent [i.e., to change their hearts and lives], but [only those who are] sinners."
33 Then they said to Jesus, "John [the Immerser's] disciples fast frequently [i.e., going without food and/or drink for religious reasons] and they offer earnest prayer requests, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same things. But your disciples eat and drink."
34 Jesus answered them, "Can you force the companions of the groom to fast while the groom is [still] with them? 35 But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them [Note: Jesus here refers to Himself]. Then they will fast at that time."
36 And He told them a parable [i.e., a brief story to illustrate His teaching]: "No one tears a piece [of cloth] from a new item of clothing and sews it on an old one. If he does, it will tear the new one. And besides, the piece [of cloth] from the new clothing will not match the old one. 37 And no one puts freshly squeezed grape juice into previously used bottles made of animal skins. [If he does], the newly squeezed juice will [crack and] burst the [dried out] animal skins and [all the juice will] spill out, and the animal skin bottles will [also] become useless. 38 But freshly squeezed grape juice must be put into newly made animal skins. 39 And no one who has drunk aged wine wants newly squeezed [juice], for he says, 'The older [grape juice] is better.'"