ADVENT CHALLENGE IN THE YEAR OF THE WORD OF GOD; Day Five
5th December 2019
1 Now it happened that he was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God,
2 when he caught sight of two boats at the water's edge. The fishermen had got out of them and were washing their nets.
3 He got into one of the boats -- it was Simon's -- and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.'
5 Simon replied, 'Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.'
6 And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear,
7 so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled both boats to sinking point.
8 When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, 'Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.'
9 For he and all his companions were completely awestruck at the catch they had made;
10 so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon's partners. But Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will be catching.'
11 Then, bringing their boats back to land they left everything and followed him.
12 Now it happened that Jesus was in one of the towns when suddenly a man appeared, covered with a skin-disease. Seeing Jesus he fell on his face and implored him saying, 'Sir, if you are willing you can cleanse me.'
13 He stretched out his hand, and touched him saying, 'I am willing. Be cleansed.' At once the skin-disease left him.
14 He ordered him to tell no one, 'But go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering for your cleansing just as Moses prescribed, as evidence to them.'
15 But the news of him kept spreading, and large crowds would gather to hear him and to have their illnesses cured,
16 but he would go off to some deserted place and pray.
17 Now it happened that he was teaching one day, and Pharisees and teachers of the Law, who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and from Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was there so that he should heal.
18 And now some men appeared, bringing on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him.
19 But as they could find no way of getting the man through the crowd, they went up onto the top of the house and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus.
20 Seeing their faith he said, 'My friend, your sins are forgiven you.'
21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. 'Who is this man, talking blasphemy? Who but God alone can forgive sins?'
22 But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made them this reply, 'What are these thoughts you have in your hearts?
23 Which of these is easier: to say, "Your sins are forgiven you," or to say, "Get up and walk"?
24 But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins,' -- he said to the paralysed man-'I order you: get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.'
25 And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
26 They were all astounded and praised God and were filled with awe, saying, 'We have seen strange things today.'
27 When he went out after this, he noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting at the tax office, and said to him, 'Follow me.'
28 And leaving everything Levi got up and followed him.
29 In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others.
30 The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples and said, 'Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?'
31 Jesus said to them in reply, 'It is not those that are well who need the doctor, but the sick.
32 I have come to call not the upright but sinners to repentance.'
33 They then said to him, 'John's disciples are always fasting and saying prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees, too, but yours go on eating and drinking.'
34 Jesus replied, 'Surely you cannot make the bridegroom's attendants fast while the bridegroom is still with them?
35 But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them; then, in those days, they will fast.'
36 He also told them a parable, 'No one tears a piece from a new cloak to put it on an old cloak; otherwise, not only will the new one be torn, but the piece taken from the new will not match the old.
37 'And nobody puts new wine in old wineskins; otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins and run to waste, and the skins will be ruined.
38 No; new wine must be put in fresh skins.
39 And nobody who has been drinking old wine wants new. "The old is good," he says.'