Mark 2

Jesus helps a man who cannot walk

1 Several days after that, Jesus returned to Capernaum. People heard the news that he had come back to his home. 2 Many people came into the house. The house was so full that there was no room, even outside the door. Jesus was teaching people about the good news. 3 Four men came. They were carrying another man on a mat. That man could not move his legs. 4 They could not reach Jesus because of the crowd. So they made a hole in the roof above the place where Jesus was. They helped the man to go down through the hole. He was still lying on his mat. 5 Jesus saw the man and his friends. He knew that they believed in him. So he said to the man who could not walk, ‘My friend, I forgive you for your sins.’

2:4Houses in Israel had flat roofs. There were steps outside the house up to the roof. The roof was made of small sticks and hard dry soil. It was easy for the men to make a big hole in the roof. Then they could tie ropes on to the mat and they could put it down through the roof.

6 But some teachers of God's Law were sitting there. They thought about the words that Jesus had spoken to the man. 7 They thought, ‘This man Jesus should not have said that. He is speaking as if he is God. Only God can forgive people for their sins.’

8 Immediately, Jesus knew in his spirit what the teachers were thinking. He said to them, ‘You should not think these things. 9 I said to this man who cannot walk, “I forgive you for your sins.” Instead, I could have said to him, “Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Which of those is easier for me to say? 10 But I want you to know this. I, the Son of Man, have authority on earth to forgive people for their sins.’ Then he said to the man who could not walk, 11 ‘I am saying to you, stand up! Pick up your mat and go home.’ 12 Immediately, the man stood up. He picked up his mat and he walked out of the house. Everyone watched him do this. The people were very surprised. They praised God and they said, ‘God is great. We have never seen anything like this before.’

2:10Jesus often called himself the Son of Man. He may have done this so that people would remember about some messages in the Bible. See Daniel 7:13-14.

Jesus asks Levi to be his disciple

13 Jesus went to the shore of Lake Galilee again. A large crowd came to him, and he taught them. 14 While Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Levi. Levi was the son of Alphaeus. His job was to take taxes from people. He was sitting in his office. Jesus said to him, ‘Come with me and be my disciple.’ Levi stood up and he went with Jesus.

2:14Levi took money on behalf of the Roman government. The Jews did not like men who did this job.

15 Then Jesus went to eat a meal at Levi's house. Many people followed Jesus and they ate there with him and with his disciples. Many of these were bad people and also men who took taxes. 16 Some teachers of God's Law who were Pharisees saw what was happening. They said to Jesus' disciples, ‘He is eating with bad people and men who take taxes. That is not right.’

2:16The Pharisees taught people the rules that God had given to Moses. They also taught many of their own ideas. They thought that it was wrong for Jesus to eat with those kinds of people. The Pharisees thought that they themselves were very good people. They thought that they obeyed all of God's rules.

17 Jesus heard what these people were saying. He said to them, ‘People who are well do not need a doctor. It is people who are ill that need a doctor. Some people think that they always obey God. I did not come to help people like that. Some people know that they have done wrong things. I am asking those people to come to me for help.’

18 At this time, the disciples of John the Baptist and the disciples of the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came to Jesus and they asked him this question: ‘The disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees often fast for a time. So why do your disciples never do that?’

2:18John the Baptist and the Pharisees taught their disciples to fast (stop eating food) for a certain time. They did this to show that they were serving God.

19 Jesus answered them, ‘When a man marries, his friends cannot refuse to eat. They cannot fast while he is with them. 20 But there will be a time when people will take the man away from his friends. At that time his friends will fast.’

2:20Jesus often told stories to teach the people. In this story, Jesus is like the man who marries. His disciples are like the friends. While Jesus was with his disciples, they were very happy. But soon his enemies would kill him. Then the disciples would be sad.

21 Then Jesus said, ‘Nobody uses a piece of new cloth to mend an old coat. If he does, the new cloth will cause the old cloth to tear again. It will make a bigger hole than before. 22 And nobody pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does that, the new wine will tear the old wineskins. He will lose the wine and the wineskins will spoil. Instead, you must put new wine into new wineskins.’

2:22Wine is a strong drink. It needs more room as it gets older. People put wine in wineskins to keep it. Wineskins become hard when they get older, so new wine would cause them to tear. The Pharisees had many rules that were not from God. Jesus was teaching the people that the old wineskins were like those rules. The new wine was like the things that Jesus was teaching them. Jesus' new teaching did not mix with the old rules.

Jesus answers questions about the day of rest

23 On one Jewish day of rest, Jesus and his disciples were walking through some fields where wheat was growing. While they were walking along, his disciples picked some grains of wheat. 24 Some Pharisees said to Jesus, ‘Look at what your disciples are doing. They should not do that on our day of rest. It is against God's Law.’

25 Jesus replied, ‘You have certainly read about what David did one day. He and the men who were with him were very hungry. They needed food to eat. 26 David went into the temple. He ate the special bread that was there. He gave some of it to his men to eat as well. This happened during the time that Abiathar was the leader of the priests. It is against God's Law for anyone except the priests to eat that special bread.’

2:25See 1 Samuel 21.

27 Then Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘God wanted to help people. So he made a day for them when they should rest. He did not make people so that they could keep laws about the day of rest. 28 So you should know that the Son of Man has authority over the laws about the day of rest.’