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Chapter 5

The Call of Simon the Fisherman.[a](A) (B)While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. (C)After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, 10 and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”(D) 11 When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything[b] and followed him.(E)

The Cleansing of a Leper.(F) 12 Now there was a man full of leprosy[c] in one of the towns where he was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” 13 Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately. 14 Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;[d] that will be proof for them.”(G) 15 The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, 16 but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.(H)

The Healing of a Paralytic.(I) 17 [e]One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees[f] and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. 18 And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set [him] in his presence. 19 But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles[g] into the middle in front of Jesus. 20 When he saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.”[h] 21 Then the scribes[i] and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?”(J) 22 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts?(K) 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 [j](L)But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” 25 He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. 26 Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”

The Call of Levi.(M) 27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything behind,[k] he got up and followed him. 29 (N)Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. 32 I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

The Question About Fasting.(O) 33 And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” 34 [l]Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests[m] fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” 36 [n]And he also told them a parable. “No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak. 37 Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. 38 Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. 39 [And] no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”[o]

Footnotes

  1. 5:1–11 This incident has been transposed from his source, Mk 1:16–20, which places it immediately after Jesus makes his appearance in Galilee. By this transposition Luke uses this example of Simon’s acceptance of Jesus to counter the earlier rejection of him by his hometown people, and since several incidents dealing with Jesus’ power and authority have already been narrated, Luke creates a plausible context for the acceptance of Jesus by Simon and his partners. Many commentators have noted the similarity between the wondrous catch of fish reported here (Lk 4:4–9) and the post-resurrectional appearance of Jesus in Jn 21:1–11. There are traces in Luke’s story that the post-resurrectional context is the original one: in Lk 4:8 Simon addresses Jesus as Lord (a post-resurrectional title for Jesus—see Lk 24:34; Acts 2:36—that has been read back into the historical ministry of Jesus) and recognizes himself as a sinner (an appropriate recognition for one who has denied knowing Jesus—Lk 22:54–62). As used by Luke, the incident looks forward to Peter’s leadership in Luke-Acts (Lk 6:14; 9:20; 22:31–32; 24:34; Acts 1:15; 2:14–40; 10:11–18; 15:7–12) and symbolizes the future success of Peter as fisherman (Acts 2:41).
  2. 5:11 They left everything: in Mk 1:16–20 and Mt 4:18–22 the fishermen who follow Jesus leave their nets and their father; in Luke, they leave everything (see also Lk 5:28; 12:33; 14:33; 18:22), an indication of Luke’s theme of complete detachment from material possessions.
  3. 5:12 Full of leprosy: see note on Mk 1:40.
  4. 5:14 Show yourself to the priest…what Moses prescribed: this is a reference to Lv 14:2–9 that gives detailed instructions for the purification of one who had been a victim of leprosy and thereby excluded from contact with others (see Lv 13:45–46, 49; Nm 5:2–3). That will be proof for them: see note on Mt 8:4.
  5. 5:17–6:11 From his Marcan source, Luke now introduces a series of controversies with Pharisees: controversy over Jesus’ power to forgive sins (Lk 5:17–26); controversy over his eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners (Lk 5:27–32); controversy over not fasting (Lk 5:33–36); and finally two episodes narrating controversies over observance of the sabbath (Lk 5:1–11).
  6. 5:17 Pharisees: see note on Mt 3:7.
  7. 5:19 Through the tiles: Luke has adapted the story found in Mark to his non-Palestinian audience by changing “opened up the roof” (Mk 2:4, a reference to Palestinian straw and clay roofs) to through the tiles, a detail that reflects the Hellenistic Greco-Roman house with tiled roof.
  8. 5:20 As for you, your sins are forgiven: literally, “O man, your sins are forgiven you.” The connection between the forgiveness of sins and the cure of the paralytic reflects the belief of first-century Palestine (based on the Old Testament: Ex 20:5; Dt 5:9) that sickness and infirmity are the result of sin, one’s own or that of one’s ancestors (see also Lk 13:2; Jn 5:14; 9:2).
  9. 5:21 The scribes: see note on Mk 2:6.
  10. 5:24 See notes on Mt 9:6 and Mk 2:10.
  11. 5:28 Leaving everything behind: see note on Lk 5:11.
  12. 5:34–35 See notes on Mt 9:15 and Mk 2:19.
  13. 5:34 Wedding guests: literally, “sons of the bridal chamber.”
  14. 5:36–39 See notes on Mt 9:16–17 and Mk 2:19.
  15. 5:39 The old is good: this saying is meant to be ironic and offers an explanation for the rejection by some of the new wine that Jesus offers: satisfaction with old forms will prevent one from sampling the new.

Jesus Calls His First Disciples(A)

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.(B) He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.(C)

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”(D)

Simon answered, “Master,(E) we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.(F) But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.(G) So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”(H) For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid;(I) from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.(J)

Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy(K)

12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[b](L) When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone,(M) but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded(N) for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

15 Yet the news about him spread all the more,(O) so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.(P)

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man(Q)

17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law(R) were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.(S) 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”(T)

21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”(U)

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man(V) has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God.(W) They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Jesus Calls Levi and Eats With Sinners(X)

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,”(Y) Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.(Z)

29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors(AA) and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect(AB) complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”(AC)

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”(AD)

Jesus Questioned About Fasting(AE)

33 They said to him, “John’s disciples(AF) often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”

34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom(AG) fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them;(AH) in those days they will fast.”

36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”

Footnotes

  1. Luke 5:1 That is, the Sea of Galilee
  2. Luke 5:12 The Greek word traditionally translated leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin.

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