The Temptation of Jesus
4 1 Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. 2 For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry. 3 The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: "Since you're God's Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread." 4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: "It takes more than bread to really live." 5 For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. 6 Then the Devil said, "They're yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I'm in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. 7 Worship me and they're yours, the whole works." 8 Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: "Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness." 9 For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, "If you are God's Son, jump. 10 It's written, isn't it, that 'he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; 11 they will catch you; you won't so much as stub your toe on a stone'?" 12 "Yes," said Jesus, "and it's also written, 'Don't you dare tempt the Lord your God.'" 13 That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.
Jesus Begins His Ministry
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
16 He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, 17 he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, 18 God's Spirit is on me; he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, 19 to announce, "This is God's year to act!" 20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. 21 Then he started in, "You've just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place." 22 All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, "Isn't this Joseph's son, the one we've known since he was a youngster?" 23 He answered, "I suppose you're going to quote the proverb, 'Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.' 24 Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. 25 Isn't it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, 26 but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon? 27 And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian." 28 That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. 29 They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, 30 but he gave them the slip and was on his way.
31 He went down to Capernaum, a village in Galilee. He was teaching the people on the Sabbath. 32 They were surprised and impressed - his teaching was so forthright, so confident, so authoritative, not the quibbling and quoting they were used to.
A Man with an Unclean Spirit
33 In the meeting place that day there was a man demonically disturbed. He screamed, 34 "Ho! What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you're up to. You're the Holy One of God and you've come to destroy us!" 35 Jesus shut him up: "Quiet! Get out of him!" The demonic spirit threw the man down in front of them all and left. The demon didn't hurt him. 36 That set everyone back on their heels, whispering and wondering, "What's going on here? Someone whose words make things happen? Someone who orders demonic spirits to get out and they go?" 37 Jesus was the talk of the town.
Jesus Heals Simon's Mother-in-Law
38 He left the meeting place and went to Simon's house. Simon's mother-in-law was running a high fever and they asked him to do something for her. 39 He stood over her, told the fever to leave - and it left. Before they knew it, she was up getting dinner for them.
Jesus Heals Many at Evening
40 When the sun went down, everyone who had anyone sick with some ailment or other brought them to him. One by one he placed his hands on them and healed them. 41 Demons left in droves, screaming, "Son of God! You're the Son of God!" But he shut them up, refusing to let them speak because they knew too much, knew him to be the Messiah.
Jesus Departs on a Preaching Tour
42 He left the next day for open country. But the crowds went looking and, when they found him, clung to him so he couldn't go on. 43 He told them, "Don't you realize that there are yet other villages where I have to tell the Message of God's kingdom, that this is the work God sent me to do?" 44 Meanwhile he continued preaching in the meeting places of Galilee.
The Great Catch of Fish
5 1 Once when he was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, the crowd was pushing in on him to better hear the Word of God. 2 He noticed two boats tied up. The fishermen had just left them and were out scrubbing their nets. 3 He climbed into the boat that was Simon's and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Sitting there, using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd. 4 When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, "Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch." 5 Simon said, "Master, we've been fishing hard all night and haven't caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I'll let out the nets." 6 It was no sooner said than done - a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. 7 They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch. 8 Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. "Master, leave. I'm a sinner and can't handle this holiness. Leave me to myself." 9 When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. 10 It was the same with James and John, Zebedee's sons, coworkers with Simon. 11 They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him.
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
12 One day in one of the villages there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus he fell down before him in prayer and said, "If you want to, you can cleanse me." 13 Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, "I want to. Be clean." Then and there his skin was smooth, the leprosy gone. 14 Jesus instructed him, "Don't talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed self to the priest, along with the offering ordered by Moses. Your cleansed and obedient life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done." 15 But the man couldn't keep it to himself, and the word got out. Soon a large crowd of people had gathered to listen and be healed of their ailments. 16 As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.
Jesus Heals a Palsied Man
17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and religion teachers were sitting around. They had come from nearly every village in Galilee and Judea, even as far away as Jerusalem, to be there. The healing power of God was on him. 18 Some men arrived carrying a paraplegic on a stretcher. They were looking for a way to get into the house and set him before Jesus. 19 When they couldn't find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. 20 Impressed by their bold belief, he said, "Friend, I forgive your sins." 21 That set the religion scholars and Pharisees buzzing. "Who does he think he is? That's blasphemous talk! God and only God can forgive sins." 22 Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking and said, "Why all this gossipy whispering? 23 Which is simpler: to say 'I forgive your sins,' or to say 'Get up and start walking'? 24 Well, just so it's clear that I'm the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . ." He now spoke directly to the paraplegic: "Get up. Take your bedroll and go home." 25 Without a moment's hesitation, he did it - got up, took his blanket, and left for home, giving glory to God all the way. 26 The people rubbed their eyes, incredulous - and then also gave glory to God. Awestruck, they said, "We've never seen anything like that!"
The Call of Levi
27 After this he went out and saw a man named Levi at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, "Come along with me." 28 And he did - walked away from everything and went with him. 29 Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. 30 The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. "What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and 'sinners'?" 31 Jesus heard about it and spoke up, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? 32 I'm here inviting outsiders, not insiders - an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out."
The Question about Fasting
33 They asked him, "John's disciples are well-known for keeping fasts and saying prayers. Also the Pharisees. But you seem to spend most of your time at parties. Why?" 34 Jesus said, "When you're celebrating a wedding, you don't skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but this isn't the time. As long as the bride and groom are with you, you have a good time. 35 When the groom is gone, the fasting can begin. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come! 36 "No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. 37 And you don't put wine in old, cracked bottles; 38 you get strong, clean bottles for your fresh vintage wine. 39 And no one who has ever tasted fine aged wine prefers unaged wine."