Jesus got into a boat and sailed back across the lake to his own town.
Some people brought a paralyzed man to him on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Cheer up, son! Your sins are forgiven.”
At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “That’s blasphemy!”
Jesus, aware of what they were thinking, asked, “Why do you have such malicious thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier? To say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? Let me show you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
Immediately, the man got up and went home. Seeing this, awe swept through the crowd as they saw this happen and they praised God for granting a man such authority.
As Jesus walked on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth.
“Follow me,” said Jesus to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other people who had bad reputations. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus overheard this and said, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Now try to understand this quotation: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I haven’t come to call the perfect people, but the imperfect.”