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Jesus Criticized for

Healing Paralytic

(Chapter 9, verses 1-8)

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       (1) Jesus left at the request of the people and took a boat ride to his hometown. (2) The hometown crowd didn't waste any time approaching him. They brought him a paralyzed man who was lying on a portable bed. Jesus was so moved by their faith, he simply said to the paralytic: "Be brave, son. Your sins are pardoned." (3) [Instead of being duly impressed], Jesus' words and actions offended the scribes! They said to themselves: "This man is a blasphemer." (4) Jesus, knowing their thinking, accosted them and said: "Why are you all conjuring up wicked things in your hearts? (5) Let me show you what I mean: Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are pardoned,' or to say, ‘Go ahead, get up and walk'? Either way, the man is going to be healed! (6) So, to make you feel better; and to let you know the Son of man-that would be me-is authorized to forgive sins, I'll put it another way." Turning to the paralytic Jesus said: "Get up, take your portable bed with you, and walk home." (7) And the man got up and went off to his home. (8) Fear hit the crowd like a bolt of lightening when they saw this. So they gave God the glory who, in reality, gave certain men-representatives of his-such power.

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Matthew Chosen as Disciple,

Jesus Criticized Again

(Chapter 9, verses 9-13)

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       (9) After this incident with the scribes, Jesus, en route somewhere else, saw a tax collector named Matthew sitting in his office. Jesus said to him: "Follow me into God's service as a full-time worker." Matthew rose and followed him. (10) Later, when Matthew had Jesus and a few of Jesus' earlier disciples over for a meal, many of the other tax collectors and sinners felt comfortable enough to invite themselves to the meal and began eating at the table with Jesus and his disciples! (11) Of course, this scene really bothered the Pharisees. So they asked his disciples: "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" (12) Jesus overheard them and said: "Healthy people don't need a doctor, but sick ones do. (13) Go back and check out the meaning in your Hebrew Bible, ‘I want mercy instead of sacrifice.' As a spiritual doctor, I came to call, not the righteous, but the spiritually sick."

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John's Disciples Question Jesus

(Chapter 9, verses 14-17)

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       (14) After handling [questioning from the educated scribes] and Pharisaical criticism, the disciples of John the Baptist approached, accosted Jesus, and asked him: "We're with the Pharisees on fasting. Why don't your disciples get with the program?" (15) Jesus answered: [They would if there was a need to.] You see, the bridegroom's friends have no reason to grieve or fast as long as the bridegroom is alive and well, do they? Granted, days are coming when the bridegroom will be killed, and then they'll fast. (16) In the meantime, just as no one grieves at a wedding, nobody ever patches up a damaged garment without pre-washing and thereby shrinking the new patch. It'll tear the old garment if you just patch it as it is, and that original garment will be worse than it was before. (17) Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. As you know, when wine is poured in, the skins expand. But if someone does it anyway, the new wine will expand the old wineskins until they burst, spilling wine everywhere. Obviously, thinking people put new wine into new wineskins so that both the new wine and the new wine­skins are spared."

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Jesus Resurrects Little Girl

(Chapter 9, verses 18-26)

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       (18) Surprisingly, while he was sitting down speaking, a certain ruler not only walked up to Jesus, but accorded him so much respect that he bowed to him, saying: "When I left home my daughter was alive, but gravely sick. She could very well be dead by now. If she is, I know all you have to do is touch her and she'll come back to life."

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       (19) Duly impressed, Jesus got up right away and began to follow the man to his home. His disciples followed. (20) Something happened, though, along the way! A woman with a twelve-year continuous flow of blood from her menstrual cycle snuck up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his coat. (21) She knew she would be healed, for she kept saying to herself: "If I could just reach his coat tail I'll be healed." (22) Jesus turned around, looked at her and said: "Continue to be brave, my daughter, your faith has healed you." From then on she was well.

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       (23) When he arrived at the ruler's house and saw the [expensive] flute players playing their sad dirge and the confused, noisy, [aristocratic] crowd, (24) Jesus, [a charlatan peasant in their eyes], said: "Everyone can leave and go home now. The reason you came no longer exists because the little girl is not dead; she's just fast asleep." When they saw that he was actually serious, they laughed out loud, mocking [the low-class laborer] as they did. (25) As soon as the ruler took control of the situation and had the crowds sent out, Jesus went in and held the little girl's hand. She got right up. (26) Needless to say, [no one in the pretentious crowd was laughing anymore!] This news spread like wildfire throughout the entire region.

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Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

(Chapter 9, verses 27-31)

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       (27) As Jesus continued on from there two blind men followed him begging loudly: "Be merciful toward us, Son of David. [Heal us!]" (28) Jesus obviously heard them, but went on into the house as if he hadn't heard a thing. He didn't say a word to them. This snub didn't stop the blind men. They somehow went right into the house behind him. Not being able to ignore this, Jesus asked: "Do both of you really believe I can heal you?" They answered: "Yes, of course, Lord. [Why do you think we followed you in here?!]" (29) While touching their eyes he said: "Based on your [undeniable] faith, let it happen." (30) They suddenly could see! Jesus strictly told them: "Now don't go running around telling everybody what happened, okay?" (31) Well, they didn't tell anyone between where Jesus was and the door. But when they got outside, they told everyone.

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Jesus Criticized Again,

Heals While Touring

(Chapter 9, verses 32-38)

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       (32) Jesus and his disciples were barely out of the house when suddenly people brought him a speechless demonized man. (33) After Jesus expelled the demon the man was able to speak again. This overwhelmed the crowds who said: "We've never seen or heard of anything like this at any time in all of Israel."  (34) But the Pharisees grumbled: "He has a pact with the Devil, the ruler of the demons. That's how he's able to discharge them. It's all a diabolical con."

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       (35) Jesus embarked on a tour of all the cities and villages, teaching the Jews in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom. At the same time, he cured the people of every kind of disease and infirmity imaginable. (36) As Jesus viewed the crowds he really felt sorry for them. They were like helpless, unprotected sheep that had been abused. (37) So he said to his disciples: "There's a lot of farm work to be done, but with few to do it. (38) Therefore, plead with the Owner to hire more people to send into his harvest."