Mark 2:13-22

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 on behalf of the government. 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 on behalf of the government. 16 Some teachers of God's Law who were Pharisees saw what was happening. They said to Jesus' disciples, ‘He is eating with men who take taxes on behalf of the government and those other bad people. 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 said that it was wrong for Jesus to eat with bad people. The Pharisees thought that they themselves were very good people. They tried to obey 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 not eating any food. Some people came to Jesus and they asked him this question: ‘The disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees often stop eating food for a time. So why do your disciples never do that?’

2:18John the Baptist and the Pharisees taught their disciples to 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 refuse to eat food 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 stop eating food.’

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 that people make from fruit. 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.
2:22The Pharisees had many old rules that their leaders had taught them to obey. These rules were not from God. Jesus was teaching the people that the old wineskins were like those old rules. And the old coat was also like those old rules. The new wine and the new cloth are like the things that Jesus was teaching them. People must not mix these different things together.