On one occasion the crowd was pressing on Him and listening to God's Message, while He was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He, however, saw two fishing-boats drawn up on the beach (for the men had gone away from them and were washing the nets),
and going on board one of them, which was Simon's He asked him to push out a little from land. Then He sat down and taught the crowd of people from the boat.
When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, 'Push out into deep water, and let down your nets for a haul.'
'Rabbi,' replied Peter, 'all night long we have worked hard and caught nothing; but at your command I will let down the nets.'
This they did, and enclosed a vast number of fish; and their nets began to break.
So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came, and they filled both the boats so that they almost sank.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at the knees of Jesus, and exclaimed, 'Master, leave my boat, for I am a sinful man.'
(For he was astonished and terrified--he and all his companions--at the haul of fish which they had taken;
and so were Simon's partners James and John, the sons of Zabdi.) But Jesus replied to Simon, 'Fear not: from this time you shall be a catcher of men.'
Then, after bringing their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
On another occasion, when He was in one of the towns, there was a man there covered with leprosy, who, seeing Jesus, threw himself at His feet and implored Him, saying, 'Sir, if only you are willing, you are able to make me clean.'
Reaching out His hand and touching him, Jesus said, 'I am willing; be cleansed!' And instantly the leprosy left him.
He ordered him to tell no one. 'But go,' He said, 'show yourself to the Priest, and make the offering for your purification which Moses appointed, as evidence for them.'
But all the more the report about Him spread abroad, and great multitudes crowded to hear Him and to be cured of their diseases;
but Jesus Himself constantly withdrew into the Desert and there prayed.
One day He was teaching, and there were Pharisees and teachers of the Law sitting there who had come from every village in Galilee and Judaea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present for Him to cure people.
And a party of men came carrying a palsied man on a bed, and they endeavoured to bring him in and lay him before Jesus.
But when they could find no way of doing so because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiling--bed and all--into the midst, in front of Jesus.
He saw their faith and said to him, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.'
Then the Scribes and Pharisees began to cavil, asking, 'Who is this, uttering blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?'
Well aware of their reasonings, Jesus answered their questions by asking in turn, 'What is this that you are debating in your hearts?
Which is easier? --to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'?
But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins' --Turning to the paralytic He said, 'I bid you, Rise, take up your bed, and go home.'
Instantly he stood up in their presence, took up the mattress on which he had been lying, and went away to his home, giving glory to God.
Amazement seized them all. 'Glory to God!' was the abiding feeling. Yet fear flashed through their minds and they said, 'We have seen strange things to-day.'
After this He went out and noticed a tax-gatherer, Levi by name, sitting at the Toll office; and He said to him, 'Follow me.'
He rose, left everything, and followed Him.
Levi also gave a great entertainment at his house in honour of Jesus, and there was a large party of tax-gatherers and others at table with them.
This led the Pharisees and Scribes of their party to expostulate with His disciples and ask, 'Why are you eating and drinking with these tax-gatherers and notorious sinners?'
But Jesus replied to them, 'It is not men in good health who require a physician, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners.'
Again they said to Him, 'John's disciples fast often and pray, as do also those of the pharisees; but yours eat and drink.'
'Can you compel the bridal party to fast,' replied Jesus, 'so long as they have the bridegroom among them?
But a time for this will come, when the Bridegroom has been taken away from them: then, at that time, they will fast.'
He also spoke in figurative language to them. 'No one,' He said, 'tears a piece from a new garment to mend an old one. Otherwise he would not only spoil the new, but the patch from the new would not match the old.
Nor does any one pour new wine into old wine-skins. Otherwise the new wine would burst the skins, the wine itself would be spilt, and the skins be destroyed.
But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
Nor does any one after drinking old wine wish for new; for he says, 'The old is better.''