Mark 2English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus Heals a Paralytic
2 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Jesus Calls Levi
13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of[a] the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat[b] with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
A Question About Fasting
18 Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”[c]
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of[d] Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
Mark 2The Voice (VOICE)
2 1-2 Some days later when Jesus came back to Capernaum, people heard that Jesus was back in town and many gathered at the house where He was staying. Soon the crowd overflowed from the house into the streets, and still more people pressed forward to hear Jesus teaching the message of God’s kingdom. 3 Four men tried to bring a crippled friend to Him; 4 but since the crowd prevented their carrying him close enough to get Jesus’ attention, they climbed up onto the roof, opened a hole in it, and lowered the paralyzed man on his mat down to Jesus.
5 Jesus recognized the faith of these men.
Jesus (to the paralyzed man): Son, your sins are forgiven.
6-7 Some scribes were sitting in the crowd, and they didn’t like what they were hearing.
Scribes (reasoning to themselves): What does this Jesus think He is doing? This kind of talk is blasphemy, an offense against the Most High! Only God can forgive sins.
8 At once Jesus realized what they were thinking. He turned to them.
Jesus: Why do My words trouble you so? 9 Think about this: is it easier to tell this paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to tell him, “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk”? 10 Still, I want to show you that the Son of Man has been given the authority on earth to forgive sins. (to the paralytic) 11 Get up, pick up your mat, and go home.
12 The man rose to his feet, immediately rolled up his mat, and walked out into the streets. Everyone in the crowd was amazed. All they could do was shake their heads, thank God for this miracle, and say to each other, “We’ve never seen anything like that!”
To some who believe wholeheartedly in God’s laws, Jesus is a troublemaker, a mere man who has a bad habit of making statements that take away from the honor due to the one true God. The “scribes” who make these kinds of accusations against Jesus are usually connected to the Pharisees (a Jewish sect popular with the people, mostly middle class, and religiously strict when it comes to following God’s laws) or the Sadducees (a smaller Jewish sect made up of priests and aristocrats from Jerusalem). While the two groups often clash with each other politically and theologically, they do find common ground—and sometimes even work together—in opposing Jesus.
13 Another time Jesus was out walking alongside the Sea of Galilee teaching the gathering crowd as He went. 14 He saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the booth where he collected taxes.
Jesus (calling out to him): Follow Me.
Levi left the booth and went along with Him.
Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, like His invitations to all the disciples, involves a lot more than joining the caravan; Jesus’ invitation is for sinners to change their ways of life. Jesus makes it clear, despite the criticisms of some observers, that this invitation is indeed open to all—especially to the sinners who need it most. Jesus grants to those who choose Him not just companionship and forgiveness but the ability to truly receive a new identity and live a new life.
15 At Levi’s house, many tax collectors and other sinners—Jews who did not keep the strict purity laws of the Jewish holy texts—were dining with Jesus and His disciples. Jesus had attracted such a large following that all kinds of people surrounded Him. 16 When the Pharisees’ scribes saw who shared the table with Jesus, they were quick to criticize:
Scribes (to His disciples): If your master is such a righteous person, then why does He eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners, the worst among us?
17 Jesus heard them.
Jesus (to the scribes): People who have their health don’t need to see a doctor. Only those who are sick do. I’m not here to call those already in good standing with God; I’m here to call sinners to turn back to Him.[a]
18 The disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees made a practice of fasting.
Some Jews fast twice a week and pray three times daily, but Jesus has a different set of practices for His followers. Some of the pious are disturbed by this.
Some People (to Jesus): Why is it that John’s followers and the Pharisees’ followers fast, but Your disciples are eating and drinking like it was any other day?
Jesus: 19 Guests at the wedding can’t fast when the bridegroom is with them. It would be wrong to do anything but feast. 20 When the bridegroom is snatched away from them, then the time will come to fast and mourn.
21 These are new things I’m teaching, and they can’t be reconciled with old habits. Nobody would ever use a piece of new cloth to patch an old garment because when the patch shrinks, it pulls away and makes the tear even worse. 22 And nobody puts new, unfermented wine into old wineskins because if he does, the wine will burst the skins; they would lose both the wineskins and the wine. No, the only appropriate thing is to put new wine into new wineskins.
23 One Sabbath Jesus and His disciples were walking through a field of grain; as they walked, His disciples grew hungry. They began to pull from the stalks and eat.
24 The Pharisees confronted Him.
Pharisees: Did You see that? Why are Your disciples doing what our law forbids on the Sabbath?
Jesus (turning toward the Pharisees): 25 Do you remember the story about what King David and his followers did when they were hungry and had nothing to eat?
They said nothing, so He continued.
Jesus: 26 David went into the house of God, when Abiathar was the high priest, and ate the bread that was consecrated to God. Now our laws say no one but the priests can eat that holy bread; but when David was hungry, he ate and also shared the bread with those who followed him.[b]
27 The Sabbath was made for the needs of human beings, and not the other way around. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even over the Sabbath.