Jesus heals a paralytic by forgiving his sins and calls Matthew (Levi) to leave tax collecting and join us to become his disciple. Jesus also makes some comments about the observance of fasting and the Sabbath.
After several days, Jesus returned to my home in Capernaum. The news got around quickly and before long so many people had crowded into the house that there was no more room. There was no place to sit or stand, even outside the door within hearing distance. While Jesus was explaining the message of salvation to them, four men arrived carrying a paralytic. They couldn’t get inside because of the crowd so they climbed up on the roof, opened up a hole right above Jesus and lowered the man stretcher and all. When Jesus saw this remarkable act of faith he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven!” (1-5)
Mingling with the crowd were some teachers of religious law who reasoned to themselves, “How does he dare speak like that? That’s blasphemy! No one but God can forgive sins!”
Right away Jesus was aware of what they were thinking, so he asked, “Why are you pondering ideas like that? Tell me; is it easier to say to this paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say to him, “Stand up, pick up your stretcher and walk?” So you will see that I, the Son of Man, have authority here on earth to forgive sins, I now say to this paralytic, “Stand up, pick up your stretcher and go home!” Right before their eyes the paralyzed man rose to his feet, reached down to pick up his stretcher, then walked out of the house right through the crowd.
Everyone was astonished. Praising God, they exclaimed, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” (6-12)
Once again Jesus went out along the lake and began to teach all those who came to hear him. As he walked along, he saw a local customs officer, Levi son of Alphaeus, sitting where he collected taxes. “Come with me,” said Jesus. “Be my disciple.” So Levi got up and went with him.
Later on Jesus was having a meal in Levi’s house. We disciples were there along with a number of tax collectors and other religious outcasts who were followers of Jesus. When the teachers of religious law within the Pharisee party saw Jesus eating with people that they considered ceremonial unclean, they asked us, “Why in the world does your teacher eat with tax collectors and other religious outcasts?”
Jesus overheard this and said to them, “It is sick people who need a doctor, not the healthy. I’ve not come to call to repentance those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (13-17)
On one occasion some of John the Baptist’s disciples who were trying to live by Pharisaic rules were keeping a fast. Some people came to Jesus and asked, “Why do John’s disciples join the Pharisees in fasting, but yours do not?”
Jesus replied, “Surely wedding guests do not fast as long as the bridegroom is still with them. The day will come when the bridegroom is no longer with them and that’s when they can fast. (18-20)
“No one uses a piece of new cloth in mending a tear in an old garment. If they did, the new patch would shrink and tear away from the garment, leaving it worse than before. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If they did, the fermenting wine would burst the wineskins and both wine and skins would be lost. No, new wine belongs in brand new wineskins.” (21-22)
One Sabbath day Jesus and the rest of us were out walking and our route took us past a grain field. As we made our way, we began to pick some heads of wheat (as allowed by OT law). Some Pharisees, who were watching, said to Jesus, “Look at them! Why are they doing what is strictly forbidden on the Sabbath?”
Jesus responded, “Have you never read what David did when he and his men were hungry and needed something to eat — how he went into the house of God and, although it was against the law, ate the sacred bread and even gave some to his companions?” (This was during the days when Abiathar was high priest and no one except priests were allowed to eat the sacred loaves.)
“So you see,” said Jesus, “the Sabbath was made for our benefit; we weren’t created for it. That is why the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (23-28)